June
11

If you want to quickly improve your riding you need to work on your standing pedaling power and endurance. When you stand up you improve your power, almost all technical skills require you to get your butt off the seat and it is also better for your knees and low back.

Unfortunately, though, most riders don’t have the core strength, High Tension Cardio and specific skills to really tap into the power of this position. As a result they end up sitting and spinning through almost everything, only standing up when they have to.

But once you address these specific things you can turn Standing Pedaling into a go-to position for you on the bike, helping improve your performance and fun.

I created the Standing Pedaling Program to help you improve your power and endurance from this important position on your bike. Up until a few weeks ago I had it for sale for $39 and it has already helped hundreds of riders just like you… but now I want to give it to you for free.

I’ve even recently updated it so even if you’ve bought it in the past you’ll still want to check out this new version. This free program is a full 4 week training program complete with strength training, cardio training and skills drills that are all geared towards the specific things you need to improve your Standing Pedaling.

And now you can download it for free. Just enter your name and email below to get instant access…

The reason I’m giving this program away is because I’m tired of seeing so many riders shackled to their seat. Standing up is more fun and will help you improve your performance faster than anything else you can do.

I know this because I’ve seen and experience it for myself.

In my time working with a lot of world class riders I noticed that they all tended to stand up more than “regular” riders did. Whether it was standing up to stomp up a short climb, pick their way through a technical section or execute a technical skill like cornering or bunny hopping, they made much better use of the standing position than the other riders I trained.

Eventually I started to use the standing pedaling position more based on what I was learning from how these top riders rode. And what I found out was that while these top riders had a lot of gifts that most of us don’t, anyone can become better at standing pedaling once you know how.

Which is what my goal was with the Standing Pedaling Program. From the 1st version (this is the 3rd) I wanted to give riders a blueprint to help them be able to crack the code on how to improve their standing pedaling power and endurance.

So I’ll hope you’ll download this new free workout program and give it a shot. In the next 4 weeks you can be standing up a lot more – and experiencing the improvements that come as a result – and I know this program can help you do it.


If you have any questions about the program or anything else related to helping you enjoy riding more please let me know, my goal is to help as many people as I can discover the power of strength and mobility training for mountain biking and I appreciate the chance to help you.

Until next time …

Ride Strong,

James Wilson
MTB Strength Training Systems

MTB Ultimate Program
May
21

As a mountain bike coach I often wondered why there seemed to be a disconnect between foot position on the bike and foot position in the gym. For a sport where we “needed” to be on the balls of our feet, in 13+ years of training riders I never had someone lift that way in the gym to make it more sport specific.

I noticed that even dynamic, explosive movements like Box Jumps, Olympic Lifts and Kettlebell Swings would start and end with the heel down. In fact, I would often emphasize driving through the heels when lifting and getting the heels down when landing from a jump, effectively trying to minimize the time someone would be creating or absorbing force without their heels down.

It was this disconnect that got me thinking about why I needed stiff soled shoes on my bike but not in the gym. I couldn’t figure out why I got on my bike and my foot turned into a weak, unstable mess that needed stiff soled shoes to maximize performance.

And that was when it hit me…

On the ground I can get heel pressure but on my bike I can’t.

Since my heel is unsupported by the pedal body and hanging in space, I can’t apply pressure through my heel. This compromises my foot’s stability, requiring a stiff soled shoe to try and compensate.

But a stiff sole supporting the heel isn’t the same as the heel being able to apply pressure into the pedal body, which still compromises your movement in three important areas:

———————–

1 – Heel pressure allows for better hip recruitment and less stress on the knees.

This is why I would emphasize to my clients in the gym to drive through or get get their heels down ASAP when landing from a jump. The brain uses pressure sensors in the heel to recruit the hips and without that pressure you are literally not able to recruit the hips as well.

The hips are the main muscles for creating power and absorbing impacts, plus they keep stress off the knees and low back, making heel pressure a must for performance and injury prevention.

