Video: Adam Brayton's Coach Argues that "Multimodal" Training is Better than Cardio

Jun 18, 2019
by Jonny Thompson  
Views: 6,543    Faves: 44    Comments: 2


It pains me to hear of the time and effort riders are putting in to improve their cardio whilst missing some crucial elements of training that can be incorporated easily.

In this video, we explore a different way - multimodal training - to increase your cardio but at the same time increase bike-ability in more areas such as strength and agility.

The workout is simple and requires a rowing machine and kettlebell or dumbbell. Don't worry if you don't have a rowing machine, any cardio piece will do (running, static bike, etc) but we love the added benefit of the rower so use one if you can. The workout looks like this:

15 rounds as quickly as possible:
250m row
12 jumping lunges with a twist (6 each leg)
12 Push-ups

The purpose of this workout is to stay in a steady state of effort with minimal rest between movements. This will be as effective as going for a 5k run for increasing your cardio but with all the added benefits of multiple movements.

Safety note: Please take it easy if this is your first time trying this type of workout. Warm up well and stay within your limits. The movements are not very technical or heavy so there is a minimal risk however if you feel any compromise in positions please stop.

I hope you enjoy this workout!

Jonny


123 Comments

  • + 68
 I didn't see even one beer break in there. I'll be looking elsewhere thank you.
  • - 3
 Check out Barbell Brew - you're welcome
  • + 11
 He said the pros did this workout with a 12kg weight. . . no one is stopping you from doing it with a 12oz in your hand. . .
  • + 2
 I know right.. my routine consists of a few reps of half liters. Maybe even get some biking in too.
  • + 0
 And you still have got to the gym
  • + 15
 One question about twisting lunges. A couple of online coaches/ influencers like Jeff Cavaliere claim that adding twisting motion to movements where spine is in compromised position (like 3point row or just twisting with bar on the back, doing deadlift misaligned to one side) pose risk of herniating a disc. Is there a simple answer or is it “nuanced”?
  • + 5
 Interested to know about this too...
  • + 3
 The twist depends on each persons flexibility mobility through the spine, only a one2one with a good trainer could assess if a movement is suited to you. Cookie cutter training will always leave a issue for some.
  • + 1
 @enduroFactory: just wondering! And yes off course 1on1 FTW.
  • + 0
 There are dudes pulling insane weight on the Jefferson deadlift, which includes some twisting. I like it just because everyone wonders wtf I'm doing.
  • + 1
 @brodoyouevenbike: I saw that too. Dunno, compression+twist is often mentioned as something to be weary of when deadlifting with mixed grip as bar is likely to rotate if you are not mindful of it. Just saying.
  • + 21
 Injuries for me..... Throw myself down multiple double diamond runs and huck 10ft to flat.... no problem. Step off kerb - break ankle, Sleep 'funny' - Week of back spasms and can't move neck.
  • + 2
 @enduroFactory: yed they must advice people to warm up hips and lower back to have full range of mouvement and abdomen ready to stiff up properly
  • + 1
 Probably depends on so many factor, the load, the athlete's ability etc.
  • + 10
 We avoid twisting under large loads on all occasions, it simply isn't worth the risk. 12kg kettlebells in this case were safe and the degree of rotation differed between the riders depending on their mobility. If you have doubts over your own mobility/safety, don't put the twist in and the workout will still remain very effective.
  • + 1
 @fit4racing: thumbs up!
  • + 1
 @fit4racing: How do you feel about pistol squats?
  • + 1
 @brodoyouevenbike: Love/hate them. If you can perform a pistol squat well then good on you, it demonstrates a good degree of mobility, strength and balance. We sometimes add them to the program but with many scaling options.
  • + 0
 @fit4racing: if done with TRX, they work. But jumping split lunges are hard to beat.
  • + 1
 From what I’ve studied the risk of injury increases relative to the overall load of the movement as well as the mobility and overall strength of the athlete. For example a strong, mobile athlete may still be at risk of an injury doing a loaded (load may be a weight vest, kettlebell etc.) jumping lunge with a twist the same as if a weaker less mobile athlete performs the movement unloaded. Simply put, if a person is pushing the boundaries of their strength and mobility simultaneously, it’s probably best to not perform that movement.
  • + 10
 Yup all this makes sense. I did this kind of training for years. Must say...I switched to yoga 9 months ago....power yoga mostly. I'm stronger and more mobile than ever, old injuries have disappeared and I'm crushing strava PRs. Something to look into if youre not 20 and in your prime IMO
  • + 4
 What's a good resource for "power yoga" workouts?
  • + 2
 @Gat0rvean: not sure for online resources. Maybe someone here has ideas. I found a local studio here...my advice is avoid the hippie dippie places and find places where good looking women in lulu lemon frequent (vein I know but that seems to be the measure). CorePower yoga is a national chain that’s a good place to start if you live in a bigger town.

