The 6 Best Workout to Build Strength and Balance for Mountain Bikers

3. Seated Dumbbell External Rotation

5×10 reps

Why it works: Seated Dumbbell External Rotations build strength in your shoulders (specifically the rotator cuff) and your core. “Common injuries in mountain biking often happen in the upper body when people fall off the bike or go over the handlebars,” says March, leading to injuries like a broken collarbone, shoulder separations, or wrist injuries. Building up a strong upper body, which might seem counterintuitive to biking, may help.

How to do it: Sit on a chair or bench, holding 5lb dumbbells in both hands. Keeping your back straight, raise your arms into a goal-post position so your elbows are in line with your shoulders. Then, keeping your elbows up, rotate your forearms down so your palms face the floor. To make the move more challenging, try it standing on both legs, then one.

4. Bulgarian Split Squat

5×10 reps each side

Why it works: Bulgarian Split Squats build strength in your hip flexors, quads, glutes and hamstrings, which all create greater power on the bike. “You can easily make this exercise more challenging, too, by adding in balance components,” says March.

How to do it: Keep one foot flat on the floor and place your other foot on a bench behind you. With a 5-10lb dumbbell (or without), bend your front leg until you reach 90 degrees, then push back up to a straight leg for one rep. To make it more challenging, place your front foot on a raised step, or a Bosu ball. Get even crazier by balancing your back foot on a stability ball while you have your front foot on a Bosu. Adding more weight can increase gains too.

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