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Off Bike Training tips. (especially in wet weather)

By chrischris - Posted on 13 February 2012

NB: Originally posted elsewhere on the Global Riders Network and appears via syndication.

Personally, I am extremely 'time crunched'.

I love the idea of following 'The Time Crunched Cyclist' as mentioned by others, but I have trouble finding 3-4 hrs a week as it is. Having a very young family doesn't help. So, I've been following & doing about 2 x 20min sessions a week in the garage when my kids are asleep. I also swim twice a week at work for another 20 min.

Otherwise, I just try to ride as much as I can. All this wet weather doesn't help - but garage workouts are better than nothing.

Anyone else have any tips / advice for 'off the bike' training? The core strengthening YouTube vids are actually making a difference. Just looking at getting feedback from others. I'm not convinced that riding a trainer in the garage is the only way to improve overall.

(EDIT: The 3-4 hrs includes any bike maintenance, and travelling to tracks.)

Spin classes - 45-55 minutes of high intensity intervals (if you're prepared to push it) with a hard-bodied amazon yelling at you Eye-wink

Ride to work, via back streets as much as possble. From where I live to the CBD, it's faster door to door than either bus or car. With Mondays and Fridays off for recovery, that's an extra 4-6 hours a week on the bike contributing to my fitness.

Spin class - possible.

Riding to work? That's a 200km round trip. Now THAT'S training!

Do decent runs (10 - 20 ks) a few times a week it keeps you fit enough to be able to ride decently when the opportunity arise. You don't need to attend classes, buy any gear or invest in anything but a pair of shoes.

Works for me, but I am pretty lucky to have a relatively late start. Alarm at 5, for 6am bunch ride or interval training, mixed with trainer sessions. Weekend rides are longer but weekday rides focus on intensity, with the high intensity part of the ride only taking about 40 minutes.

Usually I get home just as the family are waking up. I found this very difficult for some time but now I just do it, and it does encourage a healthy lifestyle. But it means joining the roadies...who knows you might even like it. Thats how I get my 6 hours in a week.

I set my alarm for 4.40am on swimming days, 4.55am non-swimming days.

My girls are up at 5.30, so on days when I'm not working, I let my wife sleep in. But at night, I can get some exercise done in the garage. Hence the original question. (OR, invest in some awesome bike night lights! Smiling )

I think that all of us are in slightly different situations in regards to work/play time zones. I've just recently invested in a road bike because I'm sick of the trails being so wet. At least the roads dry out in 1 hr. And I hate riding on the roads - there are cars around. Sad

I'm going to keep up my garage sessions for 6 months or so & then re-evaluate. I'd like to see any of you do the 'superman' push ups! I certainly can't.

My kids are older - they sleep in so I am lucky again. Mind you I am writing this from Dunc Gray watching my 16yo son doing pursuit training, following on from his sister who did an hours training earlier tonight. Luckily no morning commitments apart from work.

Ever thought of track cycling? Weatherproof (at Dunc Gray anyway). Great winter competition and a truly hard ass workout (so they tell me). Bikes are pretty cheap too since they don't have any gears or breaks, and weight doesn't matter too much.

Not too many people are commenting on 'Off Bike' exercises. I thought that this topic might be slightly more relevant with the current rain fall.

Does running up flights of stairs help out of the saddle climbing?

Does swimming help with lower back pain?

Or just pedal more?

Hey thanks for the post. I think you have it covered. My off bike training is running and weights 2 times a week. Weights session is about an hour long, loosely following the Carmichael/Lance training plan. Squats, leg press, leg extension, abductor inside and out, lunges, core, bicep curls, chest press. 6 - 8 weeks working up to half body weight.

I think weights are the way to go if u are time poor.

Mix it up with some spin/intervals or skipping rope intervals.

Finally, I've only been doing the weights for 4 weeks and I notice the difference, Im getting better at hill climbing.

I was in a similar situation to you a while back and I just ended up having to look for opportunities that make me pedal more. I tried running a bit but it's hard on the knees and my body just wasn't made for it. Swimming is great but getting to a pool adds to the effort. I now just ride to work in the CBD from the Northern Beaches every work day. High intensity, shorter duration some days and then longer rides via Centennial Park on others. Doing some medium-weight weights with high-ish reps is good and is probably the only other things that works for me along with maybe spin classes.

For me personally, I would rate the following as the best work out:

  1. Mtb off road
  2. Mtb on road
  3. Roadie
  4. Stationary bike
  5. Weights
  6. Swim
  7. Run
  8. Everything else

There are, however, far fitter people on this forum than me so be interesting to hear what they have to say!

Ride to work and time trial yourself home, if your not close to being sick come the end your not going hard enough.

