Training for Switzerland Mountain bike tour
Our lead Swiss guide Dave Spielmann gives you tips on how you should be training for Switzerland mountain bike tour
How should I be training for my Switzerland mountain bike tour?
When it comes to preparing yourself for the specific challenges posed by the Swiss trails, our lead guide Dave Spielmann has the following advice.
First and foremost, the best training for a mountain bike trip is always mountain biking. More specifically, when training for your Switzerland mountain bike tour, we need to look at what you’re going to encounter during your adventure:
- 7 consecutive days of riding
- Up to 4,000 metres of descending per day
- Technical terrain – steps, exposure, steep singletrack climbs, switchbacks…
- Altitude – consistently over 2,000 meters above sea level
Sounds like a dream holiday! So, what can you do to make the most of this dream holiday? The more you put into your training, the more you’ll get out of the whole experience of mountain biking in Switzerland.
You should start your training programme in earnest a minimum of three months prior to your mountain bike tour.
Below are some tips that have proven themselves from my own training.
Endurance, Strength, Balance
In order to prepare yourself physically, you should concentrate on the three areas: endurance, strength and balance. It’s not a new concept, but for mountain biking in the Swiss Alps this combination is enormously important.
- Regular exercise (about three times per week) on the mountain bike – road riding and running need to take a back seat
- Twice per week do longer ride with low load; turbo trainer at home is fine
- Interval training – on your regular mtb rides go full throttle for short bursts
- A strong torso is important, so all-round torso exercises are good
- In the gym do not train too much on the machines, free weights force you to stabilise more and that helps on the bike. This also trains your grip strength
- With all the descending in Switzerland your wrists need to be strong, so exercises where you are supported on your hands make sense. Push-ups, burpees etc.
- Focus on muscles that are not naturally strong for you
- Be creative, you need a strong back, strong arms, strong hands, and a strong torso
- Try to include balance exercises in all your training and even in your everyday life
- Track standing on the bike is a perfect basic exercise – if you have mastered it, it will give you time in difficult situations
- Challenge your balance on the bike, riding slowly, slalom in the forest, everything helps
- Do specific balance exercises between strength exercises. This way your body gets to know the strain of biking better
Try to do something every day, if you can. When training for your Switzerland mountain bike tour it makes more sense to do a little every day, rather than to do a strenuous training session twice a week.
That brings me to the fourth and perhaps most important point. Get to know your body! In training, your body is working hard and all the receptors are triggered. In recovery the body builds up strength and endurance effectively. This means that recovery is very important. Try out what is good for your body, how you can best recover. Is it yoga, stretching, meditation, special food or drink? The key to good recovery, of course, is a good sleep.
During a mountain bike trip, like our Trans-Graubünden adventure, there is often not much time to recover, so it is important that you know your body and how to recover best and fast.
Get help at home, a training partner, a fitness coach or inform yourself via YouTube etc. Regular training not only prepares you well for your trip to the Alps, but also makes you feel good in everyday life.
A combination of these elements will provide you with great training for your Switzerland mountain bike tour.
Looking forward to sharing my home trails with you soon!