Sure, you’d love to spend every waking minute biking up and down a rugged mountain. Unfortunately, you have other things you have to do with your time, like, earn a living. Now, unless you work as a professional mountain biker, you probably can’t hit the slopes as often as you’d like. If you find yourself eager to work on your mountain biking skills but lacking in time, here are three exercises you can do at home to improve on the hills.
Cardio – Jumping Rope and Spinning
Mountain biking requires stamina, endurance and a strong cardiovascular system. This is such an easy component to work on at home. One activity you can do to improve endurance is jumping rope. It’s quick and compact, and you can do it anywhere. Raining outside? Get out your rope, push around some furniture and you can work out, right there in your living room. An added benefit of jumping rope is the muscles you use to jump are the same muscles you use to pedal.
Many riders ask how to combat calf muscle cramps and fatigue, and jumping rope is the best training for that. To do the workout correctly, be sure you’re not jumping over the rope, simply bouncing on your toes just enough for the rope to pass under your feet.
Using a stationary bike at home can also help you build strength, power and speed. For an effective workout, ride your bike at 5 rpm below your maximum cadence. Do this for 60 minutes at most. Also, you can ride as fast as you can then drop to 20 rpm for several times. If you don’t have a stationary bike, you can go to any Walmart and buy a cheap one. Check out this Walmart exercise bike review to see that you get the very best for the least out-of-pocket expense.
Strength Training – Doing Laundry
It takes a ton of strength to maneuver your bike properly on a trail ride, so many riders strength train when they aren’t riding. In fact, you need to develop endurance, upper-body strength, agility and core strength to meet the challenge says Trapper Steinle who is a cycling coach and pro mountain biker.
Did you know you can accomplish all this just by doing laundry? Load a basket with laundry and lunge walk across the house with it. Do single leg deadlifts when you set the basket down or pick it up. To maintain a strong frame while riding, you need a toned chest and arms. Put your wet towels in the basket and lift it above your head a few times. Lastly, weighted bent over rows are helpful for building the back muscles and counteracting all the chest-heavy exercise you get when riding your bike. When bent over, lift the basket to your chest a few times to feel the burn.
Don’t forget core training as this will improve your balance. It’s also where the source of your leg power comes from, so if your core is soft during a ride, your power will suffer. Take your basket and twist gently side to side to activate the core and obliques.
Spend Time with Your Kids
Your kids are always up for fun. Even better if that entertainment involves them being hoisted in the air. Rope them in for a game of tag to work on your cardio. For leg strength, have a child sit on your foot, gripping your leg, then walk across the yard and back. Want to work those quads? Who doesn’t love a game of leap frog? Your hamstrings will scream at you when you crawl like a bear. Which kids do so effortlessly but is so much work for adults!
You may have to be intentional about the exercise, but anything can become a workout if you design it that way. With hard work and stronger muscles, you will have better control over your bike when you do get to ride again.
Though the hills are alive with the sounds of tire treads on dirt, you eventually have to return to your real life. Whether you’re riding the trails or turning ordinary activities into a biking workout, the goal is the same; to build strength, stamina and skill. Until the time comes again to hit that mountain pass, rest easy knowing you’ll be ready.
Creative Commons Photo by Paul Jerry