Hill intervals, I did 4 Repeats of Bobbin Head (Berowra Side) this morning for a nice 900m of climbing over 40k and I was back home within an hour and a half. Also consider doing 3 x 20mins or 30mins FTP Intervals as well around Centennial Park, that will really mess you up.

I normally do my training before I ride to work most days of the week, so for me Hornsby - City Return is 50k in commuting and then add on the Hill Repeats or FTP efforts in Centennial and I get somewhere towards 100k's most days, apart from Thursday when I tend to end up on 115k-120k's.

Otherwise get some Sufferfest Videos for your Turbo Trainer.

I use Strava for iphone for my commutes (don't bother with the Garmin any more) which records your performance against historical and other people. It turns every commute into a training session as every day you want to get within your top 3 best times for various segments like Parawi Road, etc etc. External motivation and goals are a wonderful thing for fundamentally lazy people like me

all you need is some cheap dumbbells and 4 minutes... start with dumbbells around 4-7kg each and see how you go.

This training method is so simple, yet so incredibly difficult, that athletes tend to try it once, acknowledge its greatness, and then vow to never speak its name again. What is it? It's simple: take one exercise and perform it in the following manner:

1) For twenty seconds, do as many repetitions as possible.

2) Rest for ten seconds

3) Repeat seven more times!

That's it! You're done in four minutes! Oh, and that thing you're trying to brush off your face? That would be the floor.

That tabata sounds EVIL!

I didn't have 40kg on my shoulders, just 10. but my legs were wobbly for like 2 hours after, and I can feel my metabolism racing. I think I will be doing this every morning now. really great exercise.

Thumbs up.

Fitness is very easy to build, so I'd say work on the areas that most of us avoid - mobility and muscle balance.

Most cyclists are tight throughout the hips (hip flexors, hamstrings, glutes, quads etc so maybe spend your riding time doing mobility work.

I won't go into the detail but the link you posted is from - He is a proponent of working on mobility and muscular imbalances so you'll find plenty of study there.

I've also really enjoyed using - Granted its potentially above the average Joe's head but if you have some idea or are prepared to do some side research, its very good. Don't worry about his frequent references to Crossfit and related exercises. Its still all very relevant.

Thanks everyone for the input. I'm hoping to get a decent routine/habit in place. I'll post back in 6? months time with results.

I'm already noticing work is slightly easier. (working in theatres, carrying stuff, pushing patients on trolleys/beds, walking between 15-25km a day)

P.S. Strava for iPhone is AWESOME! My other favourite is MotionX GPS, but Strava is more bike based. Thanks for the tip.

why the aversion to wet weather? that's when the best riding is!

1: Trashes your bike. Sure it's fun, but very hard on your bike and consequently expensive to replace parts that get destroyed quickly
2: Trashes the trails. Australian soils by and large are very fragile and erode easily.
3: Riding in the wet does not win us frieds among land managers. Fire trails are an exception, because the 4WD vehicles they are intended for do much worse. Nevertheless, some trails in Terrey Hills have been closed to mountain bike use because of erosion issues.

Well, I must say that all this rain has been quite sad... But the training sessions in the garage REALLY payed off. I've been following BikeJames very loosely, and find it very helpful.

I don't have a full gym, just a 6kg & 10kg kettlebell.

'Turkish Get Ups' & 'Kettle Bell Swings' along with a few torture 'Bulgarian Leg Squats' really do keep the body in shape. I've been riding my road bike about 80% of the time since the new year, but whenever I hit out on the MTB, I'm not sore the next day. The Dungog 8hr was the best example! Hardly any MTB'ing due to crappy wet trails, but almost zero fatigue on the day. I should've gone a little harder.

Overall, I am getting a little more riding time in now, and swimming has been out over winter. (Soft, I know...) I'm hoping to try my first solo 8hr at Awaba in November. Nothing ridiculous, just an ambition of 8-10 laps over 8hrs. With a very comfortable 42-45 min lap & a 5-10min rest/stretch, I'm hoping to get 9. I hope things continue to stay dry. Awaba was GREAT this morning.

Also, investing in a decent LED light means I can ride at night when the kids are asleep. = more time!

I recently saw an exercise physiologist and he set me up with a work out that works most of the body and only takes roughly between 30-40mins

warm up - 2mins on trainer 70-80rpm

Step 1 - 3mins on trainer averaging around 80-100rpm

Step 2 - Push ups x 15 (The slower you go the better the workout)

Step 3 - Squats x 15 (the slower the better)

Step 4 - Reverse Crunches x 15 (keep legs tucked and dont use them to swing, the slower the better the workout)

Step 5 - Mountain Climbs x 15 (Both legs=1, can be done slow or quick)

Return to Step 1 and Repeat 5 times

To easy? up sets to 20 of each or increase reps

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