2 – Heel pressure allows for more balanced forces going into the pedal, making it a more stable platform for your feet.

Being able to apply pressure through the ball of the foot and heel means that you are now pushing down on both ends of the pedal instead of in the middle. Since the pedal is a rotating platform, applying pressure on both ends makes it easier to stabilize the platform and modulate pressure to either end as needed.

When you have one pressure point in the middle through the ball of the foot and no support under the heel you end up with an unbalanced platform and no way to shift pressure on the pedal body itself, which makes it easier for your foot to roll off the pedal.

3 – Heel pressure allows for better use of the hips when cornering by allowing you to roll the pressure back onto the heels (just like cornering on skis), helping to set your edge and get your hips into a better position.

To get good pressure into the bike to set your edge when cornering you need to be able to shift the pressure from the ball of the foot to the heel. This is the same technique used for cornering on skies and it allows you to drive the bike into the corner, helping to maximize your traction and exit speed.

———————–

When you look at how the foot works you see that it isn’t about being on the ball of the foot or the heel but the ability to apply pressure through both as needed. When you have nothing under the back of the arch then you can’t apply pressure through the heel, taking away that option.

This is why the mid-foot position on your pedals is the best way to apply functional movement to the bike. By supporting both ends of the arch you allow for better hip recruitment and balance, basically applying the same movement principles you work on in the gym to your bike.

The take home message is that how you move off the bike is how you want to move on the bike to maximize your performance and reduce your risk of overuse injuries. That means that if heel pressure is important off the bike then it is important on the bike as well.

But here is the problem…the cycling industry is ignoring these facts. Because they don’t line up with the usual narrative of needing to be perched on the ball of your foot these movement principles and their application are brushed aside when brought up.

And while this is frustrating, the biggest problem is how this mindset affects how pedals are made. Designs that are too small to connect both ends of the arch are the standard, leaving riders with sub-optimal choices for applying the best foot position.

In fact, if it wasn’t for the pedal that I designed and brought to the market you would have no options for a true mid-foot optimized pedal. The Catalyst Pedal is literally the only pedal in the world that will let you apply pressure on both ends of the arch, giving your foot the freedom it needs to thrive.

One day we’ll look back on the foot position advice we are getting today and wonder what took us so long to get this figured out. Once you experience the difference that being able to apply pressure through the entire foot makes to your riding you’ll know that the future of riding belongs to the mid-foot position and the pedals designed to support it.

Until next time…

Ride Strong,

James Wilson
MTB Strength Training Systems

Pedaling Innovations
May
1

Foot pain is something that almost every rider deals with at some point. 

And while the cycling industry has given us some solutions, the problems still don’t seem to get better on a permanent basis for a lot of riders. Sure, getting a bike fit or moving their cleats around can help the pain for a while but it always seems to come back in some form or another.

And, like most riders out there, I used to think that this was a normal part of riding a bike. Experiencing some foot discomfort or pain was just part of the price we paid for the sport we loved…

…or does it?

What if this wasn’t a natural part of the riding experience but instead brought on your own equipment?

What if you could ride pain free and maintain your performance with a few simple tools?

Well, it turns out that this is exactly the case. When your pedals and shoes aren’t giving your foot the right blend of stability and mobility it causes problems for your feet that don’t have to be there.

One of the leading experts on foot pain and cycling are Drs. Marty and Robyn Hughes with NaturalFootGear.com. They have dedicated themselves to promoting the benefits of natural foot movement both on and off the bike and have helped thousands of people overcome foot pain through their work.

They recently put together their list of the Top 5 Tools to Combat Foot Pain When Cycling and I wanted to share it with you as well. It is a great way to get started on the road to foot healthy cycling and enjoying the benefits both on and off the bike.

Click Here to See the Top 5 Tools to Combat Foot Pain When Cycling

Riding a bike doesn’t have to be a pain in the foot (yes, that was a bad joke). With the right tools you can enjoy pain free performance, which can only make riding more fun.

