Do this one exercise for strength gains that will boost your gravity and e-MTB performance

A mountain biker in a very challenging rock section
Challenging sections like this test the upper as well as the lower body (Image credit: Bartek Wolinski / Red Bull Content Pool)

If you ride downhill, enduro or just like hitting gnarly descents, you'll know that your upper body can take a battering while piloting your bike through technical sections that require strength as well as riding agility. Rapid-fire e-MTB handling can place similar demands on the upper body too – given the extra weight electric mountain bike riders have to cope with.

Dips are a great way to challenge and activate your pecs and triceps, which are both key upper body muscles used during tough descents. One of the great things about chest dips is that they can be done pretty much anywhere – all you need is a couple of dining chairs (carefully check they can take your weight first), or anything that can support your body weight while off the floor.

MTB performance specialists, Fit4Racing, have highlighted the worthy gains that riders can get from regularly performing chest dips. They also have some great variations and progressions to challenge you with in their video below.

If you're new to dips and finding them difficult, try using a resistance band to scale things back (I recommend a looped 2m Corezone band from Amazon). From there you can go for straight bodyweight dips, then progress to ring dips and finally weighted ring dips.

Start with three sets of six to eight reps, then build up to 15 reps and five sets. Rest for up to two minutes between sets.

Throw dips into a weekly workout, or just regularly bang some sets out while watching TV or something, and it won't be long until you get noticeable strength gains and extra bike handling power.

Richard Owen
Editor, Bike Perfect

Rich is the editor of the team. He has worked as a print and internet journalist for over 24 years and has been riding mountain bikes for over 30. Rich mostly likes hitting flowy yet technical trails that point downhill. A jack of many trades, he has competed in cross-country, enduro and long distance MTB races. A resident of North Devon, Rich can mostly be found pedaling furiously around his local trails, or slightly further afield in the Quantocks, the Mendips or Exmoor. 

Current rides: Merida One-Forty 6000, Banshee Paradox

Height: 175cm

Weight: 68kg