Video: Kate Courtney's World Cup and World Championship Winning Training Routine

Jul 2, 2019
by SCOTT Sports  

bigquotesI think hard work is one of the most important factors in making progress … that is always something I have taken pride in, really being willing to do whatever it takes.Kate Courtney

No train, no gain

What does it take to be a World Champion? In episode 2 of Rising we follow Kate Courtney behind the race tape to learn what it takes to be the fastest mountain bike racer in the world.

Strength training

Competition at the top of elite mountain biking takes more than long days on the bike. It’s about training that makes you ready to endure and perform under any circumstance come race day. This means designing a program that is dynamic putting you in new situation that challenge your mind and your body.

bigquotesI work with a strength coach and we work together to design a program that really specific and really about getting me into many different situations, so I have better situational awareness, coordination, strength and can perform under any circumstances.Kate Courtney

Kate's training routine

Typically, Kate rides every day and spend 2-3 days per week in the gym. Her rides often involve a series of intervals and are done on the mountain or road bike while her double days usually involve slightly shorter rides. She rides anywhere from 15-25 hours a week and spends roughly 3-6 hours in the gym. Outside of this, She spends training time doing yoga, stretching and focusing on recovery. You can only train as hard as you can recover!

For those just starting out, Kate's biggest advice is to just spend more time on the bike and to identify specific skills you’d like to the work on during your time out on the trail. While you can get increasingly specific with intervals, time in the gym, etc - the most valuable thing you can do as a beginner or intermediate rider looking to improve is to put in more hours on the bike.

Outside of the added volume, she highly recommends working on functional core (not just planking!) and making sure to have a good stretching/recovery routine. A lot of the work that she does in the gym and for recovery are for injury prevention and to help her stay strong and healthy while pushing her body over a long period of time.

People underestimate recovery! Kate approaches her recovery as seriously as her training and she thinks it makes a huge difference. If you can recover between sessions, you are able to push much harder overall and have a much higher chance of avoiding illness and injury.


Mental strength, while perhaps the most important tool of all, it is undoubtably also the most challenging to master. Yoga and meditation are important piece of the training puzzle that allow Kate to keep her mind clear and focused come race day.

bigquotesAt the very top of the sport, physically, people are separated by small percentages. Being able to have your head on straight on race day and have a really clear plan and make good decisions can make a big difference.Kate Courtney

Road and trail

Riding on the road with her Contessa Spark RC 900 or SCOTT Foil allows Kate to train consistently using intervals to maximize output and efficiency. This gives her the power she needs to put down the pedals on a technical root section or sprint to the finish line for the win.

1 Courtney Kate Scott-SRAM USA


Race day. This is what it all comes down to. Part of the battle is putting in the work, the second part is trusting that what you’ve done is enough, that you’re ready. While Kate’s hard work, dedication, and determination is no question, it isn’t until race day that the true test is taken. Winning the first two World Cups of 2019 proved that Kate is a force to reckoned with.

bigquotesI think that real confidence comes from experience and all of those experiences go into my little confidence bank when I line up. No matter what, I can achieve something great today whether that’s finishing after a bad mechanical or making up places in a race where I didn’t think I’d finish well. I think those types of moments are always personal wins because they reflect the hard work and that’s the goal on race day.Kate Courtney

1 Courtney Kate Scott-SRAM USA

Video: Rained Upon Media
Photos: Rained Upon Media, EGO-Promotion


  • + 33
 This is what separates plebs from the pros. Skills are one thing, but that dedication to keeping your body in top shape is what weeds out everyone else.
  • + 20
 Round is a shape Razz

Seriously though, just look at others like Nino who also train hard. It really does help.
  • + 3
 'Not just planking!' totally guilty.
  • + 2
 My first thought upon seeing her efforts was "I'm happy to be a weekend warrior." You're exactly right, natural talent combined with incredible amounts of focus and work are indeed what separates us from them. Same sport, different worlds...And, you're awesome, Kate!
  • + 4
 Yes but also genetics. There are some folks that no mater how hard they train will not make it to the pro ranks.
  • - 1
 @edreyes: I beg to differ. Luck and opportunity play much bigger roles than genetics... unless you have a serious hindrance from birth. I feel that genetics really comes into play for those who are one of the best, to those who are game changers that absolutely dominate.
  • + 4
 "Talent, it may not go that deep" - Darren Berrecloth

Dedication and even more important durability. Your body has to deal with that amount of training. I know extremely talented guys that never made it to the top. Just because the body was not able to train as much. So the less talented guy passed by with a lot of training.

And your stomach has to handle the rhyno power. Wink
  • + 13
 Rooting for you, KC, but I'll stick to gravity racing and beer.
  • + 8
 I can't even begin to wrap my head around how much fitter Kate is than me, it's like trying to understand how big the universe is.
  • + 3
 There's a shot where she's doing yoga, and you can see the definition of her thighs through yoga pants. Yoga pants are known for smoothing out defined lines, but you can make out how fit her quads are in that scene.

I imagine just being 1/10 of Kate's level of fitness is still in the upper echelon of the general population.
  • + 7
 @drpheta: If you ride a few times a week, can do a few pull upps and tutch your toes with strigth legs you care quite a bitt more fitt then the general population.

