Strength Training for MTB

Looking for suggestions on strength training programming for mtb racing, specifically enduro. I’ve got some general strength programming but looking for some new things to add to my arsenal.

What do you do?

Have you reviewed this thread? It has lots of great info.

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Nope, thanks for the heads up. Will check it out.

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Hi Andy,
I tend to follow Coach Chads advise and perform strength workouts on the heavier TR scheduled training days (Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday).
I like to follow a principle called “daily undulating periodisation” using big compound lifts. In a nut shell you use the similar exercise on all three days but mix up the weight and rep range to hit all the main aspects of weight training - Strength, Power and Hypertrophy.
My week looks something like this:
Clean to Press - 5x5 Heavy
Single leg Deadlift 3x12 Hypertrophy
Squats - 6x3 Power
Bench - 3x10 Hypertrophy
Dead hang Chin ups - 3x5 Heavy

Clean to Press - 3x10 Hypertrophy
Dead lift 5x5 Heavy
Squats - 3x12 Hypertrophy
Bench - 6x3 Power
Bent Over Row - 3x12 Hypertrophy

Clean to Press - 6x3 Power
Deadlift - 6x3 power
Squats - 5x5 strength
Bench - 5x5 strength
Pendally Row 6x3 power

I’ll also add 10-15 mins of conditioning work at the end of each session which mainly targets the core and consists of a lot of kettlebell complexes.

I find by not having a full session dedicated entirely to anyone aspect enables me to recover quicker and complete works without being totally frazzled.

Being strong definitely helps with enduro and for me personally it’s as much a priority as interval training on the bike.

Hope this gives you some ideas, Mark


Go do some trail work! I just did some trail work last weekend and everything above my waist was sore for three days haha.

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Two questions for ya Scarycarey:

  1. You mentioned the principle “daily undulating periodisation”. Is it really “daily” because it sounds like you were aligning your Strength training days with the TR Training days of Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday or have I misunderstood?

  2. Also, at what stage of TR training are you incorporating strength training — Base, Build or Speciality? I can’t imagine you can keep this up during all phases of your training – I’ve tried and it’s very taxing.


Look at this!

I have been exploring MTB video, and downhill racers… I feel like we (roadie) often just go out and ride to gain ftp but not gaining the supporting muscles and technique to enhance the overall necessity as being an “ATHLETE” rather than just a cyclist.

While its good that we do heavy compound movement, specially if you read alot of forum and watch a lot of youtube… Most cyclist miss alot of stabilizations and core movements or even stretching.

What im trying to do at the gym is not really gain that much more strength, but exploring more explosive at that heavy 5 reps now. At certain point biking doesn’t require that much strength than what you already have, so now I begin to put the importance to enhancing the neuromuscular motors. To supplement with that is a stability and core strength movements workout too.

@Jonathan im interested in your take in this, specially with core and stability movements for all cyclist. Roadie especially neglects the basic of being a complete athlete in their regiments I feel. I seen your knee injury post, so i know you have a lot to say!


I loved this video! My question for @Jonathan and @Scarycarey at what point in your training program could you do a Nino Shurter-like workout as seen in that video? Could you pull it off in all three phases: Base, Build and Speciality? Surely you have to periodize your strength training at some point. But I can’t imagine a period in my life where I would forego doing any strength training at all.

Love to see your feedback fellas.

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I can’t answer for @Scarycarey but this year I did it through out training, stopping a week or two before my A race (and since I had 2 A races exactly 4 weeks apart, I did minimal strength training through that period of recovery and re-taper).

I stopped trying to progress weight and adjusted frequency down during build (same volume per workout, but 2x instead of 3x per week), and then I adjusted volume down during specialty (keeping the weight the same), finally stopping a couple of weeks before my race.

This was my first year trying this approach, and while it was taxing, I found I got used to it over a short period and it was easier to keep going than to stop entirely while I was training seriously. I didn’t make the progress I wanted in my racing this year, but there were a lot of other factors like poor sleep and I don’t think the weight training was a factor.

This has got to be the best strength-related video for cyclists!

Just shared this with my conditioning coach.



Big fan of Kettlebell Training for general strength conditioning. Swings and Turkish Get-ups are the go to moves. Check out Enter the Kettlebell or Simple and Sinister by Pavel Tsatsouline

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Morning team!
The example of the week I posted is what I perform in base and early build. When the build workouts start to ramp up in intensity I’ll back off to maybe two days of full body training and once I’m in the sharp end of the season drop it down to one. I’ve tried to keep up with a full schedule of strength training “in season” and it just buried me. Make the gains you want in the base / off season and then maintain once things start getting more intense on the bike. This is a good link to DUP
With regards to Nino’s workout I would say that’s probably an in season workout due to how race and cycling specific it is??? However I could be miles of here :smiley:

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Your ideology is very similar to mine. :love_you_gesture::love_you_gesture::love_you_gesture:

Great link on DUP. Thanks for that!!