Over the last couple of years working with the Steel Mace, I’ve been introduced to how important it is to be able to connect both sides of your body when pushing or pulling. Since the Steel Mace has an offset load that I’m holding with both hands, it forces me to counteract what I’m doing on one side with the opposite movement on the other side.
For example, when doing a Bent Row with the Steel Mace I can’t just use the side of my body doing the row. I have to use the other side of my body to counteract the rowing movement, otherwise, the offset load would have me twisting and losing my balance.So what the hell does this have to do with cornering your bike?
Well, this same push-pull action is needed on your bike when applying counter-steering/pressure into the handlebars.
Instead of just focusing on pushing with the inside hand you also need to be able to counteract that pushing with pulling the other hand back.
This ability to coordinate the push-pull action comes from having the two sides connected through the core, which is something that I didn’t realize I did not have until I started training with the Steel Mace.After making this connection my cornering started to improve and I noticed that I felt much stronger and better able to hold my position.
It became clear that I wasn’t really engaging half my upper body when cornering and, now that I was, it was helping me hold my line with less effort.
Like a lot of movement skills, though, this is something that is much better taught off the bike and then applied to the bike. Trying to learn it on the bike before understanding this movement skill won’t work nearly as well.
Which is where this new Rowing for Cornering exercise progression comes in.By using a simple three exercise progression you can help build and strengthen this push-pull connection through the core.
Once you have you can then better apply how this connection “feels” to your bike.
In this video, I explain the connection in a bit more detail and then show you the three exercises you can use to help improve your cornering.
As you’ll see in the video, while I prefer to use the Steel Mace for most of them you can do them with a regular barbell as well. The point is to find ways to improve the movement skills you need on the bike so you can then focus on the trail and not how to move when you’re riding.
I hope you enjoy this video and get some ideas for your own training from it. Let me know what you think after trying some of these exercises out and how they’ve helped you corner better on your bike.
Until next time…
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 four 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 tips like this 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.