December
10

I’ve been working with mountain bikers since 2005, which means that I’ve seen a few trends over that time. Seeing something once or twice is one thing but seeing it over and over usually means something.

When it comes to mountain bikers, the biggest trend I’ve seen is that they almost always have tight hips. It is a common problem with most people but, believe it or not, I’ve seen more “normal” people with good hip mobility than mountain bikers who don’t have tight hips.

Based on this experience, I feel this is also the #1 reason that most riders struggle to easily improve their skills on the bike. Tight hips also mean that you have to work harder to produce the same amount of power and increases your chance of low back and knee pain.

In other words, if you want to improve as a rider but aren’t working on your hip mobility then you are fooling yourself. Reeling off countless miles on the trainer or reps in the gym without addressing this fundamental problem is holding back your results where it counts the most…on the trail.

Here is the thing, though. Improving your mobility doesn’t need to take a huge time commitment from you. Sure, it would be nice if you could sign up for yoga classes and make a few each week but that’s not realistic for most of us.

So, the trick is to use short mobility routines on a consistent basis. You can get a lot out of a little if you do it (nearly) every day.

Spending five minutes a day working on your hip and overall mobility will go a long way towards helping you improve your riding and decrease your risk of overuse injuries.

To help you with this I shot a video where I take you through one of my favorite hip mobility routines. You can just hit play and follow along as I take you through the routine:

You can use this routine as part of a pre-ride warm up or, better yet, a post ride decompression to help reset the system and start the recovery process. Getting aggressive with your mobility is one of the easiest ways to improve your performance and hopefully this routine will help you do that with your own program.

Until next time…

Ride Strong,

James Wilson

p.s. Need more mobility routines to help your trainign and riding? Check out my collection of MTB specific follow-along mobility routines – http://www.bikejames.com/mountain-bike-mobility-follow-along-videos

MTB Ultimate Program
December
3

One thing that we take for granted is how much balance plays a role in our performance on the bike. You can be the fittest guy out there but if your balance sucks then you’ll struggle to apply it and not spend half your time picking yourself up off the ground after crashing.

Like anywhere else, balance on the bike starts with the feet. Having the right support and foot position is the first thing to consider and this is where a wobble board can tell us a lot about what we need on our bikes.

While there are some obvious differences between a wobble board and a bike, the basic principles behind balancing on them are the same.

With both of them you have a narrow balance point between your feet and you have to keep even pressure through the feet to keep things balanced. Too much pressure on one foot and you tip over.
However, you can change the pressure between the feet intentionally to get the bike/ balance board to tip over the balance point without letting it tip too far, which is what we do to turn and corner our bikes.

And while I’m not saying that you should start using one as a big part of your training program, we can learn a lot from looking at the best foot position to balance on a balance board and how using a mid-foot vs. ball-of-the-foot position affects things.

In this video I look at these things and show you why you’ve never noticed it before but it is still holding you back on the trail:

BTW, this is the same balance principle shared with skiers, surfers and skateboarders where you are using the feet to balance on something moving underneath you while you stay stationary over it – in other words, when you ride something that is carrying you instead of you running and jumping.

Don’t let your foot position hold you back on the bike. Only when your feet are supported and balanced can the rest of you move properly, which is the start of letting your true potential come out on the trail.

Until next time…

Ride Strong,

James Wilson

Pedaling Innovations
November
26

Improving your cornering skills is usually at the top of most rider’s wish lists. It is a skill that can not only make you looks pretty cool but will also improve your speed and safety on the trail.

However, the way that cornering is usually taught doesn’t tell the whole story. With too much emphasis on the turning the hips and leaning the bike, riders end up missing the most important part…your shoulders.

That’s right, great cornering technique is actually driven from the shoulders. And not using the shoulders properly is the #1 mistake I see riders make with their cornering, especially since they are usually taught to “lean the bike and not their body”.

In this video workshop I share the right way to use your shoulders when cornering and some exercise to help make it easier to do. After watching it you will have a much better idea of how to use your body to flow through the corners instead of fighting yourself with advice that applies better to a motorcycle than riding a mountain bike.

Here are the videos I refer to in the video, sorry for the technical difficulty and not getting them on the webinar:

Using only balance points to turn:

Using only manual inputs to turn:

Until next time…

Ride Strong,

James Wilson

MTB Skills and Fitness Program
November
19

Everyone knows that training hard is part of getting better. If you don’t push your body past what it did yesterday then it won’t have any reason to improve your fitness levels.

