Want to know the #1 thing that can make a difference in your mountain biking journey?

While the physical stuff is important, the #1 thing is actually your mindset. Until you get things straight between the ears the rest of the body doesn’t really matter.

Of course, this isn’t news to a lot of you. Most of us have heard this in some form or another during our mountain biking journey, ranging from warnings about the ego to keeping the long term in mind when faced with setbacks.

But while we get bits and pieces of it, what exactly does this mindset look like? Can you define it in a way that makes it easy for anyone to start using it?

Luckily the answer is “yes”. Thanks to the science behind elite athletes and Navy SEALS we can define what this mindset is…and it may surprise you.

It all comes down to a simple question – are you a Pessimist or an Optimist?

That’s right, how you interpret things when the world gives you lemons is the #1 predictor of how likely you are to stick with something hard like mountain biking.

However, far from the touchy-feely hippie stuff that usually goes with these terms, the way we’re talking about them has a concrete definition that can apply.

A Pessimist says:

  • This happens all the time
  • Things will never change
  • It is all my fault

An Optimist says:

  • This won’t last forever
  • There is a specific reason for what happened
  • It wasn’t my fault, I just made a mistake and can learn from it

In this context the terms make perfect sense – if you feel like things always suck, will never get better and you are a terrible person because of it then you’re motivation level isn’t going to be super high. I mean, who would want to stick with something hard if there isn’t any hope?

But if you feel like things will get better and you can learn from the experience to help you improve in the long run then you have some hope, which makes it much easier to stick with something.

An Optimist’s mindset is also closely related to the “Growth Mindset” needed to learn. If you see things as a puzzle to be solved rather than a situation to be endured then you will automatically start seeking ways to learn instead of excuses to make yourself feel better.

This also applies to starting a training program (had to tie it into the strength training stuff somehow, right?). Approaching a training program as an opportunity to learn more about how to use your body to its maximum potential is much more interesting than slogging through another workout because “you need to”.

On a side note, I got the idea for this article while reading the book Barking Up the Wrong Tree: The Surprising Science Behind Why Everything You Know About Success Is (Mostly) Wrong by Eric Barker. It’s a great book with lots of insights you can apply to mountain biking and life.

Make sure you’re keeping the right mindset and I guarantee you’ll enjoy the journey more, which will make you more likely to stick with it. While it’s a tough journey, a little optimism can go a long way.

Until next time…

Roll Strong,

James Wilson

MTB Strength Training Systems

MTB Ultimate Program

Let me ask you a questions – Do you struggle to stick with a training program?

Despite your best intentions,does your motivation begin to quickly die and you find it harder and harder to do the workouts you know you need to do?

Well, if you answered “yes” then don’t worry, you’re not alone. Most mountain bikers list “lack of motivation” as one of the top things they struggle with.

This is especially true if you are working out at home.

Since most of us don’t like the gym then the appeal of a home-based workout is obvious – you can do it anytime and you don’t have to deal with “gym people” ruining your workouts.

The drawback, however, is that the motivation to do it all by yourself can be tough to keep up. This isn’t a lack of willpower or a weakness – it is simple human psychology.

We are social animals, like other social animals, we find it hard to do things alone on a consistent basis. This is why studies have shown that having a training partner and/ or coach can help stack the odds in your favor of seeing the training program through.

But what if you don’t have someone to train with or can’t afford to pay someone to coach you every time you workout?

Luckily there is an easy solution – get a “virtual training partner/ coach” that you can watch on a video screen. I know that it sounds funny that an image on a computer screen can help motivate you to show up and train but it’s an easy way to “hack” into your motivation and help stack the odds of success in your favor.

This is why follow-along workouts like P-90X are so popular and effective – they create the sense of having someone there with you, pushing you to do a little bit more than if you were by yourself.

Even cardio training workouts like the popular Sufferfest videos and the new Peloton at-home spin classes make use of this same psychological phenomenon. Having a virtual training partner/ coach goes a long ways towards helping you see the results you want.

The effectiveness of follow-along workouts is also why is why I created the Time Crunched Trail Rider Follow-Along Workouts. They are like “P-90X for mountain bikers” and they are the only follow-along workout programs of their kind.

Designed to be done at home with minimal equipment, all you have to do is hit the Play button and follow along while I become your virtual training partner and coach.

I created workouts based on the most popular at-home training equipment, kettlebells and dumbbells.

The program includes a 12-week Kettlebell Program plus a 12-week Dumbbell Program, letting you choose the best program for you based on the equipment you have.

