Explosivity/Acceleration Tips?

Hey ya’ll, do you guys have any tips and tricks to help me accelerate faster and build my explosivity? I can hold steady power just fine, but I can’t respond to really punchy riding. This is especially important since I have a MTB race on a pretty steep course later this year and that’s going to be crucial to being competitive.

I’m not sure how well this carries over to MTB but on the road I’ve found having a wide range of comfortable cadence to be helpful for that. I can increase my cadence much faster than I can shift. ie riding a 95 rpm when cruising with the field and up to 120-130 during accelerations. If the raised pace becomes the new normal than I’ll shift to bring my cadence back down to 95-100.


Besides the obvious answer to find appropriate TR workouts to focus on those areas, you could always go old school……leave every traffic light / stop sign in a big gear and accelerate up to speed as fast as possible. Stop at the next light…lather, rinse, repeat.

One small problem, I’m not a TR user :grimacing:

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Then just go old school as noted above….any standing starts, do them in a big gear and spin up as fast as possible until you reach 120+rpm. Recover and repeat.

Sounds easy, but they aren’t…they suck. They hurt. But they work.

I had thought about doing those actually, but only in the sense of increasing my sprint, not helping with acceleration, so all the more reason to do them now :grin:

I’m always a sucker for a workout that hurts really, I’m actually quite masochistic :crazy_face:

Thanks for that, I’ll definitely incorporate those!

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As it, to a high degree, is a matter of mind - muscle connection I would suggest that you try various exercises improving that skill. Squats is one such exercise. You can also try plyometrics and running up stairs as fast as possible. You need to be fully rested between sets.

These should not be done to exhaustion; It is more important to do them frequently.


Box / squat jumps are great for explosivity but as per the other suggestions, find a good traffic light loop that you can work on either getting up to speed quickly from a standing start or coming in to a changing light slowly and accelerating both seated and standing and see what works best. Repeat regularly.

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IMO If you want that punchy acceleration follow what BMXers do; start w/ plyo squat jumps w/ no load for 4x15. Focus on minimal time on ground. DO NOT do crossfit style box jumps, you need to be fast and focus on form. As soon as explosiveness stops so do you… so shoot for 15 but let form and speed be the determining factor. Also add in standing starts in a smallish gear that you can easily get above 120rpm (not too easy, but you need to be able to explode not grind out a 52/11) Focus on speed first. Combine this w/ heavy 5x5(or3) squats , stiff legged deads, and hang cleans. And try creatine. Of you do this you’ll hate this post every time
You sit down or stand up for a few months.


@CLG212 @Henry_Lee @TomasIvarsson

I think I’m seeing a theme here, squats :joy:
I’ll definitely incorporate some into my training.


Another poster here reinforcing the idea that you build explosively in the gym under a heavy barbell and practice translating that to the bike. Can’t skip the gym. Heavy squat is your bread and butter

I hadn’t thought of the heavy squat in terms of accelerating, just pure force, but glad I can hit two birds with one stone.

You might want to look into this video from GCN as well.

Some very good suggestions already, especially various forms of squats! Do you have access to trails with similar punchy climbs? As you’re building strength & explosivity “in the gym”, the best place to apply it & develop technique is on the trail. Maybe pick a stretch with 2 - 3 punchy climbs close together & do intervals on those using the lap function on your head unit (assuming you have one). You could track results to measure your progress over time.

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@Kris_Wyman Good idea, I hadn’t thought about really doing it on a ride because there aren’t many punch climbs around here, but I could try and find some.

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