All you’ll need is a box, pull-up bar, kettlebell and band.

Training for MTB doesn’t have to be complicated or time consuming. Using your time well (27 minutes in fact) in the gym can yield fantastic results on the bike especially when you focus on areas you know help on the bike. In this workout we do exactly that – hitting every area to help you on the bike. Not only make you strong, but healthy and functional. And by functional we mean capable on the bike!

Why a gym workout for MTB and not just on the bike?

We hear you. Bike time is crucial to improve your riding. But there are a few reasons you’d want to consider a gym workout also. Here are some ideas for you to mull over:

You only ride weekends

and don’t have time to practice skills or ride through the week. This is a no-brainer situation if you are limited on bike time. You might even already go to the gym but struggled to break free of the cardio room. MTB Specific workout such as this one, and the full Fit4Racing program, fill in the gaps you can’t hit by simply hitting cardio repeatedly. MTB is a demanding sport on your body beyond your ability to endure, and much more physical on your upper body than other cycling sports. So use your time wisely and hit the gym for 2-3 key sessions, and yes, you can still Zwift on the other days!

Your progress has plateaued.

There’s a fair chance that if you’ve been riding for years, your skills have surpassed your physicality. Take a side step and train in the gym consistently for 3-6 months, fill in those gaps and I can assure you you’ll feel better on the bike and start progressing once again. As a start, try this mtb gym workout in 27 minutes twice a week.

You are a pro/semi pro/amateur racer.

Again – this is a no-brainer for you. If you want to really push the limits of speed you must have the physicality to back it up. Even if you only race local races the desire is there to be fast, and in sticky situations at speed your strength and functionality will be put to the test. Would you rather make a save than crash? Or course. Better still, would you rather walk away from a crash unscathed than injured? YES! And having the strength, muscle mass and mobility will absolutely help. This isn’t just anecdotal, we see it weekly with the pro riders we train.

You go to the gym but don’t know what to do.

The reality of your training style often comes down to what you like. I’m not saying that if you love competing in CrossFit but ride a mountain bike once a month you must start training like a pro MTB racer. The key take-away here is be honest with yourself. If you love getting stronger then continue, if you love cardio only, continue. But know that if you are specialising in an area outside of MTB training you may hinder ONE of your passions. If you’re at one with that please continue, if you want to ride better and you’re prepared to do what it take, hit up a Fit4Racing program and do it properly.

What does this MTB gym workout in 27 minutes look like?

Bottom up KB press is a great MTB gym movement for strength and stability.

Obviously watch the video for the execution of the movements but if you want a summary here it is…. I know, you’re reading this at work and can’t possibly watch Youtube in someone else’s time ; )

The workout is broken into 3 sections, with 3 movements. You complete each section by rotating every minute in a circuit fashion for 9 minutes, we call this OMEM (on the minute every minute). It looks like this:


Minute 1: 8 x bottom up kettle bell press each side

Minute 2: 20 x back step lunges with banded rotation

Minute 3: Max pull-up, but when you finish hang for as long as possible in the remaining time

Once you have completed the first 9 minutes, rest and set up for the next. Which is:

Minute 1: 20 archer push-ups on a box

Minute 2: Chin up hold at 90 degrees (45 seconds)

Minute 3: 20 x Cossack squats

And finally the last 9 minute OMEM:
Minute 1: 12-14 Hanging wipers over target

Minute 2: Banded face pulls

Minute 3: 12 Sit-up to press

What should you do next?

If you love this mtb gym workout in 27 minutes… or should I say you found the benefit in it, you should seriously consider signing up to a Fit4Racing program. We do the programming for you so you can stop guessing and get working. In as few as 2 sessions a week you can see massive improvements on your bike handling, fitness and confidence. Learn more here:
Enduro riders

DH Riders

Training from home

We’re always at the end of an email too, so drop us one if you have any questions.