So check out the link above and enjoy more riding with less pain…unless you like having to limp around after a long ride until your feet stop hurting. I’m not going to judge you if you do, just saying that there might be better options.

Until next time…

Ride Strong,

James Wilson

Pedaling Innovations & MTB Strength Training Systems

MTB Skills and Fitness Program
April
17

Everybody loves a good core training exercise. A strong core can help you perform better and stay injury resistant, something every rider can benefit from.

And while we’ve come a long way since the ‘80’s when crunches and side bends were the staple core training exercises, there are still a lot of core training exercises that look fancy but do little to help us on the bike.

For core training to be effective for us as riders it needs to address our needs on the trail. In my experience working with hundreds of riders I’ve found that the biggest weak links for most of them were…

  1. Cornering: Yeah, that’s right…poor cornering technique is usually tied to bad core strength in the “corkscrew” movement pattern. Without this specific type of core strength you will always struggle to consistently apply good technique on the trail.
  2. Standing Pedaling: Being able to get a long, strong spine and minimize movement through the core is a key to strong standing pedaling technique. Once you have the right core strength, though, you can stand pedal at will, crushing hills and dusting singletrack in your wake.
  3. Sustained Core Tension: One of the main things that separates mountain biking from other types of riding is that the trail demands a much higher level of tension in the muscles. Whether it is grinding out a technical climb or working hard to flow through a rock garden on the way down, being able to create and sustain core tension is important to your performance on the trail in a variety of areas.

With this insight and some new tools at my disposal I decided to put together my new list of Top 3 Mountain Bike Core Training Exercises to help you get more out of your training and riding time.

1 – Stick/ Steel Mace Windmill (2 sets of 5 reps each side): This exercise is my go-to choice for improving (Stick Windmill) and strengthening (Steel Mace Windmill) the “corkscrew” movement pattern needed for cornering. By teaching you how to lean your body while staying balanced over your feet you will learn the fundamental movement pattern behind driving your bike through the corner like you would when skiing instead of trying to ride on it like a motorcycle (related: Why Cornering a Mountain Bike is NOT Like Cornering on a Motorcycle).

Stick Windmill

Mace Windmill

2 – Bear Crawls (2 sets of 20 paces forward and backward): While it may not look like it at first, getting down on the ground and doing some Bear Crawls works your core in a lot of the same ways you do when standing up to pedal. By encouraging a long spine and working on the same type of upper body – lower body linkage you rebuild this primal movement patterns that most riders are lacking.  Looking for an extra challenge? Try the Beast Crawl variation to really work your core strength.

Bear Crawl

Beast Crawl

3 – Ramping Isometric Plank (1 set of 30 sec. 50%/ 30 sec. 75%/ 30 sec. 100%): Using the Ramping Isometrics concept with planks takes this ordinary exercise to a new level. By increasing the tension you are actively creating every 30 seconds (ramping up from 50% to 75% and then 100%) you are able to create and sustain higher and higher levels of tension in your core. This gives you a stronger “tension base” to build your other movements from.

I suggest doing this routine as part of your overall program once a week. If you really want to improve quickly then bump that up to twice a week but remember that consistency is the most important thing.

Having a strong, functional core is the cornerstone for being a better rider and I hope these exercises help you have more fun on the trail. And who knows, in 10 years I might have a totally new list so check back in then. In the meantime, give these a try and let me know what you think.

Until next time…

Ride Strong,

James Wilson

MTB Strength Training Systems & Pedaling Innovations

p.s. While it may not seem like it, the foundation for a strong and functional core is your feet. If your feet are unbalanced and/ or unstable then the rest of your body will struggle to make up for it.

The key to a strong, stable foot on the bike is the ability to apply heel pressure. Without heel pressure your brain can’t recruit your hips and you have an unstable arch, both of which make it impossible to recruit and use your core optimally.

Which is why I developed the Catalyst Pedal.

As the only pedal on the market that lets you apply heel pressure into the pedal body itself it supports the foot in a more natural way. This lets the rest of the body – including the core – move and function more naturally.

