Strength: Which lifts should I do?

Which lifts should I do?

If you’re convinced that being stronger will make you a better trials rider (it will) lets choose the most effective lifts. You’ll only need 3-4 exercises to get strong. I know, there are thousands of workout templates that include 10, 12 or even 30 different exercises. For now, you don’t need them. 

Exercise #1

The Squat. 

Awww come on, you knew it had to be first on the list, right? Yep, the Squat is the King of the exercises. It allows for a lot of weight to be lifted in a nice, full, long range of motion. The Squat is often thought of as a leg exercise, but it uses tons of other muscles. The Squat is a tough and demanding movement. Make it the centerpiece of your workouts. It’s that important. 

Exercise #2

The Deadlift. 

The Deadlift is another must have in your lifting arsenal. The deadlift will work your grip and back muscles like nothing else. It’s easy to learn, and is a critical piece of the strength equation. 

Exercise #3

The Press. 

Trials riding demands a lot from your shoulders. Strong, healthy  shoulders allow for more frequent rides. Get acquainted with the Press. You can bench press, or perform an overhead standing press. Both are excellent movements. If you had to pick one, I’d focus on the standing overhead press. The press is easier on the shoulders than the bench press, and doesn’t require a spotter. 

Note- *If you are going to bench press, make sure you have a competent spotter, do not bench alone at home unless you’re positive that your safeties will catch the bar in case of a missed lift.


I recommend 3 days per week, Monday, Wednesday, Friday. 3x5 means 3 sets of 5 reps with the same weight, aka “sets across”. 

Monday                 Wednesday       Friday

Squat 3x5              Squat 3x5         Squat 3x5

Press 3x5              Press 3x5          Press 3x5

Deadlift 1x5           DL 1x5               DL 1x5

Each workout, add 5 pounds to each lift, in fact, you can add 10 lbs each workout to the deadlift. Start light, be sure to warm-up, and don’t get greedy and overload prematurely.

In future articles we’ll cover the proper execution of these movements. For now, start with a bodyweight squat, and light deadlifts and presses. Enjoy!

Danny has been a strength and conditioning coach since 2004. In that time, he has trained thousands of people to get stronger and to perform better. He was one of the first Americans to become certified in Kettlebell lifting, and has himself certified hundreds of personal trainers across the USA. In addition to getting people strong, he's an author, speaker and consultant for several large nationwide fitness chains. In his spare time, you'll see him riding both bicycle and moto trials. Currently he is the owner and head trainer at Team1Fitness.