1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
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2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
3. Don't belive the hype. Just because your favorite rider or best friend rides a certain bike, that doesn't mean that's the best one for you. Have an open mind and be realistic about your needs and ability.
Results 1 to 25 of 25
  1. #1
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    how to get into better physical condition...?

    I've just returned to MB riding after about 12yrs. I'm wondering how best to get into better physical condition for MB riding. Like are there any specific resistance type exercises I could/should be doing at the gym? Or other forms of cardio etc? My goal is just to up the intensity of my rides and improve endurance with an end result of good general fitness...drop som bf% and a few lbs. No plans for any competing (or a long way from that) but I would like to be able to keep up with friends on their bikes. I'm not in horrible shape-rode 40kms (on road) yesterday afternoon. I can only devote about 1hr to any kind of exercising mon-fri, unlimited time on weekends.

    Any tips or direction would be appreciated, thanks

    Matt

  2. #2
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    Ride your bike a lot. Road riding is great for fitness as you can concentrate on maintaining a pace that keeps you in the cardio zone. Lifting and core exercises one or two days a week. Ellipticals give me the most bang for my buck if I have to do my cardio in the gym.

    David B.

  3. #3
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    Also at the gym practicing standing up on a stationary bike at a high resistance. Ride, ride, ride and more riding
    1.. 2.. 3... 4...........FIFFFFFFF !!!!!!!!!!

  4. #4
    AZ
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    Concentrate on the cardio .

  5. #5
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    ride. then ride some more. then ride even more. take every 5th day off for recovery. have one long ride per week (3h). ride fast some days. ride slow some days. ride and ride more and ride more frequently.

  6. #6
    Picture Unrelated
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    If your goal is to keep up with friends, then your best bet really is to ride a lot. There's plenty of exercise you can do to help, but nothing will pay off like being on the bike. I always think I'm coming in to the season in great shape, but I always get my butt kicked the first couple weeks. But after putting in more saddle time, it comes back.

    So grab your bike, I'd listen to scoutcat, that's probably a good way to do it fast, and ride your brains out. In addition to the physical fitness you'll gain all the bike handling and operation that adds to you being fast. You can't learn what gear to be in or when to shift from free weights and elliptical machines, and it's not going to teach you how and when to rest while riding or all important bike handling.
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  7. #7
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    I'm going to go against the crowd here. If your goal is good general fitness and increased endurance, I would add road riding and swimming to your cardio. In the gym when you lift, focus on the core and the large muscle groups. Low weight / high reps to increase muscle endurance and tone. All good things for the majority of us.

  8. #8
    crash test dummy
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    1. Buy a heart rate monitor (easy to find for under $30)

    2. Buy either Joe Friel's "The Mountain Biker's Training Bible" or Thomas Chapple's "Base Training for Cyclists". I found Chapple's book to be a little better for me as someone only casually interested in racing, but very interested in getting stronger.

    3. Spend the next 7 months riding as much as you can and just having fun, as well as reading those books cover-to-cover. Fun rides will motivate you during the slow winter training months.

    4. As winter starts, begin base training for next year, including some strength training. Follow a plan RELIGIOUSLY. Don't skip workouts and don't push too hard. Pushing too hard is worse than skipping workouts. Most of this training should be on road or indoors.

    5. During sloppy, early spring, slowly starting working on riding faster and harder hills - maybe once a week.

    6. By late spring, as the trails become sweet, you'll have a strong base to build off of. It will take a couple months to build your hill climbing strength, but once you do you'll shrug off 5 hour rides like they were nothing.

    It is really, really helpful to monitor your nutrition intake (just keep a food diary) and even more importantly, to learn to eat while you ride. Also drink a lot of water. I'm 175 lbs. and I drink about 3 liters a day, not including my workouts.

    "Riding lots" is almost totally useless advice. If you ride too hard or too much it can have the opposite effect - you'll be tired all the time, you'll only train the upper limits of your endurance, you'll be cooked after 2-3 hour rides no matter how "hard" you train. Train slow and long and you'll burn fat way more efficiently, lose weight more effectively, and feel a ton better.

