Mobility, strength and resilience for MTBers in their 50s

Hi All

Apologies if this is covered elsewhere. I couldn’t find an answer to this particular question.

TLDR version:
What would be a good source for creating a mobility, strength, and resilience training plan for someone in the 50s who has minor limiting injuries and a fairly weak upper body (I have the upper body of a chess player). Example of injury: broken wrist during youth with bones fusing together leading to limited range of motion that makes pushups painful.

Longer version (additional context):
I’ve hit a glass ceiling with my MTB skills and I guess I am facing a neuroplasticity challenge in that marginal skills gains require more practice. Some of the practice requires explosive moves which, combined with suboptimal technique, could (and did) lead to injury.

At the moment I do nothing other than ride / practice outside (this is heavily skewed towards riding) and do my regular low volume TR stuff, which I have been doing consistently over 5+ years. I ride purely for joy, but I get more joy from pushing my limits rather than just messing around. To be clear, I push limits with respect to power, speed etc, but not by challenging my skills on technical terrain - here I am a conservative rider with much of the caution stemming from absence of confidence (hence need to beef up skills).

I think what I need is something along the lines of a temporarily easing off TR to accommodate establishing a new base with mobility, strength and resilience training (say 6-8 weeks) followed by a plan to sustain this while I go back to my TR low volume. I have a demanding full-time job, so the sustaining element would likely have to be limited to daily exercises (15-20 mins) and 2x per week in the gym.

I’ve listened to the podcast with Derek Teel and I am somewhat familiar with Kelly Starretts “The Ready State”, but they each seem to be missing elements of what I need or perhaps I have misunderstood their offerings.

Any ideas would be welcome. In anticipation of responses to get “custom” training to take my injuries into account, I would say I would love that, but as soon as I say custom to prospective service providers, they seem to just see dollar signs. There must be way forward I’m not seeing…

Thank you in advance!

Watching this thread under the context of someone with VA rating due to dodgy shoulders and a strong desire to improve Leadville corral placement.

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Curious. What is “resilience training”?

I would say the best way to start is to start somewhere, maybe try out dialed health plans I’m sure he has some beginner programs. Also depending on what “injuries” you’re referring to, strength training might help alleviate some of those issues.
It’s hard for me to tell you what todo without proper mobility assessment. Another suggestion is finding a big box gym like LA fitness and have a personal trainer help guide you. These options all cost money.

Mind pump media is a great company IMO for general strength/fitness advice. They have lots of podcasts and YouTube videos. Their starter program is another option to get you started.

I’m not affiliated with them but respect their knowledge and have a few of their programs myself.


resilience is more an output I guess rather than something that is incorporated into the training, I’d define it as minimizing probability of injury in a crash scenario

Gotcha. Coming from a corporate background, it has a whole different meaning.

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Good start, but I was hoping for something MTBy or at least cycling-related to compensate for asymmetries created from pedaling (indoors and outdoors)…

I listened to a little of the recent Derek Teel podcast and heard him say he likes kettlebells.

I’ve posted this in a couple of threads, I like kettlebells. They are time efficient and space saving. Smaller risk of injury versus classic compound barbell lifts. So far I’ve been very impressed versus barbell work I was doing in 2020, 2021, and 2022.

Below is a 40 minute routine that I did last night. Over the past month I’ve been doing this or a 20/30 minute routine about 3 times a week. Started in earnest about 5 months ago, and built up to this routine.

Kettlebell Level 1+
Sunday, October 22, 2023 at 10:29 PM

Halo (Kettlebell)
Set 1: 12kg × 5
Set 2: 12kg × 5

Prying Kettlebell Goblet Squat
Set 1: 12kg × 10
Set 2: 12kg × 10

Around The World (Kettlebell)
Set 1: 16kg × 20
Set 2: 16kg × 20

Kettlebell Swing - every minute on the minute, always working on form, every couple weeks I replace two sets with the 24kg bells and eventually I’ll be doing all sets at 24kg (and then start slowly phasing in 28kg)
Set 1: 20kg × 10
Set 2: 20kg × 10
Set 3: 20kg × 10
Set 4: 20kg × 10
Set 5: 20kg × 10
Set 6: 20kg × 10
Set 7: 24kg × 10
Set 8: 24kg × 10
Set 9: 24kg × 10
Set 10: 24kg × 10
Set 11: 24kg × 10
Set 12: 24kg × 10

Romanian Deadlift (kettlebell) - working on form and range of motion
Set 1: 24kg × 10
Set 2: 24kg × 10
Set 3: 24kg × 10

Bent Over Row (kettlelbell)
Set 1: 16kg × 10
Set 2: 20kg × 10

Push Up - perfect form
Set 1: 10 reps
Set 2: 10 reps

Alternating Shoulder Press - oof, this is my weakness
Set 1: 10lbs x 10 reps
Set 1: 10lbs x 10 reps

Had rotator cuff repair 11 years ago at fifty, the shoulders are still weak and a bit tight.

Most of those I rest for a minute between sets. For a shorter conditioning workout I drop swings to 10 sets and stop after the Romanian deadlifts.

To get started, there are some really good instructional YouTube videos on this playlist:

And from ‘the source’ some of the intro videos on StrongFirst YouTube channel.

I’ve always struggled a climb or sprint out of the saddle for more than 10 seconds, after 5 months I’m finding it straightforward to climb/sprint standing for 20-30 seconds. And long power improving without actually doing long sweet spot work. And not having any real interference with my cycling.

Hope that helps, just sharing what is working for me.


I am not quite 50, but close, and am in the same situation with pour upper body and core strength, which leads to injuries, pour endurance, and pour performance on demanding terrain. Back when I did construction work I never worried about strength training, after 7 years in management I have lost all that upper body strength.

I decided before the season was over that I needed to work on these weaknesses to be stronger on the bike and prevent injuries, etc, along with just looking and feeling better, massages and Chiro visits are only temporary solutions.

I wanted a mountain bike focused plan that built slowly so I signed up for the dialed health Total Body Correction 12 week Plan, and am starting week 7. It starts very slowly with stretching to counteract the postures from biking and general office hunch, along with slowly working through weight lifting doing exercises for mobility and strength. After 6 weeks of 3 days a week I can honestly say I feel better, I am standing up straighter, my shoulders are rolling back, my hips, back, and calves feel noticeably more flexible, I am seeing my arms get toner. I plan to do the XC race plan after the Total Body Correction Plan, and the in season maintenance plan after that.

I am not a gym person but did join one for this plan, I joined a basic place that is close to my house and I go there straight after work, it takes about an hour per session. The app has some quirks, but works, each exercise has a video showing what to do, each 4 week phase does the same routine. I have found it pretty easy to follow. If you wanted to do this at home, you’d need a bench, kettlebells (various weights) a TRX, dumbbells, etc. more than I have or want to invest in. Being at the gym keeps me focused on the task at hand instead of the distractions at home as well.

I would recommend giving the Total body Correction plan a go, then move on to whatever strength plan suits your riding (road, gravel, etc.).

Good Luck

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I looked into this and it looks good. I signed up.

Check out James Wilson. He focuses on what you’re looking for, for MTBers. Aside from the programs he charges for, he also sends out an email newsletter that usually highlights certain exercises, and sometimes gives a way free PDFs of routines.

He was Aaron Gwin’s coach at one point.

I have tried Dialed health and right now I am using Everathlete and both have great programs.
Both have bike specific programs with lots of mobility included.
There are pro and cons to both in the delivery and are about the same price.

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