Want to up your MTB game? It’s not always easy to know where to start when it comes to getting fitter. Luckily for you, Matt from MTB Fitness is here to share his top tips to help improve your form. With his handy advice you could be flying up those hills in no time!
I’m Matt, Personal Trainer, obsessed mountain biker and owner of MTB Fitness. There’s a good chance if you are reading IMB, that you love Mountain Biking. There’s also a good chance that you want to be fitter on the bike. Whether you ride for pure pleasure, or to win races, one thing is for certain…the fitter you are, the more you enjoy riding.
Fitter riders get to the top of the hills faster and with more energy for the descents. They can ride for longer, so get more smiles for miles. They can concentrate for longer…and so don’t make daft mistakes that lead to crashes. And they can ride more often, because they aren’t as tired the day after. Getting fitter on the bike doesn’t have to mean dedicating your life to lycra and 5am training sessions though. In fact, there are things you can do that will have a dramatic effect on your fitness, that don’t involve completely changing your life around. Here’s 3 things you can do to improve your fitness on the mountain bike:
1. Interval Train
Once or twice a week, spend 30 minutes doing intervals. Intervals are where you alternate between pushing yourself as much as you physically can (usually for between 30 seconds and 5 minutes) and easing off to a slower paced recovery period to let your heart rate come back down. What these intervals do is really push your heart, lungs and legs to the limit…and then bring them back down to allow for recovery. Then you go again. And again. These constant cycles of hard and easy blocks send signals to your body that it NEEDS to get fitter. You’ll find at the end of 30 minutes you are shattered. Do these consistently, once or twice a week, and you’ll start to see results within 4 weeks. Here’s an example interval plan for you to try. You can do this on a static bike, or outside on a ‘real’ bike:
5 minute steady warm up at 60-90rpm
Work : 60 seconds sprint, medium resistance, 120rpm
Rest : 2 minutes, low-medium resistance, 60rpm
Repeat the work/rest 5-10 times depending on fitness
5 minute steady cool down at 60-90rpm
2. Lose Weight
If you need to lose weight, whether it’s 5 pounds or 5 stone, you will see HUGE improvements on the bike by dropping it. Don’t believe me? Or persuaded yourself that ‘it doesn’t matter’? Go grab a 4 kg weight and pop it in your rucksack, then go for a ride. Notice how much it weighs you down. How much you feel it on the climbs. If you have weight to lose, this is the EXACT same thing. You can have the lightest bike in the world…but if you carry extra weight, then it’s going to slow you down on the bike. It might be hard to hear, but you know it’s true. The great news is it doesn’t need to be super difficult to lose weight. Here’s some tips you can implement relatively easily:
– Make your main meals 80% protein and vegetables
– Snack on fruit
– Do a 2 week challenge where you drink zero alcohol
– Cut out biscuits, sweets and chocolate for 2 weeks
3. Remind yourself: ’40% done’
At MTB Fitness we have a saying (taken from the US Navy Seals). When you think you are finished. That you are DONE. When you think you can’t possibly carry on…your body is only 40% done. My followers/clients repeat this to themselves on the climbs – “40% done, 40% done, keep going, 40% done.”
They use it to motivate themselves to keep going. Remember – your mind will give in WAY before your body will. Next time you are suffering on a climb and you want to stop…your body can give more. Break it down and ride to that rock a few metres in front. Then to that tree stump. Then to that corner. And remember – you can do WAY more than you think. You can keep going. To improve your MTB fitness – improve your mental strength.
Improving your fitness on the bike doesn’t have to be all effort and no fun. There are so many things you can do to get fitter. The key is to get rid of excuses, and to make it happen. 40% done.
Find out more at: https://mtb.fitness/
Do you enjoy reading IMB Magazine, using our App and website? We now need your support to keep IMB going. Support IMB from as little as £2 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you!