The only thing more abundant than “pumpkin spice” flavored stuff this time of year are excuses not to train.

Whether its family in town, all the holiday parties or just a general lack of motivation when it gets dark at 5 o’clock in the evening, December probably sees the fewest workouts of any month.

Which is a great opportunity for you.

Doing the little things that most people won’t is what separates people who create lasting change in their lives and those who perpetually wish they could.

Making the effort to stay consistent with your training through the holiday season is something that you can do that will separate you physically and mentally from the crowd.

Which brings us to this month’s workout.

This is the last phase of Transition part of our Off-Season Training Program. Sticking with the bodyweight exercises, we get into out most advanced exercise progressions.

Remember that if you need to you can go back and do Part 1 or Part 2 of this phase if some of the exercises are too intense.

Click Here to Download the December Workout of the Month

If you are not already on my newsletter you can also sign up to have these workouts delivered to your inbox each month. Plus, as your coach, I’ll send you some training tips each week to help your training and riding.

Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions for the Group Coaching Program.

Until next time…

Ride Strong,

James Wilson

MTB Strength Training Systems

MTB Ultimate Program

Every once in a while I have a lightbulb moment that makes me realize that I have been missing something really important in my training.

Like the first time I was introduced to using mobility exercises to compliment my usual focus on “get stronger”, these moments open up a whole new way of seeing the bigger picture that leads to being a better rider.

One of these moments happened to me recently at a Steve Maxwell seminar when he was explaining how he uses Isometric Exercises in combination with sport training.

While Isometric Exercises are something I have studied and used, I never really understood the best way to use them until I heard him explain it and now I realize that they are a must have component of a training program.

In this episode of the Bike James Podcast I explain what Isometrics Exercises are, how to use them and how you can use incorporate them into your program to help you ride faster on the trail.

You can stream or download this episode below. You can also find it on Itunes and Podbean.

Download this episode (right click and save)

Show Notes:

– Isometric Exercises

– No movement

– High muscle tension

– Relatively safe

– Strength is Tension + Technique

– The trick to sport-specific training is to develop your Tension and your Technique separately

– We screw up when we use strength training to teach a skill or skill training to build strength

– Use Isometrics to develop your Tension and then skill training for Technique

– Use Ramping Isometrics with 1 Set to Failure for each movement pattern

– 20-30 seconds at 50% effort/ 75% effort/ 100% effort

– Safe for 1 Set to Failure since you don’t move

– Allows you to really focus on quality of tension instead of movement

– Helps you develop your tension producing “volume knob”

– Helps you learn how to truly tap into 100% tension

– Develops mental and physical endurance

– Keeps the body fresh for technique training (deadlifting, riding your bike, etc.)

– Pick one exercise per movement pattern and do it 2 days per week

– Use the other training time to work on movement or sport specific skills/ endurance training

– Don’t go above 80% effort with skill training

– This isn’t easy or sexy but it works

Until next time…

Ride Strong,

James Wilson

MTB Strength Training Systems & Pedaling Innovations

Pedaling Innovations

So, right off the bat I want to let you know why this may be one of the most important interviews I’ve done on this podcast.

Foot health and now it affects your riding is usually something most of us don’t worry about until there is a problem. However, even then most riders are usually in the dark about the best strategies to improve and maintain their foot health.

This leads to a lot of riders who just figure that sore feet, uncomfortable feet and the knee, ankle and low back problems that come with them are just part of riding a bike.

Which is unfortunate because a lot of these riders are suffering needlessly. There are things you can do both on and off your bike to improve your foot health and function, improving your performance and decreasing your pain in the process.

In this podcast I interview Dr. Marty Hughes and Dr. Robyn Hughes from They are leading experts in the field of foot function and health and also happen to be avid cyclists, bringing a unique perspective to this subject.

In the interview we go over why foot health is so important for us, some common things that can be hurting our feet and what you can do to start improving your foot health both on and off the bike.

I know that talking about the feet isn’t what most riders think about when it comes to improving your performance on the bike but after listening to this interview I hope you’ll have a new appreciation for how important it is.

You can download or stream this episode using the links below or you can find the show on ITunes as well.