This gives you 24-weeks worth of workouts that can easily be done at home with minimal equipment – all you need is a single 16 kg KB for the Kettlebell Workouts or a pair of 20-pound dumbbells for the Dumbbell Workouts.

Each workout has a video where I do the workout with you, helping to guide and motivate you along the way. All you have to do is hit the Play button and let me be your coach and training partner.

These workouts are also short and sweet – just 20 minutes is all you need to do a workout, making it easy to fit 2-3 of them into a busy schedule. I know you don’t have a lot of time to waste in the gym so I get you the best results in the least amount of time possible.

So, if you’ve tried other workouts and found it hard to stick with them then you owe it to yourself to try the Time Crunched Trail Rider Follow-Along Workouts. Having a follow-along workout program increases your odds of success and this week you can try the only one made for mountain bikers for only $29.

Click Here to Get the Time Crunched Trail Rider Follow-Along Workouts for only $29.

In addition to 12-weeks of follow-along warm-ups and workouts I’ll share nutrition, mental and skills training lessons with you as well. This program is designed to help you be a more complete rider and helps you tie everything together into a simple, easy to follow plan.

When you invest in the Time Crunched Trail Rider Program you’ll get:

  • 8 Dumbbell AND 8 Kettlebell Follow-Along Workouts
  • 3 Follow-Along Mobility/ Warm Up Routines
  • 3 skills training lessons
  • 3 nutrition lessons
  • 3 mindset lessons
  • Links to all the lessons when you sign up
  • Weekly emails telling you which lesson to focus on that week

No websites to log into, to membership areas to navigate…everything you need will be emailed to you when you need it. All you have to do is click the links and get the results.

Click Here to Get the Time Crunched Trail Rider Follow-Along Workouts for only $29

That’s over 50% off the regular price of $69…but this special price is only available this week.

So let me help you stack the odds in your favor by becoming your “virtual training partner” through the Time Crunched Trail Rider Follow-Along Workouts.

Until next time…

Ride Strong,

James Wilson

MTB Strength Training Systems

Pedaling Innovations

When I first came up with the idea for the Catalyst Pedal I never realized how many types of riders would benefit from them. But as we started to sell more Catalyst Pedals we started to hear from more types of riders who were finding the unique design and foot placement a huge benefit for them.

From triathletes to uni-cyclists, the stories from different users kept coming in. And one of the groups that we were most surprised and honored to hear from were police officers who were using them on their patrol bikes.

I wrote an article a few months ago explaining more about how they were finding the Catalyst Pedals to be an improvement over normal flats and clipless pedals, which you can check out by clicking here.

Since then the officer I interviewed for the article posted an official review of the Catalyst Pedals for the International Police Mountain Bike Association (IPMBA). It was published in their members magazine and on their website and really highlighted a lot of the benefits that people can expect from the pedals.

You can check out the review below:

Link to the Website Review

PDF of the Magazine Review

Police officers need high performance equipment that allows them to function well on and off the bike.
We’re proud to support them with the Catalyst Pedals and hope to be able to support your feet as well.

Until next time…

Ride Strong,

James Wilson

Pedaling Innovations & MTB Strength Training Systems

MTB Skills and Fitness Program

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of being interviewed by B1KER Bar, where I had the chance to share
some thoughts on the pedal stroke, flat pedals and mountain biking in general over a beer with the host
Robert Schumacher.

There were some power outages in his area during the interview but we managed to keep things on
course for the most part. Here is the link to the podcast and video interview, along with his description of
the conversation:

“The man who invented the Pedaling Innovations pedals is a regular mountain biker like the rest of us.

Yes, he has worked as a trainer for many professional athletes including the well known Aaron Gwin.

Yes, he’s been in the bike industry for quite some time.

But it was just a simple question boggling his mind on the trail during a ride that spawned this company.

He was thinking to himself why he needed stiff shoes and a clipless system for good pedaling efficiency
but didn’t need shoes in the gym.

The answer is actually pretty damn logical.  We talk about this and a lot more in this episode of the
B1KER Bar.”

Until next time…

Ride Strong,

James Wilson

MTB Strength Training Systems & Pedaling Innovations

MTB Fitness Membership Program

As the creator of the Catalyst Pedals I get asked a lot about foot position. And this is to be expected – as the first and only pedal designed to optimize the mid-foot position it seems to defy a lot of the common logic used when discussing foot position on the bike.

