Video: Building Strength with Dee Tidwell - Off Season Training #2

Mar 12, 2019
by Enduro MTB Training  
Views: 5,025    Faves: 30    Comments: 0

Views: 2,378    Faves: 29    Comments: 0

Last month we began to lay a foundation of muscle so this month we can start building strength into your training program. Strength comes in many shapes and sizes. Every sport requires different aspects of “strength” depending on its unique requirements.

As mountain bikers, our strength needs to be not necessarily applied to ‘how much weight can I lift in the gym” but rather being able to rely on what I call “strength endurance,” or the ability to withstand external bike and terrain forces for long periods of time.

So this month’s workout was created to help you get stronger, period. It is done in a superset format. I use this technique of loading to create a cardio response that should be similar to a zone two to three heart rate effort. The cool part is you are placing your system under load in a heavier cardiorespiratory environment similar to riding but under heavy load. This allows your body to adapt and be better at working hard for longer periods of time which in the end will make it more capable of handling the external/loading forces.

Make your goal to work hard in the gym and be CONSISTENT so when it comes time to ride it’ll seem like autopilot kicks in and that’s when the joy of mountain biking really shows itself.

Two supersets (1 & 2) of three exercises each. This is the strength building workout.

Use these variables:
**90-100% of your estimated or true one rep max
**3-5 sets of each superset
**Reps- 10, 6, 4, 2, 2 – or a mix of those
**Rest- 3 mins.

Geared towards an active recovery so use this quick workout to help your body accelerate recovery.

PROGRAM B has one superset of five exercises. This is the active recovery workout:
Supine lateral ball roll- 10 REPS
Body weight squat- 15-20 REPS
Horse Stance vertical- 10 EACH
Bent over ITYW- 4-8 EACH LETTER
Push up with T-spine rotation- MAX FORM

Views: 1,428    Faves: 18    Comments: 2

Here's an example of a basic training schedule you can use:

Monday: Off
Tuesday: PROGRAM A + 30 min spin at less than 70%
Wednesday: Distance- 60-90 minutes @ 70-80% max heart rate or ride outside
Thursday: PROGRAM B + 30 min spin at Zone 3 (Hard/Aerobic Capacity , approx 80% of max heart rate) – Do 6-10 reps of 5 min effort: 1 min rest
Friday: Intervals- 15 minute warm up - Zone 4 (Very Hard/Anaerobic Capacity, approx 85% of max heart rate) – Do 4-8 reps: 2 min effort: 2 min rest
Saturday: Either ride or do PROGRAM A again, or participate in your favorite winter activity
Sunday: Same as Sat or if needed, take an extra OFF day

If you aren't working with any type of training plan, don't worry as over the next few months I will lay out a monthly training workout you can follow and use to make 2019 your best season yet. Each month I'll post a fresh workout you can use to make you better. Here's what you can expect over the next few months:

Feb/Mar – Strength
Mar/Apr – Power
Apr/May – Speed

Like with any training plan I encourage my clients to write down your progress over the next four weeks. I suggest that the fourth or fifth week be an active recovery week where you reduce the volume of the above workouts by 50%. An example would be to do half the number of sets you were working at leading up to your active rest week, which for most, will be 1.5 sets.

I'm Coach Dee, ambassador for Yeti Cycles and trainer to thousands worldwide. I'm a 50-year-old enduro racer, and just won my second overall season championship as a Masters racer in the Big Mountain Enduro series. For your off-season training needs, check out my freshly launched (and discounted!) coaching membership at

MENTIONS: @enduromtbtrainer


  • 26 1
 Q: if you're a busy father- and short on time- could you substitute donuts for pizza IF you skip the sour cream dip AND mop the oil off the slices first? Also, can you recommend any Paleo beers?
  • 7 2
 Just sit back and enjoy the parralising stroke that's about to happen. Who needs the left side of there body anyway ????
  • 4 0
 If you go with a super supreme pizza you are basically getting your fair share of protein, carbs and vegetables. Nothing wrong with that. Fully fuelled and ready to hit the trails. Here in oz we have a nice beer called Bicycle by Temple brewing company that’s great with a pizza. Also Murray’s Whale Ale is not bad
  • 1 0
 I found sticking to vegetable pizza and wheat beer to be the solution. Also, concluding long rides with a carne asada burrito is the recipe of champions. I think I heard that on the pro circuit.
  • 2 0
 @iamsuperficial: Strength training and cardio reverse most cardiac issues caused by poor diet. I never suggest a poor diet, but the strength and cardio works wonders for reversing and preventing chronic orthopedic issues as well.
  • 2 0
 @iamsuperficial: It's not a stroke, it's your four year old climbing on your back and strangling you while she does it. Don't worry, the use of your arms will come back once she gets bored and lets go. The hernia in your wallet however is untreatable.
  • 25 8
 Another trainer wayyyy over complicating it for the average rider/racer.
All you need is squats, deadlifts, push ups, pull ups, barbell rows, lunges, box jumps, Kettlebell Swings, rowing machine, bike intervals. Do those things with variance at high intensity and you will be much better off...
  • 10 5
 That's the point right? "The gym is too complicated so you need my training program."