But we also know that if you push too hard things can go wrong. Usually referred to as Overtraining, almost everyone reading this has experienced the symptoms of pushing our body harder than we should have, which include lack of energy, getting sick and overuse injuries.

Your body will force you to take time off and rest but taking time off is one of the worst things for your progress. Staying consistent with your training is important and so pushing your body hard while also avoiding Overtraining is the key to long term progress.

In this episode of the BikeJames Podcast I dive into the subject of Overtraining, letting you know exactly what it is and how you can use that information to help you. I also share some tips, strategies and tools I’ve found to be especially helpful for this goal.

You can stream or download this episode by clicking the link below. You can also find the BikeJames Podcast on Itunes and Podbean.

Click Here to Download the MP3 File For This Episode

I also shot a video going over some of these things as well, you can check it out below:

Notes From the Podcast

What is overtraining?

– Energy Balance between dealing with stress and recovering from it: autonomic nervous system

– Training Plus Recovery = Results

Ways to avoid it:

– Plan your training week according to Recovery, Stimulation and Development days.

– 1-2 Development days ideal, more than that and you need to really focus on recovery.

– Take your whole life into cosideration and not just training/ riding – Stress is stress.

Ways to detect it:

– Elevated HR

-HRV: Window into autonomic nervous system and aerobic fitness

-Morpheus: helps avoid by adjusting HR based on recovery

What to do about it:

– Adjust training loads based on detection.

– Recovery tactics like HPRW/ active recovery, massage, heat and cold therapy.

– Use HRV to see which direction your autonomic nervous system is headed to guide decisions.

– Breathing and meditation help with HRV

Until next time…

Ride Strong,

James Wilson

 

MTB Fitness Membership Program
November
12

Spending some time getting stronger is one of the best things you can do to improve your performance on the trail.

While nothing can replace riding your bike, there are 3 reasons that strength training will help you in ways that just riding your bike can not.

1 – It helps you work on tension skills that you need on the trail but don’t do enough on the trail to improve past a certain point.

2 – It helps you work on movements you need on the bike in a less stressful learning environment.

3 – It helps you avoid acute and overuse injuries, helping you stay consistent with your riding and training, which is the #1 secret to improvement.

In this podcast I go over these points in some more detail and hopefully convince you that strength training is not an option if you want to be the best version of yourself both on and off the trail.

Click Here to Download This Podcast Episode

Until next time…

Ride Strong,

James Wilson

MTB Kettlebell Workout
November
5

A few weeks ago I shared one of my favorite blog posts I’ve done over the years where I broke down how to Manual and Bunny Hop on Your Bike. I really like it because it was the result of a long, frustrating journey as I tried to figure out this elusive skill based on the “normal” advice, which didn’t seem to work for me and a lot of other riders I worked with.

The key for me was understanding the right way to use your hips and not your lower back when performing these skills, which is something that a lot of coaches miss when trying to explain them. Once you start to drive the movement from the hips then everything changes and you can start to move up the skills tree in a safe, progressive manner again.

The problem, though, is that knowing how to do it when watching it on the computer is one thing but actually being able to do it on the bike is another. Having a strong, explosive Hip Hinge is extremely important but it can be tough to train it on the bike, which means a training tool you could use off of the bike to help you get a lot of quality reps in would really be helpful.

Luckily, there is a great training tool that can help improve your body position, manualing, bunny hopping and jumping on your bike…and it isn’t some fancy new contraption that costs as much as a new fork for your bike.

No, this one is actually one of the oldest training tools around – the Heavy Indian Club. Using them for several Swing variations will help improve your riding skills and MTB specific conditioning like no other training tool can.

They provide all the elements you need in a great training tool – specificity and automatic feedback being at the top of the list – and they have completely replaced kettlebell swings in my own program and the riders I train.

In this Monday Coaches Corner video I give you a mini-workshop on this vital training tool, explaining why it is so valuable and showing you my favorite exercises to do with for skills and conditioning training.

Being able to use strength training to improve your MTB specific movement skills is an important part of a good training program. Using training tools and exercises like the Heavy Indian Club Swings can help you unlock more of your potential on the trail.

Until next time…

Ride Strong,

James Wilson
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James Wilson
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Mountain Bike Coach
James Wilson