I’m hooked man...and down 10 pounds from when I was doing CrossFit. Sure it’s muscle mass loss but I lost the bulk that IMO was holding me back and I thought I was doomed to have now that I’m mid 30s. I’m lean and feel super strong. Highly recommend it. Yoga is not just stretching....shit is intense. Oh yea and the lulu lemon pants are a bonus!
  • + 5
 @MikeyMT: I spit my milk because of the subversive misspelling in your second sentence.

Vein...yep. I bet. Big Grin
  • + 3
 also....WTF is up with Lululemon? It's like Eddie Bauer with a kick to the scrotum/wallet.
  • + 1
 @bizutch: lol. Freud would be proud!
  • + 0
 @bizutch: like what’s up with attractive women wearing fancy yoga pants...? Not sure but I’m not complaining! (The men’s stuff is great too)
  • + 7
 @MikeyMT: cause a thong would show all their imperfections & make you think their butt looked like 2 pieces of wet bread. Which...it does....but they want to trick you into thinking it's rock hard.

Those pants are like the sealed bag your favorite cereal is in & you trying to open the bag without scissors. 60/40 chance that stuff goes flying everywhere if you tear into em.
  • + 1
 @bizutch: lmfao!!!! Response of the month!
  • + 1
 @bizutch: lol....I guess Ive had a different experience.
  • + 5
 It is insane how much people on here eat up this gym based training bs. There is nothing wrong with some some gym training but for an amateur bike rider nothing is going to make you faster than simply riding your damn bike more. Need better cardio? Get a road bike, find some hills and climb, and actually push yourself. Or do it on a mtn bike, it just takes less time and you can target zones easier on the road. Best part is you will also be strengthening the muscles you use to ride your bike. Sure there are lots of supplemental things you can do in a gym to complement the base fitness you get from riding but 99% of amateurs don't need that at the level they are performing.
  • + 5
 The conflicting info that always results from any of these workout videos is a lot like the scientific studies where "broccoli is good" one week and "broccoli causes cancer" the next week. It has become nearly impossible to do the right thing. I've been doing workouts of my own mixed creation from stuff I've gleaned from Dee Tidwell, Al Kavadlo and James Wilson for the last 6 months. I've lost 20 lbs, gained muscles and have become a stronger rider. What I'm doing is working, I guess. I hope I don't get cancer.
  • + 6
 Get yourself a Battlerope and Tabata that fucker for a few rounds. Thank me later.
  • + 4
 I just wanna throat punch anyone who tries to hand me a rope and calls it a Battlerope.

"Tonight baby...for you...I'm wearing a BattleCondom!"
  • + 3
 A lot of conflicting info in these comments. Rowing is good/ rowing is bad; press ups are good/press ups are bad; twists are good/twists are bad...

Interested to know how Jonny sees this. I mean he’s obviously doing something right; these riders look mean.

