Mix up your Training
A really effective way to improve your mountain biking is to mix up your training. Make sure you get out on the road bike, don’t just stick to your mountain bike. Use the road to build up your base fitness so that when you are struggling on those long runs, you can find that little bit extra again and again.
I always like to throw some intervals in there as well so that you can be sharp out of the corners and you know you’re going to be as good at the bottom of the track as you were at the top. Ensure you are taking advantage of your surroundings and riding on the roads to supplement your work on the mountain bike.
Yoga is one of my favourite exercises. It is amazing for flexibility, core strength, balance and injury prevention. It has become an important pillar of our programme now. I’ve started doing it especially for my back and hips, as my back started getting really tight, and once I started stretching properly after the rides that stopped.
It’s made a huge difference to me. I stretch for half an hour before a session, then most evenings for an hour to 90 minutes. We stretch in the gym, too. Even if it’s just a few basic moves, to open up your hip flexors and shoulders, don’t underestimate how much it will help your riding and recovery. Especially if you’re on a road bike, because of the posture you ride in.
If you choose just one exercise to do in the gym to help your cycling, make it a deadlift. It’s pretty simple to learn, but then you can really add the weight on as you progress. It makes a huge difference to your power as it works your legs, bum, back, core and shoulders, so it’s a whole body move. If you’ve only got half an hour for your workout, this is the most efficient way to spend the time.