Hybrid Exercises to Build Strength & Cardio

May 5, 2011 at 0:07
May 5, 2011
by James Wilson  
 
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Mountain biking is a unique sport in that it demands a high level of strength and cardio. Using exercise techniques that let you work on both at the same time provides a unique chance to build real "trail fitness". If you want to get a great workout while building strength and cardio at the same time then Hybrid Exercises are another tool for you to put in your toolbox.

Hybrid Exercises are when you combine two exercises into one movement. They differ slightly from the combo drills I use in a lot of my programs so watch this video to see how they break down and how to perform this routine.

Views: 10,909    Faves: 62    Comments: 3


Here is a list of the routine:

- TRX Push Up with PJK X 12 reps
- RDL with Bent Row X 12 reps
- Split Squat with Shoulder Press X 6 reps each leg


Go through this circuit 2-4 times, 2-3 times per week and you'll start to feel the difference on the trail.



MTB Strength Training Systems is the world leader in integrated performance training programs for the unique demands of mountain biking. As the strength and conditioning coach for the Yeti World Cup Team and 3 National Championships, his programs have been proven at the highest levels. As a regular contributor to several popular magazines and websites, James has helped thousands of riders just like you improve their speed, endurance and skills on the trail. Visit www.bikejames.com to sign up for the free Trail Rider Fundamentals Video Mini-Course.
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48 Comments

  • + 7
 James, one thing you could also add into your videos is some ways to modify some of these moves for people who don't have acess to some of this equipment. The town I come from has 4 gyms, and only 2 of them have TRX. Before my Wellness Centre got TRX I used to do the same move (pushup to pike) but with a ball under my feet and a bosu under my hands since we had no suspention sustem at the time.

Again thanks for another great post. I see far too many young athletes doing things in weightrooms that have no relevance or benifit to the sport they play. It's good to see people get informed about propour core training that promotes balance, strength and cemetry to the body, rather then just trying to one rep max on bench/squat etc.
  • - 7
 I'm sorry but I read this post and am furious!!! Mate if I am a DH rider and people see me doing chest and arms does that mean that its not relevant!!!! No i'm trainin all the muscle groups! you may not see the whole picture of someone doing other training! Sorry to say this but because someone does not train something in a way specific to their sport does not mean that its not relevant!!! You are a douche! also a 1RM is a great way to measure your training. I check my 1RM every 3 months to see if I'm improving. And finally any good trainer will tell you how the core is worked in the basic three exercises, bench, deadlift and squat. you don't need to do much more core then that. Maybe some planks at most but thats about it. i would add some press ups with exercises as a superset! end of rage
  • + 2
 squatting does sweet F.A for cycling, sorry. I used to be able to squat upwards of 180kg (along with my already porky 85kg of body weight) 3-4 sets of 10-12 and when i first got on a bike i was slow and dead in half a mile of easy riding. The only thing is I'd say it helps with is my sprint ability is silly but I burn out very very fast, just like squatting, lots of strength no requirement for stamina. Cycling doesn't really require considerable leg strength (in relative terms) but needs a hell of a lot of stamina to keep standing for a DH run or keep spinning for a XC epic.

Core I agree with though for off road at least, does help with stability, and upper body strength on DH is important as you dont half get battered around I guess, for XC, not really so important.

Nothing beats really going out on your bike and riding, but some carefully selected gym work will help, however picking the biggest weights and burning out fast will only make you look pumped, and not really do anything to make you faster.

Just my opinion, I havent yet watched the video (im at work) and im not trained in anything sport related, but I base the above on a mix of personal gym to cycling experience and basic logic
  • + 1
 Yer that rage was all aimed at DH as that's my activity of choice. Where you need to be able to go all out for 5 mins
  • + 5
 Two words Pump Track works all the relevant muscles coz you on your bike while doing it!
  • + 2
 James is a professional, he teaches mtb specific training. Trainers at find are clueless in this area in comparison. What you guys may be missing is these are ADDITIONS to your training program. I suggest that you try his exercise for a few months before you try to knock it down. We are so lucky to get these pointers without going to Colorado and paying for them. Keep the comments to yourself unless you have the education that he does.
  • + 1
 Budlee, settle down boy. I never called you out on how you train. Nor did I mention you at all. So no real reason to get angry.

Now, I've read what you said and maybe I wasn't totally clear on what I meant. When I said, "too many young athletes doing things in weightrooms that have no relevance or benefit to the sport they play." etc.... What I meant but that was these people that I speak to claim to me that they ARE doing it to benefit of what sport or activity they enjoy in their spare time. (I'll admit not all of them do, but most of them claim this). Now if you play a sport (any sport at all) but just wanna do various styles of training to both have fun in the gym and on the trails, great! fill your boots! But that's not really the point of the videos James releases, or my comments.

