In this episode of the BikeJames Podcast I go over the 4 basic physical qualities that make up your physical potential as a mountain biker as well. I also explain what the Specificity Spectrum is and how it applies to these 4 physical qualities as they relate to mountain biking. By understanding where you need to get specific with your training and where you want to stay more general with it you can save a lot of time and energy with your training program.

Until next time…

Ride Strong,

James Wilson

MTB Strength Training Systems and Pedaling Innovations

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Mentioned in this episode:

Why You Should Be Doing 5 Reps or Less

Running for Mountain Biking

Pacing Development Strategy

GPP vs. SPP: Why Riding a Road Bike is Different for Roadies

Show Notes:

– Training for a sport like mountain biking requires a balance of 4 things.

– Flexibility: Your ability to move your joints freely through a full range of motion.

– Strength: Your ability to produce tension in the muscles through a range of motion.

– Power: Your ability to apply force quickly through a range of motion.

– Cardio/ Endurance: Your ability to sustain your strength and power.

– It is the combination of these 4 things that make up your physical potential as a rider.

– As a mountain biker, your goal is to use a program that helps you improve these 4 things as they relate to your needs as a rider.

– However, these 4 things are not equal in the need to apply “sport specific” training to them.

– Trying to apply too much or mis-applying sport specific training can actually hold you back so it is important to understand the best way to apply this concept to these 4 things.

– Flexibility is the most general of all the qualities and almost any type of stretching will help your riding This is one reason that “yoga” can be helpful for mountain bikers.

– Strength is a little more specific and starts to require that we think about some things like postures and stances when picking exercises, although you still see a lot of transfer from just “getting stronger”. This is why the deadlift is popular in almost every sport since the strength gains can transfer to a lot of applications.

– Power requires more specific movements and stances to have a lot of transfer to the bike. This is also where you want to get into true “sport specific training” and use your bike for at least some of your power training.

– Cardio/ Endurance is the most specific of all the qualities, which is why the best cardio training you can do for any sport is to practice your sport. While you can and should use some other forms of cardio training in your program, you can’t build real MTB-specific cardio in the gym or on a trainer.

– As a side note, this is why I don’t like to use things that resemble riding our bikes for cardio training. Using a road bike or something that tries to simulate pumping your bike will actually create competing movement patterns since they aren’t exactly the same as riding your bike. Being “close” is actually worse than not resembling it at all, which is why I recommend running or some other form of movement for your non-specific cardio and using your mountain bike for any and all MTB-specific cardio training on the trainer or road.

– So what does this look like in practice?

– Flexibility: 15 minutes a day with 2 longer sessions during the week.

– Strength Training: 2-3 days a week focusing on building strength in the major movement patterns with a slight emphasis on the Hip Hinge and Single Leg/ Lunge patterns.

– Power Training: 1-2 days a week using sprints (both running and on your bike/ trainer) as well as some exercises in the gym for Upper Body and Single Leg power.

– Cardio/ Endurance Training: Ride your bike with an emphasis on the times and efforts you race at (Pacing Development Strategy) while using some long, slow distance runs to round things out.

– Understanding how to apply the specificity concept to each of these 4 physical qualities can help you from wasting time on things that are either too specific or not specific enough to fit your needs as a mountain biker.

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