One of my favorite ways to build strength and endurance for the demands of trail riding are combo drills. By combining several challenging exercises into one continuous circuit you can work on vital movement skills while building strength and endurance, making them a very valuable weapon in the mountain bikers training arsenal.

While I’ve been using combo drills in my program for a while now, I recently came across a new technique that adds another way to use this method. Weight ladders are when you use 3 different sets of dumbbells for your combo drill – one set that is a little light, one that is just right and one that is a bit heavy.

By working your way up the ladder you are able to keep your movement quality high while exposing your body to different loads, allowing you to learn control and gain exposure to a heavier load. Here is a simple but effective combo drill using this method:

– DB Push Press X 5 reps (3-5 reps on the heaviest rung)

– DB Front Squat X 5 reps (3-5 reps on the heaviest rung)

– Renegade Rows X 5 reps (3-5 reps on the heaviest rung)

Each time you finish the combo drill you move to the next rung on the ladder until you have worked your way to the highest “rung” and then starting over again at the lowest rung. There are two ways to use this method:

1) You can work for a specified period of time and see how many times you can work through the ladder. For example, set a timer for 2 minutes, get through the ladder as many times as you can before resting for a 1 minute and repeating 3 times.

2) You can set a certain number of times your want to work through the ladder. For example, see how long it takes you to get through the ladder 5 times and then try to beat that record the next time you train.

This method is a great way to add some variety to your workouts while getting a lot of high quality work in. Try adding this in at the end of your workout and enjoy the results on the trail!

-James Wilson-

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