    1 hour a day plus long easy rides on the weekends are perfect for building base. If you have a gym membership, stationary bikes will help a ton in building base fitness. A spin class at most once a week in the winter (they are way too hard for effective base training) will help with your aerobic capacity, but you'll need a day or two of rest afterwards.

    Quote Originally Posted by awesomeame
    I've just returned to MB riding after about 12yrs. I'm wondering how best to get into better physical condition for MB riding. Like are there any specific resistance type exercises I could/should be doing at the gym? Or other forms of cardio etc? My goal is just to up the intensity of my rides and improve endurance with an end result of good general fitness...drop som bf% and a few lbs. No plans for any competing (or a long way from that) but I would like to be able to keep up with friends on their bikes. I'm not in horrible shape-rode 40kms (on road) yesterday afternoon. I can only devote about 1hr to any kind of exercising mon-fri, unlimited time on weekends.

    Any tips or direction would be appreciated, thanks

    Matt

  9. #9
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    I'm sure it's in the "training bible" mentioned above, but I wanted to point out the benefit of sprint intervals for MT bikers. Read up on it and pick intervals that are appropriate to your fitness level and work up from there. Cycling does nothing for your core so do lots of that stuff in the gym. Strong core, shoulders and triceps will delay upper body fatigue on long rides and will also protect you in a crash.
    As previously mentioned, eat well and rest. At least one day a week off the bike.

    Now, go ride your bike.

  10. #10
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    I agree with much of what was said. I would like to add that you should pay attention to other muscle groups such as your core and upper body that don't get worked as much on your bike. Take care of your abs or it'll come back to haunt you.

    Also, running is a great exercise that really works a bunch of muscles and is great for building cardio. I don't really like it, but i am trying to run at least once a week right now.
    GregRidesTrails.com--An informational and instructional mountain bike blog.

  11. #11
    local jackass
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    just train and compete in triathlons haha thats what i do
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  12. #12
    usually cranky
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    cardio and core.

  13. #13
    MTB_Okie
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    As a personal trainer, I would definitely have to agree with doing a lot of cardio activity! Try the elliptical machine, but try not to hold on to the handles. You'll find that doing that will work your core quite a bit while also getting the cardio benefits. When lifting for the lower body (squats, leg extensions/curls, etc.) definitely go with low weight (~60% 1RM) and high reps (12-20/set)! Since you only have an hour to work out each time, do your best to not take breaks between exercises. Try to push through the whole hour, only taking 30 sec water breaks every now and then. Don't rest for long periods of time during your workout. Hope that helps!

  14. #14
    local trails rider
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    Ride and do something with the core muscles.

    Is bike commuting feasible for you? I know it is not for everybody but it can combine two things: 1) going from point A to point B and 2) riding your bike.

    When you have time for long rides, do some long and "easy" ones. By "easy", I mean easy enough that you can keep it up for a few hours. When you have little time, go higher intensity. Take some rest days, or easy days, too: your body needs time for recovery

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by perttime
    Is bike commuting feasible for you? I know it is not for everybody but it can combine two things: 1) going from point A to point B and 2) riding your bike.
    This is what I did, added 2 days a week of commuting 20 miles round trip to work and it helped my mountain biking lots!

    I also took up running a couple years ago, that's some good cardio but a little tough on the body.

  16. #16
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    All of this is good, but remember to keep it fun! Also, one of the best things you can do, is just to ride with your faster friends and try to keep up. It really helps!

  17. #17
    2006 Yeti AS-X
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    Quote Originally Posted by simian23
    1. Buy a heart rate monitor (easy to find for under $30)

    2. Buy either Joe Friel's "The Mountain Biker's Training Bible" or Thomas Chapple's "Base Training for Cyclists". I found Chapple's book to be a little better for me as someone only casually interested in racing, but very interested in getting stronger.

    3. Spend the next 7 months riding as much as you can and just having fun, as well as reading those books cover-to-cover. Fun rides will motivate you during the slow winter training months.

    4. As winter starts, begin base training for next year, including some strength training. Follow a plan RELIGIOUSLY. Don't skip workouts and don't push too hard. Pushing too hard is worse than skipping workouts. Most of this training should be on road or indoors.

    5. During sloppy, early spring, slowly starting working on riding faster and harder hills - maybe once a week.

    6. By late spring, as the trails become sweet, you'll have a strong base to build off of. It will take a couple months to build your hill climbing strength, but once you do you'll shrug off 5 hour rides like they were nothing.

