Images by: Rick Schubert 



It’s so cool to be writing to you guys again! I have just come back from Europe where I was taking part in the world championships and some various other events, but it’s always good to be back home that’s for sure.

We had one hell of a winter, rainy and stormy (well at the coast at least) which meant the bike industry was a bit more quiet than usual. However, we are headed back into summer now so it’s time to dust off the cobwebs and get back into riding shape.

So, in the pursuit of fitness and getting back into shape I will share some of my training tips here. Remember guys if you keep on training the same, you will always have the same results.

I like to mix up my training, to keep it more exciting and to train more motivated. For me personally it gets harder to motivate myself to train if I do the same thing over and over.

Pedalling of course has it’s place, long slower rides to get up your cardio fitness is important and it’s something you have to do at some point. But pedalling in itself isn’t always that tires you out, it’s the fact that you are holding up your weight for a long period of time. So let’s say for example you way 70 kg…when u land a drop, you may weigh 80, or even 90 depending on how high the drop is. Every time you hit a corner, you weigh more depending on how fast you hit the corner. So basically when u ride down a trail, you are constantly doing pushups and squats all the way down and that is what actually gets you tired and fatigued, and couple that with some peddling it speeds up the fatiguing process.

So here are a couple of things you can focus on, that would also require way less time. But in this case it would be quality over quantity.


You might have heard of this one before, and it’s not that hard to do. You can do them right in front of the TV inside your house and it doesn’t take that long. I normally do unweighted squats, sometimes 200 a day in sets of 50 throughout the day. Off course you can start with less and build up to a higher number of squats daily. So swop out some of your long rides for squats and try do them at least twice a week, and thank me later.

Push ups

This is another one that you would have heard before. But let me try and get you to do it a bid differently. So as a professional athlete I once looked at how many pushups I could do in one minute, and it was around 70. But in saying that, that was also all I could do I couldn’t do any more or for any longer. Then I thought to myself, well my downhill runs are anything from 2 to 5 minutes so let me try and do push ups for a longer period of time. So my goal was to do push ups for 2 minutes long, even if I only did 25 or 30, so lets say one pushup every 5 seconds but I had to have that weight on my shoulders for 2 minutes. And this exercise help me a lot in my riding and I could really see how much less fatigued I got in my riding.

Pump track riding

Now this might be something you have never even though of or know about. There are loads of pump tracks popping up all over the show so it is getting easier to access them. Before my last 4 SA championships titles, the majority of my training was on pump tracks and pump track intervals so trust me when I say this is some of the best training you can do on your mountain bike.

Firstly on a pump track you are doing squats and pushups the whole time but in the exact riding position that you would be in on the trail as well as using all the exact muscles you would be using on the trail.

Secondly, with a pump track you can mimic a very long trail without having to go on a long trail or big mountain to find one, in fact you can mimic a trail as long as you want.

So the pump track I normally use it takes about 2 seconds a lap. I will go there and do 5 x 2 laps flat out, and then I will do 2 x 20 laps at a lower pace off course. 2 laps takes me about 7,5 minutes which is me mimicking a very long trail and I do it twice. It’s quite straining but it works like a bomb for your fitness and it makes interval training a lot more fun as you are constantly cornering and pumping.

So guys I hope you enjoyed this column and that you will find some insight in here to help your mountain biking improve. I can’t wait to write to you guys next time!

But for now, take care and happy riding!

Johann Potgieter

Johann (Pottie) Potgieter is a multiple national downhill champion. He loves to rip, stay ceffeinated and share his skills and knowledge with new gravity riders.

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