Download this episode (right click and save)

Until next time…

Ride Strong,

James Wilson

MTB Skills and Fitness Program

A lot of people wonder where I get the motivation to workout. Usually they are looking for something to make them want to workout because, let’s face it, working out isn’t always fun and easy.

To help offset this most of us look for some sort of motivation to drive us. Kind of like Rocky waking up every morning to face Apollo Creed, this kind of motivation burns like a fire inside someone, driving them forward at all costs.

So people are usually pretty surprised when I tell them that I’m not motivated to workout anymore. While I’ve tasted and used motivation to help drive my training, I’ve also found that it is unsustainable over the long run.

What I rely on instead is discipline, not motivation.

To explain the difference, let me ask you a question…

Are you motivated to brush your teeth every morning? I mean, is there a fire inside you that drives you to the sink twice a day, 365 days a year, every day of your life?

For the vast majority of people reading this the answer is “no”. But they do it anyway because it is just what they do as part of their routine.

In other words, they are disciplined about it, building and maintaining a habit.

Which is exactly how I look at working out. Just like I don’t want to suffer from bad breath and rotting teeth from not being disciplined about taking care of them, I don’t want to suffer from a loss of performance and increased risk of injury from not taking care of my body.

Being disciplined and building a habit is your goal, not “finding your motivation”. Which means that there no secret other than putting in the work and being consistent.

And the perfect time to start is now with this month’s Group Coaching Workout.

The goal of this month’s workout is to continue with the transition between the end of the riding season and the Off Season. To accomplish this we’re continuing with the Bodyweight Training theme in this month’s workout.

You’ll see that the movements have progressed, the goal of which is to put your body at a mechanical disadvantage to force it to improve its core strength and ability to act as a unit.

And the best part is that you aren’t loading your joints with weight, which can add a bunch of wear and tear on top of grind they already go through riding your bike. Plus you can do it at home, making it convenient to fit into your schedule.

You can download this month’s workout – complete with video demos of the warm up, workout and decompression flow – by clicking on the link below:

If you find some of the exercises in this month’s workout to be a little tough then you can start with last month’s workout, which you can download here.

Balancing the time and energy demands of riding your bike with doing some strength and mobility training isn’t easy but it will pay off later. Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions for the Group Coaching Program.

Until next time…

Ride Strong,

James Wilson

MTB Strength Training Systems

MTB Fitness Membership Program

A few weeks ago I got the chance to go to Bend Oregon to present at the Venture Out Conference. Put on by the Bend Outdoor Worx business accelerator group, it is a contest where businesses in 3 different categories present on what they are doing to an audience of 400+ people.

I had applied a couple months prior and had been through a round of phone interviews but I didn’t think I’d be selected, so it was still a bit of a surprise to me to find myself on that stage talking about the Catalyst Pedals and why they are solving a huge issue in the cycling world.

But at the same time I was pretty calm. I knew that if I went up there and told the story behind the Catalyst Pedal and how it is already impacting lives around the world and got one person there to at least think about what I was saying I was already a winner.

So I went into my story about how I first found out that clipless pedals have less science behind their design than the Flat Earth Theory and how this knowledge plus my experience as a strength coach led to the inspiration for the world’s first mid-foot optimized pedal.

To be honest, I wasn’t exactly sure what I was going to say would be received. There were a lot of cyclists in the audience, most of whom rode clipless pedals, so it was kind of like marching into a Church of Cycling and telling them their clipless pedal god is dead…you never know how that’s going to go over.

Luckily no one jumped up and yelled “Heretic!” and I got through the presentation and following Q&A from the audience without any problems. When I was done I felt great…mostly because I didn’t lock up in front of all those people but also because I felt like I had done a good job telling people why the work we were doing was important.

Like I told them, the Catalyst Pedal is a manifestation of the truth about foot position and pedal stroke on the bike and my mission is to free people from the myths and half-truths of the past that are holding them back.

So as I sat there waiting for them to announce the winners I was fine with whatever the announcement was. I had done what I had come to do and anything else was just a bonus.

Well, as you can imagine I was pretty happy to get the bonus of winning my category!

As one of the judges told me, they really liked what I was doing because it was disruptive, which is what they’re about. Most people are more worried about keeping everyone happy so it was really great to get the support of people who recognize that it takes someone making people uncomfortable with new ideas to bring about change.