    It is really, really helpful to monitor your nutrition intake (just keep a food diary) and even more importantly, to learn to eat while you ride. Also drink a lot of water. I'm 175 lbs. and I drink about 3 liters a day, not including my workouts.

    "Riding lots" is almost totally useless advice. If you ride too hard or too much it can have the opposite effect - you'll be tired all the time, you'll only train the upper limits of your endurance, you'll be cooked after 2-3 hour rides no matter how "hard" you train. Train slow and long and you'll burn fat way more efficiently, lose weight more effectively, and feel a ton better.

    1 hour a day plus long easy rides on the weekends are perfect for building base. If you have a gym membership, stationary bikes will help a ton in building base fitness. A spin class at most once a week in the winter (they are way too hard for effective base training) will help with your aerobic capacity, but you'll need a day or two of rest afterwards.
    Great post!

    I cannot say I was good at following that advice. I did do the spinner for the past couple of months but after the trails became dry and ridable, my legs sure did feel those uphills...
    I don't use Strava. Don't need an application to tell me I am slow because I already know.

  18. #18
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    +1

    Quote Originally Posted by b-kul
    cardio and core.
    Rest, you can train all you want without rest you ain't improving as you should.

  19. #19
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    Do a full body fast paced resistance training routine. Try this circuit: wide grip pull up, wide push up, wide stance knee bends. medium grip pull ups, med. push ups, shoulder width knee bends, close grip pull up, close push up, lunges. Rest as little as you can. Do that twice a week.

    Find a trail near you that is "easy" meaning nontechnical. This route should be 30-40 minutes worth of riding. If no trail is by your house, then try road riding. You want something you can spin your wheels on without having to contend with technical obsticles, such as rocks. I stress that you need something by your house so that you will be consistent. Ride it hard 2 times a week.

    My fitness philosophy is keep it brief, basic, simple, and intense and do things that you will actually do. I've been in the fitness world for 20+ years and see that the most common mistake is setting up routines that have a high dropout rate. I do something kind of like this routine I'm suggesting and it works well.

  20. #20
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    wow thanks for all the tips guys & gals! I'm in the process of moving from city to city so that makes all of this a bit harder, including getting online...stuff here, stuff there blah blah. I do have a heart rate monitor already but I need to find it again.

    So far during the week I've been hitting the gym in my building since my bike it at my future home in the next town over. The gym has recumbent bikes only..but the cool thing is the programs on it-some have easy sections that transition to hard sections immediatly, then drop off to next to nothing...so just like riding where I normally ride...I'm using a different program every day, about 40mins. I'm keeping the rpm's constant no matter what-is this good technique?

    I will incorporate some more complex resistance type exercises once I move completely to the new place. RIght now I can't even do pull ups 'cause this place doesn't have a bar. My best option right now is using bodyweight for resistance.

    Also a big problem of mine right now is diet. It's crap, mostly. I'm an emotional eater (yes, coming from a guy) and work has been pretty stressful these last couple weeks. The buggers don't help the situation either when they have candybars, soda, chips etc etc around for no cost to employees..help yourself lol. Don't get me wrong I eat high quality food otherwise, but then I go to work and pig out on sh!t. Just cutting out the junk I eat at work will fix the rest of my diet..but it's hard when everyone else munches away all day... :-O

    Anyways thanks for the tips and everything, I gotta jet

    Matt

  21. #21
    turtles make me hot
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    This past winter, the ONLY exercise I was getting was on my bike on Saturdays and Sundays. It sucked. I bought a Bowflex Revolution and now, at night, instead of watching TV in a chair, I'm watching TV while exercising. My riding buddy noticed an immediate difference.
    I like turtles

  22. #22
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    Over the winter I started working with free weights on an exercise ball, instead of a bench. This has helped me with balance and core strength, even when I'm focusing on working other muscles. It's something worth considering integrating into your workout routine.

  23. #23
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    Helpful!

    These are helpful suggestions. Thanks!

  24. #24
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    Proper nutrition will benefit any fitness level.

  25. #25
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    Get some resistance bands. You can travel with them and they are actually very good. Cheap too.

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