If you've seen any of my prior Pinkbike videos, you know that ordinarily during this time of year, I've promoted mobility, stability and posture, but this year I’d like to tell you another story in the video. So check it out and listen to my confession as a coach and a "seasoned" enduro racing athlete, and to learn this four-exercise strength training superset you can use right now to create a “base” of strength for the 2018 riding/racing season.
What picture comes to mind?
A competitor in the World’s Strongest Man competition? A body builder? Perhaps a concrete worker or logger? (Shoot, I think of the Carpenter Ant which is capable of lifting 50x's it's body weight which is the equivalent of a human lifting a car with it's teeth!) Although each of these uniquely strong people display and execute their strength differently, each built it the same way- with repetitive heavy load over time.
Unfortunately, besides track sprinters, can you think of any other cyclists who portray strength? I mean besides "the beast," Richie Rude (who can deadlift 450lbs!), I can't think of many other examples. But why? Why does out sport neglect one of the most important markers to performance? [Ed. note: obviously Mike Levy is the pinnacle of human strength.]
Yes, It is imperative that we ride to prepare for a season, but we obviously ride mostly because we love ride!
But, like the email I answered the other day to the question, "What is the biggest mistake riders/racers make?" My answer? They simply don't spend enough time into improving how their body moves which unfortunately shows up in many forms of riding and movement dysfunction like:• Muscle Inflexibility and/or joint immobility
• Poor posture and breathing mechanics
• Balance and coordination that doesn't improve
• Difficulty in recovering during rides or after rides
• Difficulty in not getting over uphill obstacles
• Fatigue during downhill sections
So am I saying all of these dysfunctional movement related issues can improve with regular strength training? You bet your lifesavers I am!
In fact let me tell you a quick story. From 1999-2006 I was blessed enough to work with some of the best athletes in the world like Missy "The Missle" Giove, professional super cross and MX racers, pro and Olympic snowboarders, and pro golfers on the PGA Tour. During this time period gym training was frowned upon by the masses and even most of the pro athletes in each of these sports. Unbeknownst to us at the time, a handful of other coaches and I found ourselves immersed in shaping an important transition period within these sports that began to radically change the athletes and sports forever.
Quite simply, it was due to the fact that we coaches challenged the status quo and began "selling" the importance of training to these athletes. Now remember, I'm talking about professional athletes who already had tons of talent, yet were completely unaware of how much more talent they had to tap into! After a few months of training, they quickly came to realize how adding strength and performance training was not only going to radically change their ability to compete, but to succeed and to do both for a long, profitable career!
The cool part was watching how quickly this shift impacted each of these sports as the athletes who chose to hire coaches were now rising to the top. In fact, If you know anything about DH, MX, snowboarding and golf, you know that between 2000-2006 these sports began to go through a "performance revolution" where speeds increased, creativity and trick abilities blew up, tracks and half pipes got bigger and a new definition of "going big" was created! Simultaneously during these six years the public who were participating in these sports began to follow the lead of these pro athletes. They started to see and feel the value of regular training for their sport, and because of that helped to contribute to the overall growth of each sport and industry's that surrounded them! It really helped to shape the future for how massive each sport was to become!
Alright, so how does this apply to our mountain biking strength story you wonder?
Simple. Up till about 2012 or so, we knew that a handful of downhillers and some XC racers were "secretly" and seriously using gym training to up their game. Since EWS has come on the scene in the past few years, I think we're seeing a surge in the elite mountain biking athletes seeking the benefits of a regular gym training program to boost their performance and you see that with all the regular postings on social media and youtube. So based off my experience I shared in my story, I feel like the influence of the training activities of the mountain biking pro's are beginning to trickle down to the amateur and I'm hearing a lot of chatter about how it's really beginning to help all levels of the amateur rider! Good times for sure!
So on that note, I want to challenge you to add two gym training sessions per week. Try it for eight weeks and see what it does to your riding, not to mention all other aspects of your life... you won't be disappointed, I promise. You can try something like this, just be aware of your fatigue:Monday
- Strength dayWednesday
- Ride, Interval type workoutThursday
- Strength day with spin afterFriday
- Off or Skills daySaturday
- Big ride daySunday
- Big ride dayHow to's:
I suggest a good warm up using 12-15 reps, then 2-4 sets with 6-8 repetitions of each exercise. Take 3-4 minutes of rest between each superset. Perform two times per week for three weeks, then the fourth week will be an "active rest" week where you'll do the two workouts but with half the number of sets.
The Deadlift start is important to having a strong downhilling positionSingle Arm Cable Press
Focus on strong posture while keeping hips still so you can move your torso and arms.
Superset #2:Bend Forward Walking Lunges
Start with light weights or you will get sore! Keep strong posture and reach toward mid-shin. Stand up and repeat in walking lunge fashion.Single Arm TRX Pulls
Be sure the TRX is attached strongly AND the single handle your grab doesn't slip.
Very important... Please make sure your form is perfect and never sacrifice form for weight! What you put in is what you get out. If you program sloppiness into your movement patterns, it will show up in your riding and all other sports you participate in, so chose to be different than the other knuckleheads in the gym and be one who prides themselves in training in your best manner possible. I promise... better steaz and speed awaits you when you adopt that type of attitude in the gym!
Lastly, don’t be a hero. Lift what you can lift. Earn your weight just like you earn your speed.
I'm Coach Dee, the trainer for the @yeticycles
team. I'm a 49-year-old enduro racer who's been top three in overall finishers in the last three years of the @bigmountainenduro
series. For your off-season training needs, Pinkbike readers can download my brand new MTB Strong
and automatically get $25 OFF.
View all of my previous articles and videos here
, or visit my website
for more info.