Last month, Ninja Instructor and Personal Trainer Bekah Rottenberg helped us understand how adding strength training to your routine will have you reaping huge benefits on the bike (check it out here).

Today Bekah’s giving us the tools to tackle a serious challenge for many riders, one that impacts the most important position in mountain biking and the foundation of every single skill – the Ready Position.

The Goal

Proper riding position places your knees stacked directly over your toes. This position provides stability and balance and allows you to maneuver the bike underneath you (AKA bike-body separation).

The Challenge

Many riders’ knees tend to track inwards – this is called Knee Cave. While sometimes this is out of  fear or habit, it’s often due to a lack of strength and mobility.

The Fix

Here are 5 exercises you can do off the bike to strengthen your glutes, adductors, and core with the ultimate goal to bring your knees out over your toes to create a more stable and confident riding platform. Let’s dive in! (Watch the entire video here or click on the specific exercise below to jump directly to it in YouTube).

1. Banded clamshells

2. Pistol squat with stable support

3. Pistol squat with box

4. Pistol squat on box with weighted counter balance

5. Pistol squat on Bosu Ball

Bekah Rottenberg is a NASM certified personal trainer, Certified USA Olympic Weightlifting Coach, and PMBI certified Mountain Bike Instructor. Bekah coaches for Ninja Mountain Bike Performance, Northwest Excursions, teaches strength and spin classes at her local gym, The Power Station, in Hood River, OR, and offers weekly training plans for mountain bikers at

3 Responses

  1. Somebody should really check her exercises and their appropriateness for intermediate athletes.Clam shells are a closed chain exercises – the feet remain together the knees are bent and only the knees separate. She is demonstrating a side leg lift, which is open chain and put a tremendous amount of pressure on the hip joint -Especially with a band.

    The single leg knee squats below 90° are also only for people who have progressed to that level of difficulty- Could really blow someone’s knee out. Then it just gets worse..

    Great topic. But her solutions are way off base for functional exercise and safety and progression. That’s just my opinion:)

  2. 100 % concur with above comments!!
    I find it difficult to understand how a person “credentialed” as she claims , would post such difficult and potentially injurious exercises to an general audience.

    1. Hi, thank you for the feedback! I use both these exercises regularly with my clients who are beginner, intermediate, and advanced cyclists and I’ve seen great results. The pistol squat is definitely an advanced exercise when done unsupported, which is why the article offer progressions. Side lying leg lifts and clamshells do a great job at activating the glutes both to increase strength and turn on those muscles prior to squatting. There are many exercises that folks can do to increase single leg strength and stability. The purpose of the article was to provide two options, and have one with a progression (pistol squats). Do you have exercises you prefer to use for single leg strength and stability?

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