Training: Time to Build the Base For Next Season

Dec 14, 2016 at 14:30
Dec 14, 2016
by Dee Tidwell  
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Time to “Build the Base” For Next Season
By Dee Tidwell- Enduro MTB Training, Coach- Yeti/Fox Shox Factory Team

I love this time of year -- Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years -- all great times to be had with family and friends. But as much as they are all favorites of mine, the other is knowing that it’s time to start training for the upcoming season!

Here in Colorado, it's snowing and I like to say that every human being is similar to a snowflake; we all look the same, but each one of us is entirely unique. Keep this idea in mind when setting up your training plan for the winter. Just because your buddy does "such and such workout" doesn't mean that it may be best for you. Seek out the best fitting option for your needs and then stick to it. In fact, the best way to do that and get the uniqueness needed for your needs is to hire a coach. Hey! A Christmas gift to yourself!

Here are a few reasons why the "snowflake" approach is vital to your success on and off your bike.

The Performance Pyramid...

Performance Pyramid

Within each of the four levels of the Performance Pyramid (PP), we can identify many things including each person’s inflexibility, instability, immobility, weakness, and poor movement patterns. Since it’s the beginning of the training year, we start at the bottom of the PP, focusing on the orange section, “Rebuild/Restore.” Check out our full Pinkbike article Part One and Part Two for more insight on this section of the Performance Pyramid.

Remember, no matter the sport, you MUST become the best athlete your body has the potential to be. THEN you will be able to bring that athleticism to your sport. The better you can move on your bike, the longer you can do it, the more fun it is, the better you’ll perform, and it's more likely that you’ll enjoy riding into the latter years of your life.

Now as a coach, I agree it’s important to build cardiovascular performance, however, I also believe it’s imperative to consider how the body is functioning in order to create maximum efficiency and energy output.

So let’s dive in.

Most of us know that December is a common time to begin preparing for the upcoming season. The most common method involves base training on the bike; in other words high volume, low intensity efforts.

This is important, and we do need to spend some time doing it, BUT…

Let’s face it. Most mountain bikers have muscle flexibility, joint mobility, and stability issues due to injuries, repetitive stress (like the seated workplace), and trauma.

It’s necessary to address these issues NOW, so you can create a good “movement capability base” in order to build a solid foundation, and subsequently muscle growth, strength and power, leading into the start of your riding or racing season.

This approach is not only proven with the world’s best athletes, but every amateur rider as well.


If you saw my last Pinkbike post with the “primal movement pattern” video, you’d know that the body is innately qualified to be good at:
1. Squatting
2. Lunging
3. Bending
4. Twisting
5. Walking/Running
6. Pulling
7. Pushing

Each of these movement qualities, if properly performed, will improve on-the-bike performance including:
1- decreasing the severity of injuries
2- creating longevity in the sport
3- improved skill acquisition and expression- more steaz!
4- sustained endurance
5- better posture on and off the bike
6- quicker recovery from trauma
7- an edge over your competition or buddies

They must be created and strengthened, but the theme amongst all of these movements is the foundation of solid stability, flexibility, joint mobility and posture.

Watch the video below and do the movements daily. Then do the video from my last Pinkbike post (click here) every other day as a workout for the next three to four weeks to begin “Rebuild”ing your movement prowess and “Restore”ing its flexibility, mobility and posture. AND, while doing those two things, yes, do some cardio training as well.

Views: 5,266    Faves: 112    Comments: 4

Dee Tidwell is the coach for the Yeti/Fox Shox Factory Race Team. You can reach him with questions at or