As I was getting on the plane the next day to head home I was thinking about the journey that led me to the point of standing on a stage and telling people about how an idea I had 3 years ago was now a real product and that it was making an impact on people around the world. While it’s been a really long and tough process, I realized that it was the support of riders who believed in what I was doing that was really the secret ingredient to making the Catalyst Pedal a success.

Sometimes I forget that and focus too much on the negative comments and ridiculous remarks that get posted than the stories from riders who are using and loving the Catalyst Pedals. But thanks for being there for me and the cycling world, without your grassroots efforts this never would have been more than an idea.

So while you couldn’t be there, I want to say thanks for the role you’ve played in getting Pedaling Innovations to where it is today. We’ve come a long way but we’ve got even further to go but with your help I know we’ll achieve our mission of educating riders on the truth about foot position and pedal stroke.

Until next time…

Ride Strong,

James Wilson

Pedaling Innovations/ MTB Strength Training Systems

Our Mission: To help riders move better, feel better and think better both on and off the trail.

MTB Kettlebell Workout

I know that this isn’t popular to say but the truth is that mountain biking isn’t for everyone.

At least, according to one fitness coaching legend, if you can’t perform a good bodyweight squat then you shouldn’t be doing any sports until you can.

A few weekends ago I had the chance to go to a Steve Maxwell seminar, who is the “heretic” who made this statement more than once during his 6+ hours of presenting on how to improve your sport-specific mobility and strength.

Steve owned the first kettlebell gym on the East Coast…the legendary Maxercise in Philadelphia…and has worked with clients at all levels for over 50 years.

The reason I mention this is that when Steve says stuff like that it isn’t to be controversial. If comes from decades of being able to test and see what works and what doesn’t over the long run.

So, back to what he had to say, if you can’t so this…

…then you need to fix it or your mountain biking will suffer from it.

Just to be clear, a good squat has:

  1. The feet flat with weight evenly distributed (no coming up on your toes!)
  2. The knees track over the feet (no toes out, knees in stances)
  3. The butt gets below the knees with a relatively straight back.

You should be able to drop down and hang out in this position for extended periods of time. Steve mentioned how you’ll see people all over the world sitting in the deep squat and how it is only the hard-core Western World that uses chairs all of the time.

The result of all that sitting is a loss of mobility and core strength that limits your ability to move, including on the trail. Which is why Steve was such a believer in making sure that people can perform some basic movement skills before asking them to perform the specific skills of mountain biking (which is something I’ve always said as well).

In our case, the squat is the fundamental movement pattern behind standing up to pedal on your bike and riders who struggle with it find themselves relying a lot on the sit-and-spin approach to hide their weak squat. This not only makes it harder to use your most powerful pedaling position but it also puts more stress on the low back and knees, leading to overuse injuries with them over time.

The good news is that it doesn’t take a long time to “fix” your squat. In fact, there were a couple people at the seminar who went from “no sports for you” squats to decent squats that passed.

The point was that with the right approach you can quickly impact your usable mobility, which will help your mountain biking and decrease the risk of injury.

While we learned a lot of great stuff, here is a video with a few of the movements that I got a lot from – the Sphinx, Frog Stretch and Bear Squat:

Try doing a few rounds of these movements and re-check your squat to see if it helped. Like I said, there were a lot of great things we learned and your specific sticking points may be different but I’ll be willing to bet that it still helped it.

If you want to learn more I highly recommend checking out one of Steve’s seminars or investing in one of his videos. You can find him and sign up for his newsletter at

Hopefully you take the Steve’s challenge to heart and make sure that you improve and maintain your squat, especially as you get older. Mountain biking is something that you can do for a lifetime but only if you do the things now that will keep you in the game.

Until next time…

Ride Strong,

James Wilson

MTB Strength Training

p.s. Need some help with your squat? My MTB Mobility Follow-Along Routines includes 10 follow along videos, including one specifically for your squat.

Mobility is the #1 thing you need to focus on in order to ride hard and remain injury free. For just $19 you can get the only mountain bike specific mobility routine available, which can keep you on the trail and off the couch nursing an injury.

MTB DB Conditioning Program
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James Wilson
Author and Professional
Mountain Bike Coach
James Wilson