Muscle fatigue over rough terrain

Hey everyone I am looking for some advice to deal with muscle fatigue on longer technical terrain.

I just completed the wafer route of the BWR in California and felt great overall but I did experience muscle fatigue in my quads specifically in the area closer to my knees. It wasn’t debilitating but it did mess with my confidence to keep pushing hard. If I had to guess it came from being in a high hing position over somewhat rough terrain for a long time.

I’ve only ever experienced this type of pain once before and it was due to similar conditions, rough terrain for a long time. I was curious to see if anyone had any tips on exercises to help combat this. I never get this pain with hard cycling workouts or even weight training. I do squats, deadlifts, kettlebell and the like but I think plyometrics may be the answer for this.

I tried to look for plyometrics for motocross or mountain bike on YouTube but had limited results. It seems like the moto folks would be the ones who deal with that position and type of fatigue the most.

I recently started mountain biking and feel this will help but it’s rare for me to put in 4+ hrs of continuous work on the mtb.

Any advice, resources or exercises would be appreciated.


Not sure what your background is for off road riding, but given you’re already weight lifting. I would guess the muscle strain might have more to do with technical riding skills and potentially being to stiff/tight through the rough terrain. I would guess adding in technical mtb riding and getting comfortable allowing the bike to move around underneath you and riding a little more dynamically with leg and body extension through the technical terrain to avoid having the legs in a astatic position may help. I would also recommend playing around with flat pedals on the mtb to work on leg and foot control off road.

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Thanks for the reply. I agree more time on the Mtb and ridding rougher terrain is a key piece to working through this. Most of the gravel I typically ride is of the dirt road/fire road variety and doesn’t require you to be out of the saddle much. I’m going to try to work on getttout on the rough stuff more often. I’m hoping in can find some off the bike movements that can help buid the resilience in the legs as well.

I’ve always been a mountain biker first, but a few things that I think definitely help are movements that mix in balance and core work to the lift. With a deadlift for example rather than a heavy bar pull, most of the time I’m doing a single-leg RDL with a kettlebell. Bodyweight movements on the bosa ball are something I do pretty often for some great activation of stabilizing muscles too. If you have time to add additional activities to your life Yoga can be pretty great for mind & body, and rock climbing is a fun way to get serious core and forearm/hand strength.

Once you get to the extreme end you’ll never really be able to completely prepare, and making sure you are able to have the right form and control from the start will go further than trying to build additional strength for one spot that hurt once or twice.

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