MENTIONS: @yeticycles / @foxracingshox / @shimano / @enduromtbtrainer

Must Read This Week


  • + 105
 Sweet sat down with a beer and a bag of salt n vinegar off season in full swing here
  • + 27
 Im on the same training program and just powered down a pastrami sandwich and a coke for breakfast/lunch
  • + 17
 I use my snowboard to push snow off of the trails. I'm trying to get the Mountain ready for next season.
  • + 3
 I dont race at all so every season is off season for me
  • + 61
 Pretty helpful.... I still prefer Abi.
  • + 7
 I found it very helpful. It was just enough to get me motivated, and started on healthy biking goals next spring.
  • + 36
 What I probably should do: this.
What I'm gonna do: drink beer, ride bikes in snow, go skiing, drink beer
  • + 3
  • + 0
 damn switzerland i want to go live there so bad
  • + 3
 replace the last 'drink beer' with 'cannabis and beer' and you got off season in CO
  • + 2
 @hardyk: wanna switch?
  • + 17
 I know he means well, but it seems he is trying really hard to use medical terms and unnecessary words. Couldn't finish watching this video or one on the website. We are a bunch of mountain bikers, know your audience. In the end, I would like to punch him in the anterior midline of his proboscis.
  • + 17
 He is a professional, using specific terms that eliminating vagueness. If you take your training seriously it would benefit you to learn anatomy and basic medical terms. Read a book. Get on his level.
  • + 3
 Don't sell mountain bikers too short, I think most people who have played sport/trained for sport/been injured during sport would be familiar with most of what he is saying and he did a great job of explaining it as he went on. Really useful video that is from someone who knows the sport. Keep them coming @enduromtbtrainer !
  • + 4
 @Kickmehard: Thank you for the encouragement!
  • - 2
 @trlblaze: Get off your soapbox. I'm a medical professional. Your dad is calling you to do your chores.
  • - 1
 Oh and get a sense of humor while your at it, it was a joke.
  • + 18
 this is pretty irrelevant and off topic, but how much do you think Gwin's broken chain would cost
  • + 3
 If you're Gwin, not a cent.
  • + 15
 A World Cup title.
  • + 3
 Does beer count as food?
  • + 10
 Dee, please keep these coming. It's super helpful that you've posted these videos, and the rationale is appreciated. The movements you go over are exactly what I've been looking for,. Thank you!
  • + 9
 Thanks man, appreciate the kind words!
  • + 4
 @enduromtbtrainer: Rude and Graves are monsters. If this worked for them, no reason not to give it a try.
  • + 10
 Interesting alternative to winter if you're not into the whole winter sports thing or if winter sucks: Rock climbing, it will GREATLY improve your upper body's muscular endurance.
  • + 3
 Never been a climber unfortunately, and I can see how that type of exercise would be very helpful for bicycling, as professionals in each sport usually have a similar thin/strong build.
  • + 5
 I'm planting my ass in front of the computer with some beer and salty snacks all winter. It probably won't improve my strength or endurance but just to verify that I'm going to give it a whirl. I'll post results in the spring.
  • + 6
 Rock climbing is great for forearm fatigue but aside than that, didn't find much overlap with biking. You really don't need all that much upper body pulling endurance/strength. I find legs/abs/lower back/energy will tap out long before I can't pull with my arms anymore.
  • + 1
 Core bracing and grip strength are key!
  • + 1
 You only really need a certain amount of grip endurance. Past that point, you pretty much get zero returns for the extra grip.
  • + 4
 If you're using your arms and grip more than legs when climbing then you're doing it wrong...
  • + 2
 @PLC07: Nope. Good climbing technique is mostly legs and core, using grip and forearm strength to brace against the pushing force from your legs. That said, the harder you climb, the more you need to be able to crimp on credit card edges, but the basic technique still applies. Balance, core, and legs; all of those translate directly to mountain biking.
  • + 2
 You're supposed to use legs/core but when you start spending some serious time in negative inclines, your grip/arms will get taxed on a whole new level. I climb with guys doing 5.14+ routes and legs are pretty much never the weakest point. You just don't get strong biking related legs/cardio/core when climbing IMO, the primary benefit is grip strength.

