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From Beginner to Pro: How the MTB Plan Can Elevate Your Mountain Biking Skills

Learn the skills that make mountain biking fun and safe. Many of these skills branch out into other, more advanced skills.

Move beyond just getting comfortable on the bike to improve your body-bike separation or ability to move around easily and quickly. This will allow you to hit more extensive trail features with greater confidence.

Endurance

Mountain biking is a power-based sport, but endurance and technical skills are also necessary. Unlike many fad workouts on social media that run you into the ground, the MTB plan balances these critical components.

Long training rides like in Train to Ride help build cardiovascular endurance for longer days and tolerance to climbing. These rides also help to develop the body’s ability to recover between efforts.

For example, top racers can easily pedal over natural and artificial jumps – from practicing in the bike park on various terrain. This allows them to maximize speed and control by keeping the bike closer to the ground over rises and dips rather than pushing through the landscape – which requires greater power.

Strength

Mountain biking is a highly physically demanding sport that requires the use of a variety of muscles. Strength training is crucial to improving body control and avoiding injury.

Getting stronger without taking much time off your riding schedule is key to becoming a better rider. The MTB, like Enduro MTB 90 fitness plan, uses bodyweight workouts to build the muscles needed for mountain biking without the wear and tear of heavy lifting.

MTB interval sessions are an essential part of mountain bike training, but incorporating some big gear intervals can be an even more effective way to improve your performance. These types of breaks force the body to produce power in a low cadence and high torque manner that is very specific to off-road cycling.

Mobility

In mountain biking, it’s not enough to have just endurance or power – you also need to be able to ride at a specific pace and maneuver your bike through technical terrain. A good mix of high- and low-intensity training is essential to develop a complete MTB athlete.

One way to do this is to design your local trail to include a combination of features found in a race (a few corners, a few berms, and steep climbs paired with a rooty or rocky descent) and then ride loops at a race pace.

Another way to develop your ability to carry speed on technical trails is by practicing jumping. Jumps can be intimidating if you’re not used to them, but they’re an excellent way to practice your handling abilities while carrying speed.

Speed

The ability to select the best line through technical trail sections is a mountain biking skill that comes with practice and experience. Whether that means selecting the line that is fastest through the jump section of a trail or positioning yourself in an optimal position to take on a steep climb, having the skills to optimize your body position and effort will help you to go faster on your bike.

As you progress as a rider, you’ll be ready to add more intensity through long, sustained rides that place a greater aerobic demand on the body. A heart rate monitor will allow you to track your effort and stay in the correct zone for these long sessions.

A good guideline for beginners is to plan 2-3 hour-long rides per week, or as you get closer to your race season or priority event, 3-4 hours or longer.

Flexibility

Mountain biking requires many skills, including body positioning, line choice, and braking. Mastering these skills can elevate your riding to a new level.

To improve your technique, try practicing at a pump track or bike park, take a lesson from a coach, or have a session on a technical trail with friends. These techniques will help you ride faster with more confidence on challenging terrain.

For goal-oriented mountain bikers, study a race file to see the terrain and elevation profile of the course and plan your training to mimic that race environment. Using this block periodization strategy will allow you to focus on the aspects of your fitness that limit your performance. This will give you the edge when it comes to race day.

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