How would one apply this sort of workout in a weekend warrior, 9-5 job kind of way? I can get to the gym 2, maybe 3 times a week as well as a ride (if I’m lucky) so I want to be as efficient as possible.
  • + 1
 Get on his program! The weekly program assumes 2 days at the gym minimum (but he sends you stuff for up to 4 days) and 2 days in the saddle. I have been doing 2 days at the gym and 2 on the bike for the last 6 months and have seen massive improvements.
  • + 1
 @metareal: £45 a month for advice? I can pay for an actual gym membership for that. If I could actually go to him gym it'd be worth it; but I can't afford that. I'm sure it works but man thats expensive.
  • + 1
 He lays out different options in the program info when you first sign up, with various options depending on how many days you ride vs gym. It was a fun program but I had to bail due to a bike injury about a month in and an rehabbing a shoulder currently.
  • + 3
 @briceps: Yeah i'm sure its a great program - but putting a gym membership on top of paying for the program - for most people thats not financially sustainable. Riding is expensive enough as it is without adding £90 worth of monthly training fees to it. Most people who ride once or twice a week, and who work full time, will want an easy workout that keeps them fit and healthy whilst improving their bike performance.

I'd say, for someone like me who is of average fitness, carrying a bit of weight and wants to get fitter - i'd half(ish) everything in the above video (so 7 rounds/150m row/6 lunges/6 pushups) and go from there. you know?
  • + 2
 Thanks for the replies already on this one, I figured I could add something also...
One of our biggest principals is that this training is effective for people who can make it to the gym only twice a week for around an hour, this doesn't seem a lot but most riders with jobs and families struggle to get to the gym let alone out for a ride. That's why we program 2 "essential" days with an additional 2 optional days so you can make the most of the time you do get to train.
For some, it is actually impossible to ride through the week and turn to gym based training before/after work or even lunchtimes, so why wouldn't you make the absolute most of the time you do have instead of muddling something together in the hope it will help.
I hope this helps explain our ethos on training time.
  • + 1
 @fit4racing: With respect, I wasn’t questioning your ethos on training time; I was questioning how the average working MTBer can afford a gym membership as well as the cost of your training program.

Having said that - I also believe that your program isn’t for the average MTBer; it’s for professional athletes. That’s what your YouTube channel is for and I for one appreciate the free advice you give out on there.

It’d be great to see either a video series for the average person, or a more affordable programme that’s financially viable alongside the pretty extortionate gym membership prices.
  • + 1
 @colourofsound:i totally get you. It is expensive. Having used the program, I think there is room to do multiple “weekly plans” at different price points. Having said that, the amount of material prepared every week and quality of training is top notch.
  • + 1
 @colourofsound: Sorry, I replied to your first comment "How would one apply this sort of workout in a weekend warrior, 9-5 job kind of way? I can get to the gym 2, maybe 3 times a week as well as a ride (if I’m lucky) so I want to be as efficient as possible."
I beg to differ on our program being fro pro athletes only, we do train some very high profile riders yes, but the majority of riders who follow our program are average joe's (sorry for any of them reading this, perhaps if you are one of our guys you could comment and give some insight into how scalable and appropriate it is for everyone?)
Opinions on price are subjective, some people will pay more than the cost of our program for a single PT session. Our program offers massive value, this is shown by the results and positivity from our followers.
  • + 1
 @fit4racing: You’re totally right: price is subjective. Apologies if I sold you short there. I guess for me at least it’s a step too far financially, no matter how good the value is.

Having said that, if there’s the option of paying for a one off month - that’s more attractive than a subscription. Is there a minimum sign up length or can you take it month by month?
  • + 3
 Helllooooo mountain biking is the ultimate multimodal training. Climb a road for cardio. Climb trail for balance and Sprint interval training. Do a gnarly DH trail for balance training and upper body work out.
Want a Cardio work out? Ride your bike!
  • + 2
 what exactly are those said benefits of rowing. for mtb.? is rowing good for the rotator cuff? or to balance the pushups? there seem to be quite a few gravity riders who use the rower. been wondering about that...
  • + 2
 It's good cardio that doesn't fatigue the legs as much as a turbo trainer or similar. So you can stack gym cardio and riding sessions more easily as they're not both using the same movement pattern.
  • - 1
 Apart from cardio, probably not that much as it uses a muscle in a different way to the bike.