My post is too long continued below.....
  • + 1
 Now, is it important to work on your strength? Sure! of course it is! Just like cardio is important (even for us DH riders, don't kid yourself), and muscle endurance, core, flexibility, agility, plyo's etc. The point of this video is not to say if you do these 3 or 4 moves you'll be a WC DH star. You need to do much more. But in reality, if you are a mountain biker (of any discipline) ***and you want to train to improve your bike riding specifically*** 1RM's actually don't do you a whole lot of good. 1RM's can be very effective for other sports and activities like you said, but not cycling. And if you are guy that doesn't play sports at all and just likes to train like a body builder/powerlifter, that's great too! 1RM away until your hearts content. And that was the point of my post. And that is also the point of the videos James puts out. It's to improve you riding, not boots a general fitness level.

The only thing that you said that I disagree with is "And finally any good trainer will tell you how the core is worked in the basic three exercises, bench, deadlift and squat. you don't need to do much more core then that. Maybe some planks at most but thats about it."

Yes your core gets worked a bit during bench, deads and squats. But to say you don't really need to do much else (other then the odd plank) is a very miss informed and under educated statement. You need to do much more then just that if you truly wanna boots your riding performance, because again, that was the point of the article.

More continued....
  • + 2
 Finally, calling me a douche is really just childish. You don't know me and you never will. I'm actually a great guy. And well respected in the fitness field where I come from. I have degrees in both Human Kinetics and Bio and have been working in the field for many many years. So please don't bash me without knowing what I'm about. I'm not claiming to know everything, nor am I trying to one up James. He's clearly a highly trained professional and knows his stuff. All I wanted to do was give a suggestion to what I thought is a great video for people to see, that's it.

Now if you wanna respond to this, please do it calmly and like an adult. I always love to trade off fitness ideas. But if you're just gonna scream and bi*ch like a 14 year old I won't bother to respond again.

Have a great day Smile
And cheer up, life's too short to be angry.
  • + 1
 PS: Does anyone know how many characters can be put in one post on pinkbike? Until now I never knew there was a limit lol.
  • + 1
 thanks for the essay. no really, thanks a lot, im bored as hell at school and this is much more interesting than trig
  • + 1
 Yerp deffo I have a big ol' response to that. Be prepared as this is going to be BIG!

If I start training tomorrow and add those three exercises in with my routine they will not improve my performance on a push bike. I say this because I honestly believe that if you perform a good selection of compound movements that you will improve at a faster rate and get bigger, stronger and faster. These exercises are a con to get people to buy in to the idea that this guy knows his shizzle and should invest in his program.

I admit that you don't want to be body builder big and get on a bike but you need to be built like a tank to some extent especially DH riders.

On the core front of things I really quesiton why you want to do more as when I finish a DH run I think "hell my arms are hurt" or "blimey my legs are tired" not "OMG my core is so unfit" I know that the core is good for explosive speed and its important to use your core and one of the most under appreciated muscle groups. However, at the end of the day like I said the basic three will use you core to balance you out which what biking is all about.

I may not be a professional athlete but I believe that my knowledge is a damn sight better than most peoples. I know fully what I want out of my body and train to get the most out of it.

Overall I focus on DH and that in my opinion a good routine would involve a regime of lifing heavy untill your a big bas***d and then reppin alot of weight to give you that endurance.
  • + 1
 How many pro racers are "big bas***ds"? Anyways, proprioception exercises would be a great addition. Thanks again James for your help with these great exercises that train multiple muscle groups to work together. We do appreciate it, and I am eager for your next session.
  • + 1
 All the good DH riders are solid muscle! Most of them will be wider than you even if you lied down sideways
  • + 1
 I'm bigger than any of them at 6 foot, 200 lbs all muscle. I'm not big either. Most top WC guys weigh between 165-185 lbs.
  • + 1
 its not about size tho, a lighter rider will be able to accelerate and slow down easier, better on tighter slower tracks.
A heavier rider will carry more speed through stuff, rock gardens ect.

its finding the right balance + still being powerful enough to control the bike at speed
  • + 1
 Their muscle density will be off the hook as well as the amount of fast twitch they will be training! Also if your cardio training is right and you know what gear you have to be in someone bigger will be able to do the same as someone smaller. THey are trying all to become powerful and explosive so that for their weight they can accelerate quickly i.e. bulking in proportion to their muscle growth. Thats why they are all lean! Its simple muscle development. when you study for a masters human biology at the UK's top university you know what your talking about
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Another great video/article. As someone who works as a personal trainer and has a love for bikes when they arn't at work, I love to see these videos posted. Your fitness level can help your riding so so much. And to see propour training tips posted on here so kids learn to do it RIGHT is only a positive thing. Keep up the great work. Cheers!
  • + 2
 It is not just Kids.... would be great if most 30+ XC boys were to watch these videos and take tips from them.
Many of the kids do things right as they ride ride ride and learn from the top boys.
[Reply]
  • - 1
 Lol would not even bother with this routine! great idea but I could think of better routines and Romanian's I wouldn't want to mix with row's as I personally don't think its that safe(I know haters gunna hate and say i'm wrong).

