James Wilson's Workout of the Month - November

Nov 11, 2017
by James Wilson  
A lot of people wonder where I get the motivation to workout. Usually they are looking for something to make them want to workout because, let’s face it, working out isn’t always fun and easy. To help offset this most of us look for some sort of motivation to drive us. Kind of like Rocky waking up every morning to face Apollo Creed, this kind of motivation burns like a fire inside someone, driving them forward at all costs.

So people are usually pretty surprised when I tell them that I’m not motivated to workout anymore. While I’ve tasted and used motivation to help drive my training, I’ve also found that it is unsustainable over the long run.

What I rely on instead is discipline, not motivation.

To explain the difference, let me ask you a question…

Are you motivated to brush your teeth every morning? I mean, is there a fire inside you that drives you to the sink twice a day, 365 days a year, every day of your life? For the vast majority of people reading this, the answer is “no”. But they do it anyway because it is just what they do as part of their routine.

In other words, they are disciplined about it, building and maintaining a habit.

Which is exactly how I look at working out. Just like I don’t want to suffer from bad breath and rotting teeth from not being disciplined about taking care of them, I don’t want to suffer from a loss of performance and increased risk of injury from not taking care of my body.

Being disciplined and building a habit is your goal, not “finding your motivation”. Which means that there no secret other than putting in the work and being consistent.

And the perfect time to start is now with this month’s Group Coaching Workout.


The goal of this month’s workout is to continue with the transition between the end of the riding season and the Off Season. To accomplish this we’re continuing with the Bodyweight Training theme in this month’s workout. You’ll see that the movements have progressed, the goal of which is to put your body at a mechanical disadvantage to force it to improve its core strength and ability to act as a unit.

And the best part is that you aren’t loading your joints with weight, which can add a bunch of wear and tear on top of grind they already go through riding your bike. Plus you can do it at home, making it convenient to fit into your schedule. Below you'll find the first workout in the program. You can download the entire workout, complete with video demos of the warm-up, workout and decompression flow, by clicking the link below:

Workout A

Crawling & Ground Skills Circuit

A1 - Marching Bear Crawls (2 X 5-10 reps each side)

A2 - Sit Out (2 X 5-10 reps each side)

Support & Hinging Circuit

B1 - Pike Rocks (2 X 3-10 reps)

B2 - Marching Glute Bridge (2 X 5-20 reps each side)

Pull & Squat Circuit

C1 - Scap Pull Ups (2 X 3-10 reps with 3 second hold at each position)

C2 - Lateral Lunge (2 X 5-15 reps each side)

Bodyweight Cardio Circuit #3

10 Forward Bear Crawls + 10 Seal Jacks + 10 Backward Bear Crawls + 10 Marches X 5-10 rounds

You can also sign up to get these workouts emails directly to you plus more training tips and other stuff to help your riding by clicking the link below:

If you find some of the exercises in this month’s workout to be a little tough then you can start with last month’s workout.

Balancing the time and energy demands of riding your bike with doing some strength and mobility training isn’t easy but it will pay off later. Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions for the monthly workouts.

Until next time…

Ride Strong,

James Wilson
MTB Strength Training Systems

James Wilson is the owner of MTB Strength Training Systems and has been helping riders improve their fitness and skills since 2005. As the strength and conditioning coach for World Cup Teams and 4 National Championships his unique approach has been proven at the highest levels. He has also helped thousands of riders around the world through his blog, podcast and online training programs.

You can find out more at www.bikejames.com where you can also sign up for the free 30 Day MTB Skills and Fitness Program to get started on the way to riding with more power, endurance and confidence today.