If you are going to do core training exercises off of the bike then you owe it to yourself to check out the video at www.pedalinginnovations.com and learn more about how a strong, stable foot can help you move and feel better on the bike.

MTB Fitness Membership Program
April
10

It’s been a crazy last few months with Pedaling Innovations. We were accepted into a business accelerator group earlier this year and the process of getting ready for it and getting started has taken a lot of my time.

Which is why I wasn’t in touch sooner about being interviewed on the MTB Tribe podcast talking about flats vs. clipless pedals and the specific advantages of the Catalyst Pedals.

There is still a lot of misinformation about pedal stroke, foot position and how the foot functions on the bike and I was glad to get the chance to share my insights from almost a decade on the front lines of this debate.

I had a lot of fun talking with Gareth, you can listen directly from the website at www.mtb-tribe.com or listen through iTunes or Stitcher.

Thanks again for all the support and I hope you get some good information from this podcast interview. Let me know if you have any questions about it or anything else to do with how to get the most out of your pedal stroke and legs on the trail.

Until next time…

Ride Strong,

James Wilson

Pedaling Innovations & MTB Strength Training Systems

MTB Kettlebell Workout
January
26

Something I get asked a lot when it comes to foot position and pedal stroke is why do I care so much?

I mean, am I just some ego maniac that needs the world to see everything like I do?

Well, while that may be the case with some things, it isn’t what drives my passion about this subject.

No, what gets me fired up is that people get hurt based on the bad advice they are getting.

One of the biggest culprits for hurting people is the advice to be on the ball of your foot. On a normal pedal this results in all your weight being on the ball of the foot with no support under the back of the arch, leaving you heel hanging in space.

When you do this, it has several negative consequences on the body…

1 – Driving through the ball of the foot places extra shearing force on the knees. As noted in this blog post from regenerative medicine specialist Chris Centano, this makes no sense from a biomechanical standpoint and results in knee pain and joint damage.

2 – Having no support under the back of the arch places extra stress on the calf, ankle joint and plantar fascia. As noted in this interview with Dr. Marty and Robyn Hughes, this unnatural position creates a lot of stiffness in these sensitive areas. This results in foot pain, plantar fasciitis and other lower leg and foot problems.

3 – Without the ability to apply pressure through the heel you make it harder to recruit your hips. When you can’t recruit the hips then you put extra stress on the low back, resulting in stiffness and pain in that area as well.

Add it up and you get sore feet, hurting knees and a stiff, sore lower back.

Sound familiar? They are by far the most common complaints among riders and most of us have dealt with one or more of these cycling related issues.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

When you fix your foot position and the support under it you alleviate a lot of these issues, resulting in less pain and more fun from your rides.

Again, this isn’t to argue whether this foot position improves performance (which is does) or if it improves your balance and agility on the bike (which it also does), this is about what foot position leads to the least amount of pain and suffering in riders.

“I am a veteran motocross racer and recently got back on the bicycles. I immediately noticed the big difference between the two, without mx boots, knee braces and suspension, the bicycle with traditional flats was causing me problems afterwards with ball of foot, ankle and even knees.

All those problems have been eliminated with your pedals. Thanks for innovating…I believe in your concept that you get more power, but I think an equally huge advantage is when absorbing the impact of landing from jumps.”  – Carl Zipfel

And when you look at the facts you see that the traditional advice and pedals has led to an epidemic of riders who think that their pain is just part of the game.

So that’s why I care so much.

No one deserves to get hurt based on bad, outdated advice and poorly designed equipment…but that isn’t the general attitude in the cycling industry that cares more about the status quo and making money than what is really best for the sports it encompasses.

So, if you’re tired of putting up with foot, ankle, knee and low back pain because your pedals suck and your foot position is sub-optimal as a result then check out the facts at www.pedalinginnovations.com.

The truth will set your feet and your riding free.

Until next time…

Ride Strong,

James Wilson

Pedaling Innovations/ MTB Strength Training Systems

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Mountain Bike Coach
James Wilson