Downhill Training

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Posted: Sep 24, 2007 at 3:03 Quote
Hey everyone,

I am just wondering what other fitness/strength training you do for downhill. It doesn't have to be on the bike.

Thanks a lot as this will not just help myself but other people as well. Smile

Posted: Sep 24, 2007 at 3:39 Quote
Squats. Load up a barbell and squat deep. It'll build your lower back, quads and hamstrings (in other words your thighs) and strengthen your knees and groin/ass muscles. It'll also make you more flexible as well as stronger. Just make sure you are shown how to do it with good form or do a lot reading/watching you-tube vids on the subject or you'll bugger your back/knees. Other than that, weights generally and any cardio (running, swimming, xc, road biking) will help - but of course the best training is d.h riding itself. There's no substitute for that.

Posted: Sep 24, 2007 at 14:34 Quote
Another thing that helps is to practice maintaining speed on your DH bike. By this I mean peddaling it. Don't aim for endurance, try to build a strong sprint with this exersize.

Take it out on flat ground, or even a slight uphill grade. Try and push it as fast as you can and maintain it as long as possible. I don't use a cycling computer, so I'm not sure of any of the exact numbers (although that wouldn't be a bad idea)

The grand scheme this exersize is that you do this repeatedly, and continue trying go faster and for a longer ammount of time. Go beyond your comfort level, crank it out as hard as you can, take a breather, do it again. Great way to add some horsepower to your bike's motor.


I'm trying to explain this at 1:00 am. Hopefully it all makes sense.

Posted: Sep 24, 2007 at 21:12 Quote
WerewolfDH wrote:
Another thing that helps is to practice maintaining speed on your DH bike. By this I mean peddaling it. Don't aim for endurance, try to build a strong sprint with this exersize.

Take it out on flat ground, or even a slight uphill grade. Try and push it as fast as you can and maintain it as long as possible. I don't use a cycling computer, so I'm not sure of any of the exact numbers (although that wouldn't be a bad idea)

The grand scheme this exersize is that you do this repeatedly, and continue trying go faster and for a longer ammount of time. Go beyond your comfort level, crank it out as hard as you can, take a breather, do it again. Great way to add some horsepower to your bike's motor.


I'm trying to explain this at 1:00 am. Hopefully it all makes sense.

You're trying to explain an interval workout and they are sick. There are two ways to do it in my experience really. Pick an rpm and ride for 30 seconds up a hill at that rpm and then ride for 30 seconds at that rpm on flat.

Or pick an rpm, probably something like 40 rpm or so,do that for 30 seconds. Then sprint and try to keep the rpm above a certain number for another 30 seconds. Probably something like 90 rpm or so.

Then you can add pyramids, usually to the second one. Sprint 15 seconds on 15 seconds off, then 30 on 30 off, 45 on 45 off, 60 on 60 off. On is high tension, off is low tension. High tension can be either higher resistance, via a hill or gearing, or higher rpms. Low tension, is either flat, low resistance or lower rpms.


I kind of rambled there, but hopefully you guys get the idea with that.

Posted: Sep 25, 2007 at 0:44 Quote
Thanks for your contribution. This should people other than myself. =)

Posted: Oct 3, 2007 at 17:55 Quote
As much biking as possible. I know for many downhillers road biking may seem gay, but I know plenty of pros on my team who cross train and ride road and on their trainers at home. Builds up endurance, sprinting speed, and you can wear lovely spandex. If your not into that go for some XC rides.

Posted: Oct 12, 2007 at 21:11 Quote
endurance and cardio are huge aspects of a succseful racers work out that are often over looked. you can be the strongest guy in the world, but if your sucking wind hard half way through your run your not gonna win. the thing with cardio and endurance is that its hard work, you have to push through the pain and discomfort. i was ounce told that the most succesful athletes are the ones that know how to suffer the best.