We can make it even easier. For a 3 day gym schedule.
Every day you:
- bench
- squat
- overhead press
- row

Once a week you:
- deadlift, go easy on bench/squat on this day so you have extra time and energy for the dead lifts.

If you have extra time/energy:
- do some accessory work. This is optional. Some days you will be wrecked other days you're feeling good. Do curls, tris, face pulls, abs, back ext, etc.. Whatever you feel like doing.
  • 6 3
 Bro, your workout might make you a stronger, better rider but it's not going to make people at the gym laugh at you. That's why you pay this guy the big bucks.
  • 3 9
flag dirtvert (Mar 12, 2019 at 9:44) (Below Threshold)
 @jonnycrash: Overhead presses are almost always bad for shoulders. Ask a PT if you don't believe me.
  • 15 0
 I've been riding for the last 8 years and lifting for the last 10. As a subscriber to Enduro MTB training you have no idea how wrong you are, no offense. The stretches, warm ups, foam rolling, and exercises Dee includes in his program plus the overall structure of the program (there is a lot more than just these workouts) make it obvious Dee has designed the program and workouts to be specific to the sport of mountain biking.

I have made way more gains on my bike with Dee's program than I ever did doing your run of the mill strength workout. I have also greatly improved my flexibility, mobility (tested every 5 weeks through Dee's program) and posture, things that would have never happened if I just continued to do deadlifts, squats, and a few accessory exercises.

Yes the compound exercises you have listed are great and will get your average rider by for strength but Dee's program is so much better and still works for the average rider.

I used to think the same way as you until I realized that sport specific training like the Enduro MTB program really does makes a difference. It's Dee's job to know how the human body works when riding a bike and how to make it work better. He's pretty damn good at it.
  • 6 0
 @provin1327: I'm grateful you have experienced what you have with the program! Thank you for your hard work and testimony! Keep at it Smile
  • 11 1
 @dirtvert: overhead presses *done incorrectly* are bad for shoulders. Coming from a PT.
  • 2 1
 @jonnycrash: This is pretty spot on. These exercises combined with even a few minutes of focused intervals or some focused rides have made an immense change in not only my riding, but life.

KISS - Keep It Simple Stupid.
  • 2 0
 @dirtvert: I asked a PT, says it's almost always good for shoulders.
  • 1 0
 @provin1327: That's good, keep it up then.
My point is that there's nothing special going on here. You hit the gym, lift heavy stuff, follow a balanced program, and you're good to go.
  • 3 3
 Spot on. Some of the best advice I've been given as a coach is that there is no 'sport specific strength and conditioning' for non-lifting athletes, it's all just general physical prep. It's great as a trainer to have or know all these complicated or specific exercises in your toolbox but they shouldn't be given to everyone or shouldn't form the large part of your workout. The low hanging fruit for the large percentage of the population and mountain bikers is general strength and power. You will usually have 1-2 sessions with these athletes a week so if you spend all your time rolling, stretching, on one leg trying to replicate bike specific positions and muscular endurance, you are missing out on addressing the lowest hanging fruit which could give the greatest advantage. Most general population can't squat, hinge, press or pull to save themselves. Teach people to perform the basic movements/lifts well, progressively overload those movements and then compliment them with 1-2 specific accessory exercises to address individual weakness and that's your program. done!
  • 5 0
 @endureperformance: Agreed which is why there is a 'part one' and many of my other videos explaining just what you did. I'm providing a four part series example (for free mind you) that the ordinary rider can use to their benefit and teach them some ideas surrounding it.
  • 10 2
 Not a huge fan of the Overhead Weighted walk exercise in program B there. The shoulder is a complex joint and keeping it extended with a load like that, especially if done improperly, can result in some serious wear and tear.
  • 2 0
 Not to mention if you don't engage your glutes properly a lot of the load will be transferred to your lower back
  • 5 0
 It is a mistake for people to avoid certain lifts or exercises due to the fear of injury. Instead, learn how to do it properly before performing it weighted. If one's body does not allow proper form due to injury or mobility, then it is important on fixing that before the movement is done. Modifications should be made at least temporarily in that situation. An overhead loaded carry has a systemic strength component that is hard to get with other lifts. The neurological benefits alone can be worth it to a cyclist. Also, it doesn't take very much weight overhead for it to be effective.
  • 3 0
 @dualsuspensiondave: agreed. The point is the proper guidance to avoid injury is not often given. Also, weight lifting is an evolutionary sport that you don't just jump into advanced moves. There are many fundamental movements needing mastery and then you build on those so all of your supporting muscles and connective tissues evolve with you.
  • 7 1
 "As mountain bikers, our strength needs to be not necessarily applied to ‘how much weight can I lift in the gym” but rather being able to rely on what I call “strength endurance,” or the ability to withstand external bike and terrain forces for long periods of time."
Looks like someone doesn't know the relation between max strength and everything else. The workout looks accordingly weak. I also agree with the others: way to complicated exercises. Especially for someone who starts to train, or has little experience, a simple workout with simple exercises should be choosen.
  • 1 0
 "Last month we began to lay a foundation of muscle so this month we can start building strength into your training program. Strength comes in many shapes and sizes. Every sport requires different aspects of “strength” depending on its unique requirements." Literally the first paragraph dude. What is being shared here has assumed that the person has a 'foundation of muscle'--so not a beginner.
  • 1 0
 @mikealive: When you watch videos like this and train accordingly, you are usally a beginner in training. People who are experienced in training, already train for 2-3 years, often have a much higher knowledge about the theory, and don't take a training plan published in a youtube video to put their health at risk.
I follow a lot of coaches to see what is going on and to get new ideas. But I can put what I see in an existing structure of experience and theory.
A beginner usually can't do that and when you publish a series like this on Pinkbike, I think you should adress it to "training beginners" and keep it simple.
  • 4 2
 Thanks for the videos, these are actually good exercises. Some great for the bike exercises in there, those saying they are too complicated, wrong exercises etc. have obviously not tried them and dont really get the benefits of compound movements to compliment isolation exercises.
Isolation for base strength, compound to build on the isolation strength for dynamic bike exercises.

