You should know what the best MTB core exercises are. Why? Many riders don’t understand the principals of how to train their core effectively and without it causing pain. Pain isn’t always a good sign, and you certainly shouldn’t use it as an indication of good training.

“Beach abs” will not help you ride better. In fact, if you over train a particular part of your core you will very likely suffer lower back issues. So crunches are out, isometric holds are in. Yes, we have some more dynamic movements for you too, but the foundations should be built first.

What are the Best MTB Core Exercises?

The primary function of your core is to ensure your spine remains aligned. The stresses of riding inevitably put more demand on that ability. Ultimately, if you are unable to hold your position your structure is compromised. This will leave you in a suboptimal, and potentially dangerous state. For that reason, we prioritise isometric holds as the foundation of core strength

You should consider starting with the core 3 movements:

  • Plank
  • Side Plank
  • Bird Dog

These 3 cover all bases and are reasonably simple to execute. After watching the video you should be able to train these holds and improve your ability without any danger or need for further guidance.

How do you Improve?

Simply holding these positions is at the very least boring. If you are serious about improving you should consider sticking to a plan. This way you can see improvement and continually make progress.

Here is our suggestion:

Time yourself in each of the holds and record each of those times. Then on the following day note 75% of the time of each, complete 1-3 rounds rotating through all of the movements sticking vigilantly to the times.

You can continue this style daily, systematically increasing the time of each hold.

Here is an example:

Jonny holds a plank for 2 minutes, a side plank each side for 1 minute and a bird dog each side for 40 seconds. *Note here that you would take the shortest time of each side.*

Jonny’s next session would be 3 rounds of 1:30 front plank, 45 seconds each side plank, 30 seconds each side bird dog. Rest should be only enough to recover between movements.

After 2-3 sessions each of the times can increase by 5-10 seconds.

Are There Any More MTB Core Exercises You Should Consider?


Once you feel you are proficient with the holds you can spice things up a little and add more dynamic movements. Our favourite 2 are shown in the video, please watch it. These will help you handle more extreme stresses, especially riding more gnarly terrain.

If you feel you are ready to integrate these dynamic movements into your training you can alternate them between the sessions described earlier.

What to do Next…

We know you want to improve your physical ability for riding, that’s why you’re here right? We hope the information we have given you really helps, but we know you could do more. There are 2 programs you should seriously consider trying – Fit4Racing and Fit4Riding. They are designed to meet the needs of riders just like you, and the difference between the two? Scroll our website and find out for yourself.

I hope to see you on the program soon.