Author Info:
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Member since Feb 3, 2009
59 articles

  • 15 1
 Building trails builds muscles, plus you also get trails
  • 2 0
  • 15 3
 I've never heard of this off season you talk about
  • 5 2
 Exactly. I ride less during winter but I'm still out there. Why stop? ha
  • 1 0
 @COnovicerider: Lucky bastards, all of you!
  • 3 0
 @SG-Mtn: Plus there are fat bikes. Smile
  • 19 14
 These are some good exercises, I’ve been playing with stuff like that a lot this year and while it looks silly and low intensity I recommend everyone to try it with proper form. Stuff like scap pull up, when done slowly with focus on form and engaging muscles I dare amost people to try to do 10 reps. Same with push ups. I got onto webiste called thenx.com at the time when I could do 50 push ups. So I saw their instructional video for a proper classic push up. I did 15. Barely. Then you can get yourself a weight vest and some of these become really hard and make for a rather intense work out. Sure deadlifts and bench press are the sht, but if you do just that, it won’t give you much for your riding, other than you will get rid of your lower back pain and arm pump, your static posture on the bike will improve. Then there is this new school if wobbly exercises on balance balls. It’s attractive because it’s different. But here again, what does it do for your riding?

But putting your body in awkward positions like it happens on the bike, getting in touch with all the muscle groups without much added weight that will transform the way you move on and off the bike. Brace the right muscles, test exercises slowly, then explosively, with and without added weight, that’s what forges an athletic body. It takes time, insight and patience and that’s much harder to do than just adding weight to the bar or increasing reps.
  • 3 2
 agreed. it's very difficult and takes considerable discipline and mental energy to get into this kind of technical workout, but it does indeed work well for riding and well, living.
  • 6 0
 Nice, I would like to see more of James Wilson's wisdom on pinkbike
  • 1 0
 He has tons of videos on here. Click his name.
  • 2 2
 This motivated me to have more discipline and less motivation Big Grin

Being serious - I am looking forward to trying those scap pullups and always appreciate your helpful content!
  • 4 6
 you can combine them with pulling up knees. One scap pull up - one knee pull up - alternately. You can progress it to full pull up and toes touching the bar. My dream is muscle up alternated with inverted deadlift.
  • 7 6
 i have his full mtb workout, best thing i ever did. pound for pound I am stronger and fitter than most guys i work with.
  • 2 0
 Somebody’s been listening/reading Jocko Willink!
  • 2 1
 Well we all know what Louis CK’s workout of the month is.
  • 3 2
 Not quite as exciting as Abi.
  • 7 7
 I still get down on p90x. Literally no better home workouts available.
  • 9 10
 All you fat slobs downvoting me from behind your screen while eating Reese's in your underwear... GTFO
  • 4 1
 @otto99: Look no further than athleanx by Jeff Cavaliere on YouTube... The man is an encyclopedia... NY Mets strength /conditioning coach plus physiotherapist.. No better knowledge available! Try his sore in 6 minutes if your lacking time... Insane.
  • 1 0
 @bohns1: thanks, I'll check him out.

I usually prefer a full 45 - 60 minute workout. I've always heard from those I respected that of you can't get it done in that amount of time you're not doing it right.

I'm a big fan of interval training too.
Lots of recent studies saying short intense burts for 20-30 min can be as effective or even better than a 60 min workout.
  • 1 0
 @otto99: Exactly... I usually do roughly the same... But on days that there just isn't the kind of time I need Jeff's sore in 6 is pretty amazing... I did his 7 min abs and couldn't laugh or bend for three days... This coming from me usually doing 20 min on abs... He's just got so many ways of hitting all the muscles.. Fast and slow twitch.. I've attained a entirely new realm of motivation from this guy... You won't be disappointed!
  • 3 4
 you know what's good training for mtn biking? hockey. play hockey. that'll get your ass in shape.
  • 1 0
 Calves of steel
  • 5 6
 No dirty sexual harassment comments this time??
  • 7 2
 Too early. They will be here…
  • 6 8
 He's not got the same allure as Abi (for me anyway).
  • 2 0
 we are not hollywood pal
  • 5 7
 Abi looks good in short hair too.
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