As a coach of 25 years, let me tell you a quick story about sports training and progression.
From 1999-2006 I was blessed enough to work with some of the best athletes in the world like Missy "The Missle" Giove, professional super cross and MX racers, pro and Olympic snowboarders, and pro golfers on the PGA Tour. During this time period gym training was frowned upon by the masses and even most of the pro athletes in each of these sports. Unbeknownst to us at the time, a handful of other coaches and I found ourselves immersed in shaping an important transition period within these sports that began to radically change the athletes and sports forever.
Quite simply, it was due to the fact that we coaches challenged the status quo and began "selling" the importance of training to these athletes. Now remember, I'm talking about professional athletes who already had tons of talent, yet were completely unaware of how much more talent they had to tap into! After a few months of training, they quickly came to realize how adding strength and performance training was not only going to radically change their ability to compete, but to succeed and to do both for a long, profitable career!
The cool part was watching how quickly this shift impacted each of these sports as the athletes who chose to hire coaches were now rising to the top. In fact, If you know anything about DH, MX, snowboarding and golf, you know that between 2000-2006 these sports began to go through a "performance revolution" where speeds increased, creativity and trick abilities blew up, tracks and half pipes got bigger and a new definition of "going big" was created! Simultaneously during these six years the public who were participating in these sports began to follow the lead of these pro athletes. They started to see and feel the value of regular training for their sport, and because of that helped to contribute to the overall growth of each sport and industry's that surrounded them! It really helped to shape the future for how massive each sport was to become!
Alright, so how does this apply to our mountain biking strength story you wonder?
Simple. Up till about 2012 or so, we knew that a handful of downhillers and some XC racers were "secretly" and seriously using gym training to up their game. Since EWS has come on the scene in the past few years, I think we're seeing a surge in the elite mountain biking athletes seeking the benefits of a regular gym-training program to boost their performance and you see that with all the regular postings on social media and youtube. So based off my experience, I feel like the influence of the training activities of the mountain biking pro's are beginning to trickle down to the amateur and I'm hearing a lot of chatter about how it's really beginning to help all levels of the amateur rider! Good times for sure!
Question is, what are you going to do about it for YOU?
To help nudge you, here are a couple of good superset exercises you can do to help get your body moving better and to start to add move strength to your baseline.
Try it for four weeks and see what it does to your riding, not to mention all other aspects of your life... you won't be disappointed, I promise. You can try something like this, just be aware of your fatigue:
Monday - Off
Tuesday - Strength day
Wednesday - Ride, Interval type workout
Thursday - Strength day with spin after
Friday - Off or Skills day
Saturday - Big ride day
Sunday - Big ride day
I suggest a good warm up using 10 reps, then 2-4 sets with 6-12 repetitions of each exercise. Take 1-3 minutes of rest between each superset. Perform two times per week for three weeks, then the fourth week will be an "active rest" week where you'll do the two workouts but with half the number of sets.
Superset #1: Means to do the two exercises back to back without rest, then when you finish both of them, you take a rest like it says above.
The Deadlift start is important to having a strong downhilling position
Single Arm Cable Press
Focus on strong posture while keeping hips still so you can move your torso and arms.
Superset #2: Means to do the two exercises back to back without rest, then when you finish both of them, you take a rest like it says above.
Bend Forward Walking Lunges
Start with light weights or you will get sore! Keep strong posture and reach toward mid-shin. Stand up and repeat in walking lunge fashion.
Single Arm TRX Pulls
Be sure the TRX is attached strongly AND the single handle your grab doesn't slip.
Very important... Please make sure your form is perfect and never sacrifice form for weight! What you put in is what you get out. If you program sloppiness into your movement patterns, it will show up in your riding and all other sports you participate in, so chose to be different than the other knuckleheads in the gym and be one who prides themselves in training in your best manner possible. I promise... better steaz and speed awaits you when you adopt that type of attitude in the gym!
Lastly, don’t be a hero. Lift what you can lift. Earn your weight just like you earn your speed.
Besides starting a training program to help you be a better rider/racer this year, I want to let you know that you have a unique opportunity in April to also help ‘take your riding to the next level!
For a long while now I've wanted to add a certain section to my business by helping athletes through a unique outdoor approach to helping riders be better, and now it's here! Leap2fly will be hosting the Moab Enduro Retreat April 13-15th and I will be teaming up with them to offer a one of a kind skill building-riding-injury prevention-athlete performance retreat! Christian (founder of Leap2fly) and I have worked with many Enduro Athletes and look forward to collaborating to bring you the injury prevention and performance perspective to go into the MTB season healthy and fit to ride and race! The Moab Enduro Retreat will also have local coaches and guides from Moab MTB Instructors joining us as we will be keeping rider to coach ratio small for this unique retreat. I am excited to bring my coaching skills along with the extensive skills of my other partners to serve attendees with a unique approach to a rad weekend in Moab! I look forward to working with the group teaching proper warm-ups, on trail nutrition, and to talk and provide training advice during the three day retreat jam packed with valuable mountain biking information, riding and technical skills training. My goal is to have riders go home with a bigger tool box of performance tips than when they came. So if you are at least an advanced intermediate rider or racer who is capable of riding most anything in Moab (or at least trying!), then we look forward to you signing up and letting us serve you and fill your brain with kick-butt information to make you a better athlete and mountain biker!"