Get Fit or Get Left – Greg Callaghan’s Fitness Training Routine

Promoting muscle balance to improve performance and keep prevent pain and injury

How To Video
Greg Lifting Weights

Greg lifting weights. Photo by David Cronolly / Red Bull Content Pool

Riding our bikes is a great form of exercise in and of itself for most of us but for those weekend warriors who compete; it takes more than pedaling around a few times a week. It takes dedicated strength training at the gym. Champions like Greg Callaghan take training to a whole new level. They don’t simply hit the gym and pump out a bunch of bro sets. You know the kind of workout routine meant to beef up the body parts of most interest to whomever you are trying to sexually attract which are usually limited to biceps, chest and butt. Mountain bike strength training goes way beyond aesthetics by honing in and focusing on what muscles are engaged in typical riding and racing maneuvers and then developing exercise routines that lengthen and strengthen those muscles.

MTB strength training places an emphasis on endurance, balance and explosive power. A good strength training program is a mindboggling mix of compound movements with heavy weights, body weight-based balancing movements, crawls, stretches, isometrics and pliometrics and other foreign words like Tabata which is way worse than it sounds BTW. I now shiver whenever I hear that word….

Here is an example what a Tabata workout looks like:

  1. Push-ups (4 minutes)
  2. Bodyweight Squats (4 minutes)
  3. Burpees (4 minutes)
  4. Mountain Climbers (4 minutes)

Start with regular push-ups. Perform them for 20 seconds at high-intensity. Rest for 10 seconds, and then do more push-ups for 20 seconds. After you complete eight sets of push-ups, rest for one minute.

Greg Squats

Greg performing single leg squats while his back leg rests on a bench. “We do these because on a bike our legs work independently so we try and build our strength in the same way in the gym.”

Next, move on to squats and repeat the sequence of 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off. Once you finish eight sets of squats, rest for one minute, and then do burpees. After burpees, finish the workout with mountain climbers.

Greg Callaghan

Red Bull Foxhunt 2017, Rostrevor, Northern Ireland. Photo by Morgan Treacy / Red Bull Content Pool

If you want to be a champion then be ready to train like one. If you simply want to become a better rider and up your trail game plus decrease your risk of injury then hit the gym and incorporate some of Greg’s workout routine into you yours. If you would prefer more guidance and motivational assistance check with your local gym and racing teams (high school teams and shops teams are a good resource) to find out if there are any MTB Strength Trainers in your area.

Photo Thumbnails (click to enlarge)

About the author: Justin Wages

As a stage 4 colon cancer survivor, Justin Wages got into the cycling world in an effort to increase his endurance after losing his left lung. As a California native and growing up with a skateboard and snowboard beneath his feet it wasn’t long before the thrill of mountain biking gripped him. Justin’s day job as a Land & Recreation Manager helps him understand the balance between conservation and trail use. He also works with his fiancé, Jeni, to bring more women into the mountain bike world with certified skills clinics and education. “My goal is to get more people on trails for health and enjoyment,” he says. “I want to help them overcome their mental or physical limitations and be the best person they can be, while expanding their appreciation for our natural world.”


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