I am a pretty avid mountain biker and I want to take my fitness and skills to the next level with it. When I go on rides over 1.5 hours my legs feel pretty beat and start to cramp (in quads and calves).

What would be some good exercises to increase my strength and stamina and reduce the cramps? For the most part it feels like me quads are lacking the most in power and stamina.

  • Are you hydrating well before your ride and replacing fluids and electrolytes as you get into your ride? These can help prevent cramps during prolonged exercise. Commented May 26, 2011 at 18:17

2 Answers 2


+1 for squats. Lunges are another good biking power builder.

I tend to mix running stairs with squats to provide a little variation.

Riding on the road can help you build fitness too. Generally speaking, road riding is lower impact than mountain biking, which allows you to log some serious miles without the off-road pounding.

As far as training on the bike, hill intervals are the best way to strengthen your legs and build power. Find a hill that you can do in a decent gear (granny gear doesn't make you much stronger) and that can be made into a loop of some sort. Sprint up the hill, then ride the rest of the loop to cool down before sprinting the hill again. The ability to adjust the length of the loop gives you longer/shorter "rest" periods.

  • Quadriceps: Squat or Leg Press
  • Hamstring: Leg Curl
  • Calf: Calf Raises

This should do the trick.

  • Care to explain how these help strengthening the leg?
    – Ivo Flipse
    Commented May 26, 2011 at 17:48
  • @ivo now you're being ridiculous..?
    – eevar
    Commented May 26, 2011 at 18:56
  • 1
    @eevar, perhaps I should have been more clear, but my point was for him to explain why these exercises work better than: simply cycling more or doing squats only. Furthermore, they don't tell how often and how many repetitions he should be doing. Surely that's not the kind of answers we're striving for?
    – Ivo Flipse
    Commented May 26, 2011 at 19:19
  • @Ivo: I agree that the answer is a bit on the terse side and doesn't really qualify as a routine, which is what the topic asks for. Furlong did narrow the question down to suggestions on exercises, though.
    – eevar
    Commented May 26, 2011 at 21:51

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