Squats superset with Jump squats is where the party is at! made a massive difference. Also going out and riding helps
[Reply]
  • + 2
 I have trouble doing push ups, my elbows click and pop a lot, it's not exactly painful but it's weird.
  • + 1
 I have the same thing with my left!
  • + 1
 cod liver oil n use ur knees n build ur strenghth it could be there is not enuf muscle surrounding the cartlidge. give it a go n lemme no if it works for ya.
  • + 1
 Ohh yehh and dont expext it to work straight away. a few weeks n see how it does ya.
  • + 1
 you can also try glucosamine/chondroitin. worked for me. feels like the tin man got a lube job.
  • + 1
 Mine used to click, but I improved my diet and strength and it went away, just work on your techinque and diet and if that doesnt work, then get some cod liveroil as said above
  • + 1
 look some peoples genetics mean they'll have a few defects. my mate benches and his elbow creeks loads but his teckers are great. Its just genetics
  • + 1
 I wasn't disagreeing, just to a newcomer to exercise, it's not a pleasent sound or feeling and there are ways of getting rid of it Smile
  • + 1
 I think you should visit a doctor. That thing might have some negative impact in the future. And since I'm not a doctor, I won't make any recommendations.
  • + 1
 I've been waiting for an appointment for a few years, my knees used to pop a lot more, it pops less the more I ride, probably lack of muscle around that area.
  • + 2
 Guys the rule is: if the crepitis is not accompanied with pain, then don't worry about it. Generally speaking, it never goes away. James is a professional, treat him as one. His workouts are mtb specific. Any type of riding deals with core strength, mobility, stamina, and even quick burst.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 you could just ride more if you want to be fitter!!??
  • + 1
 kinda, but this will help train away things like bad posture on the bike and other bad habits. it'll also push your body in ways that a bike can't. plus, perhaps you can't always spare the time for a ride but you can fit in a half hour workout which will make the time you do ride more enjoyable.
  • + 2
 While mountain biking by itself does help us to be fit and it definitely helps our technical skills, we need to train off the bike too to truly see a performance difference. If we only ride our bike as a form of fitness, it would be like football players only playing football. They would have great knowledge of the game, and skills, but would be at ten times more risk for injury and would not be as fast nor as strong as they possibly could be.
  • + 1
 Yes you can if you ONLY want to be fitter. But if you want to progress in your riding, then you should spend some time in the gym. Let me explain from my experience.

I'm a programmer, I sit every day in the office. That makes me very unfit. So I started riding MTB. After two seasons I've bought new bike and started to ride trails and 4X. And I understood that I need to learn some basic tricks like manualing and bunny hopping to ride faster, more fluid and have more fun (I'm not a pro, I'm doing it for fun).

When I started training manual I've found that my back muscles are weak - I just could not hold the bike rigidly. Sounds silly, right? But I sit in the office for eight years now, so this is the way I degraded. After realising the reason behind my failures I started to work on my back - it helped!

Next one - bunny hop. Having improved my back muscles I've found another problem - landing was painful. Now my hands were weak to handle dropping from 50cm. So I've improved that part of my body.

Now I enjoy hopping and manualing without pain and injuries. So if you want to progress - visit your local gym sometimes to improve your body overall. Of course, if you are young and active that might not be a requirement, but if you like me spent lot of time just sitting in a chair, gym is a must.
  • + 1
 oh ok. Can't stand being inside for longer than i have to be so if the weather's nice like it is at the moment i'd rather be outside on my bike. Also it's expensive to go to the gym and i find i get bored of it quickly. Why do pullups or whatever in a gym when i could go to my nearest tree for free!

Fullmonty: If i have half an hour to spare i would ride instead of go to the gym but that's just coz my nearest gym's a few miles away

Dagair002: I just ride to keep fit and mainly coz it's fun so i'm not all that bothered about a performance difference although i see your point

Auux: I tend to just keep doing stuff i can't do until i can do it like hopping etc but i spose if you go to the gym and work on that particular part of your body that would be quicker than trying to hop for weeks and weeks until your body got used to it. (I'm no biology expert!)
  • + 1
 You could just ride if you wanted to be fitter but it might not make you a stronger biker. The way it works is that the human body is a "lazy" machine. It's naturally built toward survival which means it will adapt to anything you throw at it but just enough to be able to do it, or else it requires too much energy for no reason. In real life it means that if you always ride your bike on a flat road for 10 miles your body will adapt to it and the last few miles will always be a little harsh. Now if you start riding 10 miles everyday on a very steep road, the next time you'll do 10 miles on a flat road it will be so easy you'll probably blaze through those 10 miles without a sweat. That's why most athletes will try to complement their sport training with gym training. You can raise the resistance by adding weight, making you stronger/faster or more explosive/enduring so everything becomes easier when you do a lesser effort.
  • + 1
 Yes, you can use tree if you don't want to spend money. I don't go to gym, I have tools at home. But these videos are meant to show how to improve yourself. And this is good.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 hyhy maybeBig Grin that man is an amateur maybe never been in army,pumping on the first two knuckles not like he showing Smile
[Reply]
  • + 2
 This guy needs a mic hooked up to him, I cant here shit all.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 damn son, this whole time I've been arching my back on my prone jackknives.
  • + 1
 someone loves back problems. This guy has one thing going for him and that's his teckers. unbelievable Romanian teckers. F**k that RDL shortenend bull its like trying to make it unique.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Right on man. Thanks for the pointers!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 what's that? seems that Osama took that training...
[Reply]

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