When I was a junior on the road and we were trained twice a week (we also went on trips with Phil Liggett, Stephen Roche), we never touched a rowing machine, the circuit types they talk about now for riding were common for roadies 30 years ago. My old coach is a current old guy track world champion just now too. Hated his coaching as it was difficult and never understood how much good he was doing for us. (I come from a cycling family fortunately or unfortunately, my dad is still a roadie at 77 with 1 working eye)

The way to test how good it is is try and cycle after being on a rowing machine and see how much co-ordination you have lost...
  • + 2
 I use it as cardio that does not tire my legs out, and it s good for pulling motions too (pulling on the bars for hopping etc.)
  • + 3
 For me a huge benefit of the rower, aside from the cardio aspect, was the mental side of pacing yourself. In an enduro the classic mistake is pinning it right out of the gate and gassing out 40 seconds in. When you do a 1000m or even 5000m for time row you learn to pace yourself and your times actually improve even though you feel slower.
  • + 1
 @Tmackstab: The same can be said doing a continuous effort on a spin bike.
we used to do 7,6,5,4,3,2,1 (7 mins at fatigue at the end), with 2 minute break in between efforts, then random sprints for 5 minutes afterwards on a static bike followed by the old race on the rollers with x many laps of the clock that was driven by the rollers. Doing rollers once fatigued is crazy stuff, almost being sick for a long time, you learn to dig deep when in that dark place and the coach giving you a hard time for not putting enough effort in when all you want to do is be sick. There are no places to hide on a time trial, no excuses at all.
Oh, I don't miss road training lol. We started at 5,4,3,2,1, only once properly fit do you add the 6 and 7's in.

I use the spin bike these days as its easier and in my home gym, do 10 mins warm up then 20 mins at around 80% effort then up the effort for the next 10 mins. Normally feel sick and come off beetroot and like a human shower. Last 10 mins are 30s stand for a half rest and 30s seated and hard.

BMX sprints with static hips and shoulders are another good MTB training exercise.
They will also show you which foot is dominant for power rather than just dominant for cornering.
  • + 1
 @betsie: For sure! I was doing that on the assault bike too which was torture. The thing I liked about the rower was the upper body involvement as well, assault bike also.
  • + 3
 Posterior chain and upper back, which are heavily used in fast gravity riding when your hips and legs can't do all the work
  • + 7
 Thanks for the question. We use the rower often in our training for many reasons, here are a few of them:
Pulling is often undertrained, in riders particularly, a weak posterior chain can create imbalance and over time you are more likely to pick up injuries. The rower is great to add high volume pulling to your routine and avoid using the same muscles repeatedly.
The pulling motion of the rower has a lot of crossover to control of your bike.
The rower has very accurate metrics so pacing and power can be monitored depending on the desired training effect.
The Concept 2 rower is so universal you can find one in most places in the world, meaning if you're familiar with pacing and your own metrics on a rower you can pick up on some training almost anywhere.
I could probably go on but for now I hope this helps.
  • + 3
 Quite fancy trying this, If using a bike on the turbo, what kind of duration would you go for as a substitute for the 250m row?
  • + 2
 45-60 s
  • + 3
 Great to find some inspiration and variation to add to training. God bless your for safety note. Good coach always care about safety first.
  • + 1
 Crossfitters are all’bout talking form, avoiding injury and then they do their shennenigans anyways. I have personally seen folks doing this on multiple occasions. a dudette explaining a dude a “proper form” for clean&jerk to a dude and then proceeding to completely butcher last reps of each set she was doing. As if you could learn clean&jerk 5 minutes before the session where the main focus is repsXtime. Won’t even mention what they do on the chin bar. Happy rotator cuffs, meniscus in the shoulder and all sorts of tendonisis
  • + 2
 @WAKIdesigns: I am just saying that its good that he metioned that. I know some choches should not be coaches or even teach anyone. You can find some unhealthy movements in every workout. For example I hear burpees are not that great, just keeping your pulse high. Personally I am not huge fan of doing that kind of workout. It keeps you fit and make your whole body stronger but you don't really build anything. But its nice to hear someone who is professional, learn something, implement new exercise or variation to the training plan. Try it for long period of time and then say if that really works or no. Some mtb trainers will say bench press is useless other will say its briliant.
  • + 1
 @Zeeober: and I just mean it’s good to bring it up but there’s enough folks just bringing it up, then just reading it, then repeating it and proceeding with their mischief. Check yourself before you break yourself, preferably film yourself. Mirrors suck
  • + 1
 cardio is a marketing term. seriously, look into it. there's "aerobic" and "anaerobic"
  • + 1
 “ This will be as effective as going for a 5k run for increasing your cardio.”