When talking about foot position on the bike people often point to how you push through the ball of the foot when you jump. The assumption is that since you are doing this to create the force to jump you need to do it as well to create the force to pedal your bike.

Along with this they will point to the fact that you touch the ground first with the ball of the foot when landing from a vertical jump, which they say means you need to be on the ball of the foot to use the ankle when absorbing impacts on the bike.

On the surface this makes sense and it has led to a lot of riders and coaches using and recommending the ball-of-the-foot position. The problem is that while all of this is true for a vertical jump, there is another movement that is basically the same thing, but you never push through or absorb energy through the ball of the foot.

The bodyweight squat uses the same basic movement pattern as the vertical jump but has you create and absorb force through a balanced, mid-foot position and avoid coming up on the toes. The same movement pattern with two different foot positions being used and the only thing that separates them is one thing:

With the vertical jump your foot comes of the ground but during the squat it stays in contact with the ground.

The foot acts in two different ways depending on that one thing and when you look at how our foot it interacting with the bike you see that it is not coming off the pedals and is instead staying in contact with them during the entire pedal stroke.

This means that pedaling your bike is more like a squat than a vertical jump, which means you want to use the same mid-foot position so you can apply force through the whole foot, especially the back of the arch.

In this video I look at this further and demonstrate how the same movement can have two different foot positions and actions. Understanding this and how it applies to riding your bike is one of the keys to getting out of your training and riding.

These is a very important reason that all of this matters – if you are going to do any type of strength training to improve your riding then you want that training to transfer to the bike. It makes no sense to train the body one way in the gym and then ask it to do something different on the bike.

In the gym you are applying good movement principles and that should be the goal on the bike as well. Tradition can be a strong influence but if you look into the science and movement principles for yourself you’ll see that the ball-of-the-foot position and the examples used to promote it don’t hold up.

It’s a new year, be a new rider with a better foot position. Check out to learn more and get a pair of Catalyst Pedals to try out for yourself. Apply a better foot position to the bike and improve your performance and fun on the trail.

Until next time…

Ride Strong,

James Wilson
MTB Strength Training Systems & Pedaling Innovations

MTB Kettlebell Workout

While it seems like common knowledge now, there was a time not too long ago when the words “Hip Hinge” were unknown in mountain bike training circles. Stuck in the bodybuilder inspired stuff left over from the 1990’s, most training routines for riders included a healthy dose of leg presses, leg extensions and leg curls.

In fact, it was this lack of “functional training” for mountain bikers that inspired me to create MTB Strength Training Systems in the first place.

I had been introduced to Functional Training through my time as a track athlete and I knew that it could help me improve my riding. Seeing the results I was getting from it I decided to see if anyone else was interested in it as well, which led to me putting up my first website in 2005 and finding out that there were a lot of riders interested in this stuff.

One of the biggest differences between Bodybuilding and Functional Training is how you break up the body when creating programs. While Bodybuilding trains body parts like Arms, Legs and Back, Functional Training breaks things up into movement patterns like Push, Pull, Squat and Hip Hinge.

One of my first insights into applying Functional Training to mountain biking was that the Hip Hinge was one of the most critical movement patterns for a rider to excel at. Representing your ability to bend at the hips and not the lower back, it was the cornerstone movement pattern for the Attack Position/ DH Position on the bike and for creating power from the hips for bunny hopping and jumping.

Over the years this has become a much more common insight and using now exercises like the Deadlift and KB Swing are commonly used to train the Hip Hinge for riders. You also have a lot of skills coaches who now recognize the need to own this movement pattern off the bike in order to apply it to the bike and coming up with drills and tools to help riders make this connection.

And while this has led to a lot more awareness about the Hip Hinge and its importance, there are still two common mistakes I see riders making that will hold them back on the trail.

In this video I go over some key details of the Hip Hinge, including the two common mistakes I see almost every rider making (seriously, less than 25% of rider pics I see on FB or IG aren’t making one of these two mistakes). I’ll also show you my newest go-to drill to help you immediately improve your Hip Hinge both in the gym and on the bike.

*Please note that this is an uploaded video from a FB Live I did so the video quality isn’t the best but the info more than makes up for it*

Getting your Hip Hinge dialed in is the first step towards improving your power and balance on your bike. Don’t make the mistake so many other riders do and skip over this critical movement skill in order to get to more advanced movements. Use these tips and this drill to help you dial in your Hip Hinge and I guarantee your riding will thank you for it.

Until next time…

Ride Strong,

James Wilson

MTB DB Conditioning Program
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Mountain Bike Coach
James Wilson