My comments would be....

Video 1, exercise 2, I like it, will be adding this to normal flat, incline, standing, kneeling cross overs on that machine.
Video 2, exercise 1, take the trailing leg forward and backwards at the top for a more dynamic movement
Video 2, exercise 3, I like the kettlebell press from a balance ball, pick it up from the floor with opposite arm and overhead press, that makes you work the core and shoulders in coordination and you have to get the hips back to be able to pick it up.
Video 3, pressups to side plank, love these but without the cheat pauses shown in the video Smile


You can do as much gym as you like, if you don't pack in the right amount of protein then you will not get the best results.
Around 1g protein per lb body weight.

about me... (who cares though)
I quick train 5 morning a week fasted whilst on the morning dog walk, exact same exercises as a morning base that fits in with my routine and 3 nights a week at the gym, 2 turbo sessions plus 2 nights badminton per week, not that that matters or anyone will really care to be honest, I am 44 years old and consider myself a decent enough rider, I race dh and do well in my category and do the very occasional enduro.
I dont do squats or lunges due to a ruined knee, nor dead lifts, kettle bell swings, etc.
  • 2 1
 Thanks Betsie!!
  • 1 1
 Isolation exercises are to complement compound movements, not the other way around. One should target their individual weak spots that are revealed during compound movements as they are the primary building blocks for strength, power, and endurance.
  • 2 0
 I am currently on about my 6th month working with Dee and let me tell you, it has made all the difference in my riding and my overall fitness. I used to be a heavy powerlifter, weighing in at about 225lbs (Squat - 540lb, Dead - 415lb, Bench - 245lb). Yes, I was pretty strong but it was entirely unfocused and really gave me no advantage on a bike. My balance was shit and my cardio laughable. These more basic lifts are not that advantageous unless they are coupled with precise form, supporting muscle group workouts, and supersets. I am now down to a lean yet quite strong 185. I can ride circles around my XC buddies and still lift more weight than most people 50 lbs heavier than me. That combined with "balance" workouts have made it where riding fast is no longer difficult, any quick move or save is easy and my body is completely ready for anything the trail can throw at me. If you want results you can feel immediately on the bike, hit Dee up.
  • 1 0
  • 2 0
 Thanks for the free content, i found the previous exercises you posted quite useful. Funny to see how polarizing every single Workout related article are. that's interesting to see so many workout experts in the comments but so few actually good riders out there.
  • 1 0
 Haha! Your welcome and happy to know its working for you!
  • 1 0
 You're welcome!
  • 4 0
 These are so complicated and hard to do at a gym with other people in it. I think I'll just stick to riding my bike.
  • 1 0
 Hi @enduromtbtrainer !
I really like your programs. A lot of haters in the comments (as can be expected..) But I notice my riding has already improved after following the 2 plans you have posted so far. When are you uploading the ‘power’ plan? Pretty keen on starting to work on it ????????????????
  • 1 0
 Lol sorry for al the ‘?’s... Those were some emoji’s Wink
  • 1 0
 @Lennartvds: Haha! Thanks for the props man, just trying to help riders so I'm happy it is helping you! I am working on it as we speak and hopefully will be out next week. EWS will create a submission log jamb so be patient Smile
  • 2 0
 Great stuff Dee thank you! Not sure why the comment police at PB took my comment down but whatever. Keep it coming brother your workouts are awesome!
  • 4 0
 My girlfriend is a pilates instructor. I just like saying it...
  • 3 1
 Dee - these are great! Thanks for always posting such great info — for free!
  • 2 0
 Your welcome hope they are helping!
  • 1 0
 Thanks Dee, love it!
Question: Is this the whole work out or can I combine it with my normal routine, e.g. curls, bench and so on or would it be too much?
  • 2 0
 Thank you! I'd say this can be the whole workout but if you feel you need to add exercises to address something specific you need, then by all means, just balance it well.
  • 4 1
 Tweedle Dee
  • 1 0
 Only if we all had a huge empty gym like that.
  • 1 0
 there was some magic happening at 1:49 or so
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