You hear a lot of people talk about “flow” and trying to find it on the bike, but what does it really mean? And is it possible to be able to control it to some degree, being able to enter it when you want?
As far as what “flow” is, it can be hard to describe. You know it when you see it or experience it but it can be like trying to describe a mushroom trip or sex…words just fail to really explain it.
However, there are some characteristics of “flow” that seem to be common. Performing effortlessly at a high level without the burden of internal chatter that plagues us most of the time is the best way I can describe it, and those elements seem to common among descriptions of “flow”.
And while describing it can be tough, controlling it can be even tougher. It seems to be a fleeting thing that comes and goes when it pleases.
Getting into the Flow State isn’t voodoo black magic, though. It is something that can be controlled with the right approach.
The main element of the Flow State seems to be the ability to “not think” and just react. Using the conscious brain to direct your actions is a sure way to NOT enter the flow state, making the ability to act on a subconscious level vital.
Somehow you have to get your actions from the top-level conscious brain to the sub-level subconscious brain, and the key to that is practice.
But not just any type of practice will do…it has to be what is called Intentional Practice to count towards this goal. You have to spend time really thinking about what you are doing and how to do it better for your brain to get the chance to “transfer” the control of those movements to the subconscious brain.
Which is where training comes in. Just riding your bike is a lot of fun but it isn’t the best way to train your brain to enter the Flow State. You have to spend time really thinking about how you are moving to make this change.
This is why strength training is one of the best forms of “flow training” you can do. By giving you the environment to really focus on and improve your movement you also allow your brain the chance to move with less conscious thought on the bike as well.
Using strength training as a form of Intentional Practice for your mountain biking is one of the fastest ways I’ve found to improve your riding. No, strength training can replace riding but when done right, it can accelerate your progress much faster than just riding alone.
With that said, it’s time to get to this month’s Workout of the Month. You can download the workout by signing up below. Just enter you email and you’ll get the link to download the PDF to your computer. Each exercise has a link to a video demo so you have everything you need to get going.
Remember to start and end you workout with some sort of mobility routine. It’s important to be moving well before you start training, otherwise you’re just laying fitness on top of dysfunction. You can check out this blog post for a follow-along demo of a good routine to use if you need one.
BTW, you’ll see I incorporate some unique training tools and methods like Ramping Isometrics and the Steel Mace into these workouts. I do provide some alternatives if you don’t have some of the training tools I do but it’s a good way to see how to use these things in a workout.
You can control the Flow State and knowing how to use your on- and off-bike training is the key. Hopefully this month’s workout will help you enjoy a bit more of your own.
Until next time…
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