Top atleats like Kate or anyone at that level, are scary strong! Makes you realise what humans are capabel of..
  • + 2
 She'll occasionally post a picture of her head unit after big rides with the power numbers visible and they blow my mind every time. They would be an all-time good day for me, and I'm probably 20 kgs heavier than she is!
  • + 1
 @drpheta: You can tell just how hard she's been training since the end of last year. Just look at few Now & Then pictures. She's really bulked up. Especially through her quads. I don't know how much the team change has/had to do with it but she's definitely kicked her efforts into a higher gear.
  • + 1
 Ya guys ever see some of the crazy shit Peter Sagan does in his training? Lile lowering himself into a split without his hands and staying above the floor AND leaning forward without any support??

Ya world champions are fun people to watch
  • + 8
 I'm inspired! Tonight, I'm having only 11 beers instead of 12.
  • + 5
 Take note XC'rs: if you're not doing strength training you're missing out on your best self.
  • + 5
 And make sure you train your whole body. Don't get caught up in the whole idea of "sport specific" training, thinking you need to do certain exercises in the gym to mimic specific movements you will need on the trail. Most of that is complete nonsense. The only real sport specific training is going out and performing that sport/skill. When you are in the gym focus on building over strength in your entire body, then worry about biking when you are on the bike.
  • + 6
 @sino428: I wouldn't say it's complete nonsense. I think trying to create an emulator for riding in the gym is a bit silly but building strength training for the specific strength you need in a sport seems logical. For example I've had three goals this year in the gym a) to build more dynamic core muscles, b) to be better able to generate power through the thighs, glutes and hips and c) to better brace impacts through my arms and shoulders and have built routines that just focus on movements and muscle groups relevant to these. I think it has helped out a lot and improved my riding. So I'm not trying to mimic the trail but rather just thinking of muscle groups that I need on the trail and building those specifically- mixed in with general cross training and movement.
  • + 3
 @snl1200: I think we are really in the sane page. You focused on core, thighs/gluten/hips, and your upper body with shoulders and arms. You essentially did focus on your whole body, which is what I was saying.
  • + 1
 @sino428: Kinda- and I do for sure agree that overall fitness and wellness in the end is often more important. But I think from that base really building the strength in sport specific movements is a good idea.I do work a lot of the body, as biking requires a lot of the body, but try to focus on specific movements and not just general strength. But I'm still fairly new to the gym as came from a "if I want to get better at riding I should just ride" mindset that abruptly shifted last year when I had to have my foot screwed back together and physio telling my that at my age (39) I need to do more strength training or my risk of injury was going to go up. Glad they did- has added a whole lot to my riding.
  • + 5
 I truly haven't been so enamored by a female racer in many years! This girl hits so many check boxes for me.
  • + 5
 The entire elite field of XC female racers look like super models too me, too bad we aren't supposed to talk about that. . . despite what their instagram accounts might infer.
  • - 7
flag Phillyenduro (Jul 2, 2019 at 19:14) (Below Threshold)
 You sad little men. Comments like this are all you have.
  • + 2
 A very impressive young lady.
Very good video on training as well.

I ride a lot and lift weights a lot, but am guilty of not including a lot of other agility and power moves. Especially as try to stay on my game into my 50's I know it would do me a lot of good to stay "quick" and agile, and there was some great ideas showcased here. I'd be very curious to actually see some of these athletes bicycle training regimens in detail as well.
  • + 3
 Hard work and training is a must but genetics play a big role at that level. Some could train just as hard and never achieve those levels.
  • + 2
 That's true...The guy finishing in 50th is doing the same training volume and intensity as those on the podium, the difference is specificity of that training that's optimized to their superior genetics. Unfortunately genetics are still a somewhat taboo subject for PC reasons ("you can do anything if you..."). Genetic doping is the future, and some day a rider's true potential may be revealed merely by computer mapping. One DNA swab and a team/dev program will know whether to invest in a young racer or not. Would you want to know your potential before even trying? It's actually quite depressing that sports science is leading us all down to test tube rats.
  • + 2
 "even napping is training", I train every afternoon at work then!
  • + 3
 Uh, flipping that 25#'r like it's an omelette...consider me crushed.
  • + 2
 4:16 Is that a shot of single track in Marin with a bike on it?! I thought that just didn't exist.
  • + 1
 Another athlete that has used all the opportunities available to them and just crushes it.
  • + 1
 At 1:45, she flips a plate of at least 25lbs one-handed while standing on something not meant to be standing on. Wow!
  • + 1
 Nice work Kate! Stoked on all of your hard work and accomplishments. High-fives from Oz Trails in the Heartland of America.
  • + 1
 I'm off to buy rubber bands...
  • + 2
 This chick is on fire.
  • + 1
 You are awesome, stay focused and keep spinning! 3
  • + 2
 ya'll like ridin' hills?
  • + 1
 I always wondered what that ball on a rope was for in the gym..
  • + 12
 Hitting people in Yoga class with it to check how well they hold their posture.
  • + 2
 yea I was 23 once too
  • + 2
  • + 0
 Beautiful Wink
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