Being stronger lets you ride harder, faster and for longer
As I talked about in my first article, “E-Bikes, They do all the work for you,” the modern power assisted mountain biker will benefit from being fitter and stronger. Yes, you have a motor, but it is the rider that determines how fast that bike goes up, down, and around the trails.
So, you have decided to work on your fitness for E-MTB, but where to start?
I believe the answer is strength. Strength underpins all other physical qualities.
Being stronger will improve your endurance.
Being stronger will improve your power.
Being stronger will improve your climbing, both long and short.
Being stronger lets you hold a proper riding position.
Being stronger lets you ride harder, faster and for longer.
Being stronger improves your confidence on the bike.
Getting stronger for e-Biking does not need to be complicated. The first step should be to build what I call a foundation of strength. For most of you that will start with mastering fundamental bodyweight movements like squatting, lunging, press ups and rows along with learning to control and stabilise your core with planks and similar exercises. This then creates the foundation that will allow you to move onto more advanced bodyweight training or to move onto weight training with barbells and dumbbells.
You should focus on moving well, carrying out the exercises with good form and being consistent with your efforts. Don’t worry about big weights and what everyone else is doing on Instagram. Focus on yourself and how you move and feel. Quality, controlled movement with good balance and coordination will lead to greater gains in the long run and improved riding across the board.
For example, take a minute to watch this video showing a type of step up that I use to teach and develop single leg strength and control:
Can you see that the focus is always on control, building real useable strength throughout the entire movement? As you get stronger the box gets higher until you can do it from a box that is above knee height. This is in stark contrast to most people you see doing step ups by simply springing up using momentum and then dropping back to the floor without any muscular tension or control.
Another great example of what I mean is what I call a Hand Release Press Up:
Exercises like this build a foundation of strength that will carry over to your riding and the rest of your training. If you go slow and are super strict with your form then these exercises will be way harder than you think. They will expose weaknesses and give you plenty of feedback to learn about your body and about what you need to work on to improve.
When putting together a basic programme, just think simple. Include a squat, a single leg exercise, and an upper body push and upper body pull exercise. Finish with a plank and maybe some grip work if you have time and energy. Throughout, your focus should be on perfect form and controlled strength. Simple, effective, and harder than you think. After a month you will feel the difference on your E-MTB – guaranteed.