Yeah, uh, what does that mean?
  • + 1
 @skelldify: The point of this article was to bring to people's attention to a better way to train, some of the terminology was used so people could relate. "Cardio" is the most common terminology I hear people use for capacity in general - being out of breath through physical excursion. So to answer your question, it simply means you will increase your ability to sustain effort in the domain people commonly refer to as cardio.
  • + 1
 @trialsracer I agree, I think you could get a similar anaerobic workout with 400m or 600m repeats on a track. build capacity with anaerobic, build endurance with long aerobic runs.
  • + 1
 @skelldify: cardio vascular system. Your heart is a muscle . Your muscles need to be strained in order for that muscle ( your heart ) to become stronger . I could be wrong. Bringing your heart rate up to 90 to 150 BPM for a sustained time is a cardio work out .
I'm in my fifties . A cardio work out is the best form of heart attack prevention. Ask your doctor he will tell you the same thing.
  • + 2
 that right there is called a filibuster.
  • + 1
 I just googled that...
"A filibuster is a political procedure where one or more members of parliament or congress debate over a proposed piece of legislation so as to delay or entirely prevent a decision being made on the proposal"
It sounds kind of right for a Pinkbike article.
  • + 1
 Multi-modal, aka Functional Fitness. Good stuff. Please keep them coming!
  • + 2
 I gonna try and give this a try for the rest of the year.
  • + 2
 I'll try to try it too. More likely though I'll either fail to try or I'll try and fail.
  • + 1
 Jonny is a top bloke and his sessions are hard but totally make sense to become a better you.
  • + 1
 DUDE CANT WEAR A BALLCAP RIGHT WHY'M'I EVEN CLICKING
  • + 1
 "CrossFit" as they like to say
  • + 3
 Some elements yes, but our program is not "CrossFit". I can tell you this as I own two successful CrossFit gyms.
Fit4Racing was created to answer the need for accessible and safe strength and conditioning for riders of all levels. The CrossFit gyms I own are safe, in them we teach the importance of good movement which in turn means a very long process of athlete development around more technical movements such as Olympic Weightlifting. Is it appropriate for the average rider to spend 12-18 months learning to snatch properly? No. There are more effective ways to train to ride better.
  • + 0
 From a theoretical perspective, it's essentially the same. However, I do agree that applying the concept to riding and racing is effective
  • + 2
 Nahhh!
  • + 1
 is this appliccable for enduroo also?
  • + 8
 Only if you purchase the ENDURO Boost'er ™ supplements
  • + 1
 Yes, this workout is appropriate for all bike disciplines to improve handling as well as capacity. It would form part of a more complex program but if you were to consider going for a 5k run or this, choose this every time.
  • + 2
 Must try this sometime.
  • + 2
 Thumbs up
  • + 1
 Tried it, nearly died, loved it though. xD
  • + 0
 "Multimodal"... you mean functional fitness.
  • + 0
 So basically adam brayton goes to orange theory
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