Rock climbing is nice and all but it is far from being optimal cross training for any mtb discipline.
  • + 6
 you guys have so much free time. Just to get out on my bike is a goal. Run business, raise kids, stay in relationship, ride. in some sort of order
  • + 4
 Well wife took off with the kids, consequently less business I have to do. Offseason list. 1. Build bike 2. Ride bike. 3. tune up bike 4. Ride bike. 5. Repeat frequently!
  • + 2
 Take up road biking over winter, divorced then got a new girlfriend, hold down a 40hr week job and my own business at night Literally living the dream
  • + 1
 @redbaronmulisha: i personally would not have picked up girl friend soon after being divorced
  • + 1
 @weebleswobbles: Well it's not going to pull itself
  • + 1
 @redbaronmulisha: haha well played sir
  • + 4
 In years past I've spent the winter doing heavier sets with more rest to build up strength, which is a nice switch up, but can get a bit old. I don't always feels translates into better overall fitness, either cause your heart has too long to rest in between sets. Lately I've been doing workouts like this: Push ups or over head press 6-8 reps or fatigue - 30-60sec break - Pull ups to fatigue- 30-60sec break - Lunges/squats/deadlifts - 30-60 sec break and repeat. Do each like 6 or more times post warmup and in half an hour you'll be sweating your ass off and have your whole body pumped. What I like more than some routines with longer breaks is the fact that I have explosive moves every few minutes, which keeps my heart rate going up and down, just like riding on my local trails. Since starting this routine I find my climbs have benefitted, even though I'm riding less cause the weather hasn't been cooperating.

Everyone needs to lift/move weight if they want to be properly fit. Riding lots is great, but it's a very limited set of movements and can lead to serious imbalance. I only rode for a month this summer without weights and after about 4-5 days a week by body was paying the price!

Beer also tastes wicked after an hour busting your ass in the gym.
  • + 1
 Fully agree with this, throw in a few suffer fest turbo training interval sessions in the early spring, go to the local bouldering climbing wall on occasion ( used to be my base sport, so steep stuff) and enure all MTB is fun times at the weekend / finding new trails. That's me.
  • + 2
 And Abi strength programme before work every day
  • + 3
 @ovadebarz: Ugh, my kids make the before work thing impossible, but it really is the best time to get it out of the way.
  • + 1

i hear you. I rise at 5:45 to make it happen. ( 4 kids full time job). get the Abi 15 min strength series off vimeo, not the mtb generic stuff. It's mint mate.
  • + 1
 @ovadebarz: Aren't your kids up with you?? Good on you man, that's dedication. I could probably make it happen...
  • + 1

give the Abi strength 15 min episodes a go, darn cheap - and pretty easy to fit into the household chaos that is the wonder of child rearing !!
  • + 2
 @ovadebarz: Thanks for the tip, sounds interesting for sure.
  • + 8
 Rebuild my beer belly and restore my alcoholism more like it!
  • + 2
 Thanks for the program Dee! It is designed for someone that races or rides pro, but I have still found a great benefit for me: it keeps me motivated to maintain (or improve upon) my level of health during the winter. I usually turn into a drinking, jolly, chubbier version of myself, but this year I'm aiming to remain fit all the while celebrating the holidays as per usual. Bring on 2017!
  • + 2
 YES @gtrout! Stoked and thankful you are on the program and crushing it!
  • + 6
 Which one is Orange again?
  • + 1
 This is one of the 'growing fewer' times that I'm thankful I'm here in California on the Central Coast. Riding season is really year-round and winter means we take a few days off while it rains, then go hit the epic dirt once it soaks it in.
  • + 3
 Next season? There is an offseason?
  • + 1
 no shit right!that offseason thing must suck.
  • + 3
 There is no off season. There is on season and fat season.
  • + 1
 What off season? This is the best time to hit uk trails,, mud, wet roots ( the tree type) slippy rocks, and frozen toes and More mud.
  • + 1
 Keep warm (Hands and feet key as core warms up) Dry if possible, light weight waterproof, keep goggles clear from dirt and fog, there really is no weather related excuse.
  • + 2
 Dee 90 day mntb program is awesome...the flexibility and pure power you gain is off the hook.
  • + 2
 Thank you! Stoked you are experiencing that!
  • + 1
 I live in so cal. Only one seasonish around here
  • + 1
 ill work my arm as I crank beer by the fire instead.
  • + 1
 Really informative videos. Thanks for making and sharing them!
  • + 1
 Hi! Where can i put yoga lessons basing on this weekly calendar? :-)
  • + 2
 Use them often, either as part of this or after a training session.
  • + 1
 Or until the snow melts.
  • + 0
 I just want to ride better,not necessarily faster
  • + 1
  • + 0
 Practice Noga.
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