Posted: Oct 16, 2007 at 13:33 Quote
dbalaux wrote:
endurance and cardio are huge aspects of a succseful racers work out that are often over looked. you can be the strongest guy in the world, but if your sucking wind hard half way through your run your not gonna win. the thing with cardio and endurance is that its hard work, you have to push through the pain and discomfort. i was ounce told that the most succesful athletes are the ones that know how to suffer the best.

Definately true. Cardio will always rule all bike sports. How much strength do you need to handle something under 50 pounds, it's pussy weight.

However on DH world cup courses like mount st anne and fort william it has been shown that the stronger riders have an advantage. When trying to ride as fast as possible over huge roots and rocks - having broad shoulders, a thick neck and forearms with a sturdy pair of legs is a big bonus point.

Posted: Nov 25, 2007 at 14:36 Quote
The better cardio you have the more you will be able to padal and keep concentration and for longer you will be able to practise with good quality and more often.

The stronger you are the better position you will be able to keep after hard hits, and you will get into a good position quicker after hard hits too, you will get less injuries and will be able to take a crash better.

They do strength training in much more endurance demanding sports like soccer, hockey and nordic skiing so why wouldn't downhillers need to?

Cardio training is absolutly vital to be a good downhillracer!

Steve Peat may seem to not care to much about physical training with a beer always in his hand in front of a camera, but I know he does ALOT of cardio training to be able to pedal as much as he does! (Which they talk about in the "Fundamentals" vid too)

Posted: Nov 26, 2007 at 23:07 Quote
I agree--building up your base strength levels with squats/weights is important so that you don't have to start the race season feeling like your legs are going to give out half way down the course. Spending time on the bike is also key so those pedalling muscles don't disappear... I'm starting to do spinning classes a couple times a week to build both power and aerobic fitness (as well as riding as much as I can).
I think something that is often overlooked is strengthening your core--helps sooo much with your balance and proper body positioning on your bike... things you don't really think of but that can make a huge difference in your riding. If you go to the gym and do weights there, try doing them on the Swiss ball to work both core and the muscles your targeting at the same time.
Whatever you do, try to mix it up every few weeks to make sure your engaging all your muscles instead of a select few... and to keep it interesting and more fun!

Posted: Nov 27, 2007 at 0:22 Quote
Thanks a lot for all the tips guys. It helps alot.

Kep them coming Smile

Posted: Nov 27, 2007 at 0:47 Quote
Flexibility is also extremely important. It helps you move and react better to the bike as well as prevent injuries when you crash. I guess I should take my own advice.Redface

Posted: Nov 27, 2007 at 8:19 Quote
Swimming is the best way to get fitter for dh. Do plenty of stretches too.

Posted: Nov 27, 2007 at 8:35 Quote
olynch wrote:
Swimming is the best way to get fitter for dh. Do plenty of stretches too.

I'm not too sure about that. Swimming is a great way of keeping fit but even proffesional swimmers absolutely have to cross-train with weights and so-forth because water can only offer a certain amount of resistance and is limited in the strength it can build. Also it doesnt work the legs half as much as other forms of training. I think saying it's the "best" way is a bit of an exaggeration.

I think the guy a few posts back who added stuff about core training was bang-on. In all sports the core is hugely important because it is how power is transfered from one end of the body to the other. And of course with DH the legs and arms both play huge roles in controlling and powering the bike. Working the abs and lower-back is a very good idea.

You could have huge legs and a huge upper body, but if you have a weak core, you wont be able to use the power effectively. That's why it's better to train your body as a unit because that's how it's mostly used. Squats and deadlifts are great core exercises. And I've heard (as the guy before mentioned) that using a stability ball is good for people who do sports like MTB because it simulates the atlering/moving ground and works your stability muscles, but personally, I wouldnt been seen dead with one because I'm too scared of looking like a pussy!

Posted: Nov 27, 2007 at 14:49 Quote
Now that the winter is coming, I have stored my bikes indoor and they probably won't come out till spring. I am hoping to start some DH next race season. I was thinking about getting an exercise bike. Anyone know some main things in looking at when buying one? I was thinking spending around $350-$450. Is that too much/too little to pay? Thanks.

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