Combo drills are a great way to build strength endurance and cardio capacity while using strength training exercises that work on movement skills we need on the trail. They are also excellent for increasing your coordination between different movements, another skill that will serve you well on the trail. Since trail riding requires a high degree of strength endurance and the ability to combine basic movement skills into more complex ones, combo drills are an essential part of a mountain bikers training program.

Here are three combo drills using my two favorite tools, the TRX and kettlebells, which I use in my facility to help the riders I train ride faster, longer and with more confidence on the trail:

– Single Arm TRX Row with Chest Press to Overhead Hold: This unique exercise is a great way to build rowing, pressing and shoulder mobility/ stability in one exercise. By adding in a chest press at the bottom of the row and then holding the weight overhead as you execute your row you are able to target everything you need for a strong, stable shoulder girdle while increasing your upper body coordination.

– TRX Lunge with Shoulder Press: While adding a shoulder press to a TRX Lunge is nothing new, I like to take it up a notch by adding in the shoulder press at the bottom of the lunge. By doing the shoulder press in this much less stable position you increase the core stabilization demands and your balance in the split stance position, which is very specific to what we need on the trail.

– TRX Bridge with Guard Press: The TRX Bridge takes the regular bridge up a few dozen notches by itself…add in a guard press while your hips are locked out at the top position and you tie in the upper body to this already excellent exercise. This builds hip and core stability and ties it into upper body pressing, a skill that will serve you well when navigating through rough, technical downhill trails.

If you’re looking for a new challenge in your current workout then try adding in one or two of these combo drills. When using combo drills in your program remember that every rep you do is really like doing two reps, so keep them relatively low. Depending on the combo drill I usually keep the reps in the 6-12 range so that my riders can keep their movement quality high. How you execute the exercises is always more important than how many you do and this is especially true with high fatigue exercises like combo drills.

-James Wilson-

4 thoughts on “Combo Drills with the TRX and Kettlebells

  1. EJ says:

    James,

    Been looking forward to the production release of your pedals, ever since I saw the prototypes this summer. I am already a flats guy, but these pedals are intriguing. As I have been taking training more seriously and not just trail riding, I have found that I am regularly experiencing quadricep cramping and patella pain. I am hoping that by continually improving my stroke (with your pedals) and strength I will begin to engage my hips/glutes.

    My question is: With your new pedals, have you considered if there are any changes to traditional bike fit guidelines? Specifically, saddle fore/aft positioning. Does the plumb bob method of having crank parallel to ground and a string hanging from the knee intersecting the ball of the foot still apply?

    Thanks in advance,
    EJ

  2. EJ says:

    James,

    Been looking forward to the production release of your pedals, ever since I saw the prototypes this summer. I am already a flats guy, but these pedals are intriguing. As I have been taking training more seriously and not just trail riding, I have found that I am regularly experiencing quadricep cramping and patella pain. I am hoping that by continually improving my stroke (with your pedals) and strength I will begin to engage my hips/glutes.

    My question is: With your new pedals, have you considered if there are any changes to traditional bike fit guidelines? Specifically, saddle fore/aft positioning. Does the plumb bob method of having crank parallel to ground and a string hanging from the knee intersecting the ball of the foot still apply?

    Thanks in advance,
    EJ

    • bikejames says:

      I think that bike fits are vastly overrated for mountain biking as is. Since you should be standing up when things get hard then it doesn’t matter as much – when you stand you have a much better “fit” than sitting down. If you use sitting down as a power position and run a lot of tension through your legs in that Adult Fetal Position then measurement matter more but all in all they are way over blown.

      Just find what is comfortable. You may have to change things slightly – I didn’t – to feel comfortable but after that just ride your bike. Seated pedaling is a turd and you can polish that turd all you want but it is still a turd. Find what is comfortable sitting down and use standing pedaling as your power position and you’ll be fine.

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