Dossier: Exercise videos

Mountain biking: top 5 core exercises

Although conditioning and technique are important, strong core muscles are essential for improved stability and to prevent injury while mountain biking. Mountain bike expert Nathalie Schneitter shows us her top 5 core exercises.

Text: Julie Freudiger; video: Simon Keller

Most mountain bikers aren’t thrilled when they hear the words “core exercises”. The prospect of half an hour’s upper body training is certainly not as tempting as sitting on a bike. But it’s crucial to have strong core muscles. Not just for professional mountain bikers, but also people who ride for fun. And there are several good reasons for doing them.

Strong core muscles are the key to successful mountain biking,
especially because they offer protection in case of falls.

If your back and core muscles are weak, you’ll quickly feel the effects of hunching over the handlebars, and back pain will be the result. Stability is also important for your technique, so you can enjoy biking even across more challenging terrain. If you don’t sit solidly in the saddle, you won’t be able to generate nearly as much power when cycling uphill. And without a strong core, going downhill can prove more than a little hair-raising. And if you crash, a strong core offers excellent protection.

Exercises for stability on a mountain bike

To really strengthen your core, it’s best to do the exercises regularly two to three times a week, but once a week is better than nothing. E-mountain bike world champion Nathalie Schneitter shows her top five core exercises.

Tips for training your core

  1. Warm up before doing strength exercises – it’s a good idea to do them after a ride or training.

  2. Make sure you do the exercises properly. If your technique suffers, reduce the number of repetitions.

  3. For a tougher workout, increase the number of repetitions or sets. In a second step you can increase the weight.

  4. Take a break of 30-60 seconds between the exercises.

Nathalie Schneitter is an e-mountain bike world champion and former professional cross-country athlete. She also works as a bike guide and helps organise the Swiss Bike Days and the Urban Bike Festival.