12 Week MTB Full Fitness Plan- Bike Workouts, Full-Body Strength and Skills

Average Weekly Breakdown
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Breakdown
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Training Hours: 06:06

This is a full fitness plan for mountain bikers to be done at any point in the season.

Included in this training plan is:
-Strength training- upper body, lower body and full body workouts are included in a gradual build up. You don't need to go to a gym
-Bike workouts- there are easy ones and some hard ones; these address what mountain bikers need to work on. All bike workouts can be uploaded to a smart trainer.
-Rest- recovery is important; we build you up and recover properly
-Stretching- we work on your flexibility regularly each week in 20 minute sessions
-Volume- all volume is appropriate. You can go longer as needed and shorten it up if necessary. There are planned additional rides for advanced athletes.
-Warm ups- we warm up properly for every strength session
-Fun- there are fun MTB rides planned within this training
-Skills- we work on things like pacing, cornering and braking to help you ride faster with your fitness
-Testing- we regularly reassess your fitness every 4 weeks to see how far you've come

The volume and intensity gradually increase throughout this training plan. After 12 weeks you will be prepared for a great season!

This training plan works great when done ahead of an important race when using the available two-week taper.

Sample Day 1
1:00:00
TEST TIME TRIAL [Pre-training]

Welcome to the first day of your training plan! The first day is a test day to determine what your fitness is now and to offer you a benchmark for your future training cycles.

We will try to control this as much as we can so that we know we are comparing apples to apples. We'll make sure the lead in to test day is pretty similar, control the warmup, and it will be up to you to eat similar foods.
(PRO-HACK: write down what you ate in the post-ride comments after you upload your file)


In addition to helping you track your progress, testing will also help you to determine training zones as you start your program.

IF YOU HAVE A SMART TRAINER
Click on the option to do an FTP test and follow the protocol. the time trial portion is VERY hard, and the program will tell you your FTP so that you can set your zones and intensities for the following weeks of workouts.

IF YOU HAVE A POWER METER OR OTHER:
Choose a road nearby that is easily repeatable on a safe section of road with no stops. Do this on the same bike every time. Using a MTB is OK. If this is uphill you will be able to pedal more steadily (less coasting) but flat or rolling terrain are fine if there are no stops or changes of road.
Get in a 15-minute warmup as follows: 5min easy seated pedaling- 10s acceleration with high cadence RPE~7 - 2min easy pedaling- 15s acceleration with slightly higher RPE, high cadence - standing pedaling for 2 minutes with heavy gear @50rpm ~RPE 5 – 5s acceleration just below max – 5min easy seated pedaling.

Record start location and begin the test, shooting for a steady power at a maximal rate for 12-20 minutes. Record stop location, elapsed time, weather, perceived exertion, heart rate, bike and tires used.

IF TRAINING WITH HEART RATE
Follow time trial protocol as above. Take average heart rate from test portion only. This is a good estimation of your lactate threshold heart rate. Zone will be as follows (derived from Andrew Coggan, PhD):
Zone 1: <68%
Zone 2: 69-83%
Zone 3: 84-94%
Zone 4: 95-105%

(PRO HACK 2: you can enter these zones on your Training Peaks profile and the metrics from your rides will be appropriately calculated.)

Sample Day 2
0:30:00
Smart MTB Training Home Circuit

See attached for the Smart MTB Training Home Full-body Circuit.

You don't need to use any weight for this circuit as it is more about moving your body and muscles in different ways. This might start off a bit difficult, but as your muscles adapt you will soon be able to handle more complex and forceful movements. This is a great foundation for more focused work, whether or not you feel much in these sessions.

Warm up by doing 5-7 minutes of an easy aerobic activity. Then, move from one movement to the other in order, with very little break in between. Aim for 10 reps on each side (20 reps total, or 20+ seconds for planks) before moving to the next movement. Recover for 2 minutes before moving on to another set.

Try to complete three sets.

Cool down with an easy activity for 5 minutes.

Sample Day 3
0:20:00
Smart MTB Training Stretching Routine

See attached for the Smart MTB Training Stretching Routine. Try following these stretches in order, and hole each pose/side for 20-30 seconds. Once you've done each side/pose once, repeat the stretching circuit again.

These are best done after a light walk or activity. Hold each pose until mild discomfort, but if something hurts then don't do it.

You can do this any or every day of the week!

Sample Day 4
1:35:00
55.2TSS
Easy Endurance Ride (Fasted)

Endurance (Zone 1-2) power and heart rate zones. Keep pedalling and avoid big spikes in power. Aim for 90-100rpm, for 1-1:45 hours.

Sample Day 6
0:56:00
57.3TSS
4x6 min Sub-threshold Climbs

4x6 minutes efforts in Zone 4 at 90-95% of your threshold power or heart rate.

These are meant to be done up a climb; if no climb is available, just shift in to a harder gear, aiming for ~70 rpm.

Start at the bottom of the hill, and ride steadily to the top in your threshold zone (Zone 4). Try to remain seated for the entire effort. If using heart rate, take the first two to three minutes to gradually increase your heart rate in to the working zone.

Note that recovery intervals are normal (high) cadence. Recover for 3-4 minutes before repeating.

These can be done on the road, on the smart trainer, or on trails. If doing these on trails, ensure that you aren't going TOO hard on the climb. Recover on the descent, focusing on smooth riding and carrying speed rather than sprinting.

If you have much bigger hills in your area, it's OK to go longer--aim for about 24-30 minutes total in your Zone 4 if you decide to use a bigger hill

Sample Day 7
1:30:00
Easy MTB Ride

The focus is on fun and aerobic riding today. Ride mostly easily in Zone 1-2. Focus on any skills that need work, but avoid "racing" down the trails.

Sample Day 9
0:30:00
Smart MTB Training Home Circuit

See attached for the Smart MTB Training Home Full-body Circuit.

You don't need to use any weight for this circuit as it is more about moving your body and muscles in different ways. This might start off a bit difficult, but as your muscles adapt you will soon be able to handle more complex and forceful movements. This is a great foundation for more focused work, whether or not you feel much in these sessions.

Warm up by doing 5-7 minutes of an easy aerobic activity. Then, move from one movement to the other in order, with very little break in between. Aim for 10 reps on each side (20 reps total, or 20+ seconds for planks) before moving to the next movement. Recover for 2 minutes before moving on to another set.

Try to complete three sets.

Cool down with an easy activity for 5 minutes.

Dr Matt Miller
|
MTB PhD

I specialize in MTB performance and support rad athletes globally. I have a PhD in Sport Science and have raced in every discipline including the EWS and UCI Elite XC since 2003. In early 2019 I left my university role to focus on coaching full time.