May
27

Mini-Skills Clinics for your next trail ride.

So it is Memorial day here in the US, which is when we take a day off from work to kick off summer and recognize the contributions of those who have served in our military. First, let me say thanks to all of those reading this who have served or have family that served our country – without your dedication and support we wouldn’t live in the greatest country on earth.

Since a lot of you are getting the day off today I know that there will be a whole lot of riding going on as well. This means that I’m not going to waste your time with a long blog post, just something quick to help you out on the trail.

Below you’ll find links to posts and videos on some of the basic skills you’ll be using on the trail. If you need a refresher on your technique or want something new to try out on your next ride then check out the skill you want to see more about.

Body Position

Pedaling

Cornering

Manualing

There you go, a mini-skills clinic in case you need it. Hope you enjoy the posts and your next ride, have a safe holiday and I’ll be in touch Wednesday with more great tips to help you enjoy riding more.

BTW, if you haven’t done so already you can get access to more FREE skills clinic videos by signing up at www.mtbskillsandfitness.com.

-James Wilson-

90 Day MTB Skills & Fitness Program

90 Day MTB Skills & Fitness ProgramLearn how to permanently fix the bad movement habits that are really keeping you from improving your mountain bike skills. It isn’t “bad technique” that’s stopping you from improving your mountain bike skills. This program will fix the real cause - bad movement habits you don’t even realize are holding you back on the trail. Improve your performance and safety on the trail in just 90 days with the only workouts designed to integrate mobility, strength and skills drills.
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  1. Janno says:

    Hi James,
    First of all- thank you very much for the valuable input that you are providing in your blog posts and training plans. I’ve started to see several aspects in MTB riding in a completely new light and I’m very happy about it. But one question has tempted me for some time now.
    Recently, after installing a wider handlebar to my bike, I’ve been
    struggling to find a good body position on the bike and beside other articles in the web have read also your postings about proper body position on the bike. While after some testing I think I am almost there now, I have difficulties in understanding why the same doesn’t apply for many of the top riders. If looking at a few examples like Christoph Sauser (world champion in
    XC maraton) and Jaroslav Kulhavy (last few years the nr1 XC racer)- it’s a bit painful to even look at their back being arched like a bow on hard uphills and their shoulders seem to be very tight, if looking at their body position when standing and giving interviews after another victories. Also the good riders in my hometracks look far from being perfect in terms of body and back position, but despite that they ride fast like crazy and doesn’t seem to have any problems with their backs. This has made me think if the spine position is really that important in terms of power transfer and this area might be overstated? If the best athletes in the world in this discipline are riding with such an arched spines and win the world cup’s, then I can’t find good arguments here…

    Reply • July 2 at 12:14 am
    • bikejames bikejames says:

      This is a great question and one I think I’ll dive into in more detail in a future podcast but I’ll throw a few things out there for you to consider.

      1) Pro athletes often compromise their body to achieve the highest levels of performance. High level sport is not about health and the truth is that pro riders suffer from a lot of overuse injuries and joint pain. The body position that may lend itself to a short term performance gain can also lead to long term joint damage and movement issues. They make this trade off willingly because they pay their bills doing it. If you don’t ride professionally you need to consider your overall movement and health, in which case applying this fundamental movement patterns I talk about to the bike is very important.

      2) Pros “cheat” differently than amateurs. You’ll see this same thing in pro Powerlifting – if you watch a top level pro pull his max his back is far more rounded than what I talk about in my videos. But if you look at where the pro lifter (and rider) bends it tends to be much less in the lower back and more through the upper back. This still isn’t optimal posture from a long term health perspective but it places much less strain on the lower back and results in more leg power than the rounded lower back posture you see in amateurs. There is a saying that it is alright to break the rules once you know what the rules are and in this case most riders need to learn basic body position before they start worrying about adopting performance specific postures seen in pro levels.

      3) I’m not sure that they wouldn’t do even better if they did pay more attention to their posture on the bike. The truth is that just because the pros do doesn’t mean it is the best way to do it. You can look at the high jump for a recent example of this – it wasn’t too long ago that the Olympics and World Championships were being won with what we not recognize as an inferior high jump technique. The world of sport is littered with examples of the “best” way simply being the best we knew at the time.

      So, hopefully I’ve given you some good arguments for avoiding the posture you in the pro XC riders unless you are paying your bills based on your performance in an XC race, and even then you’d still want to focus on this for the sake of longevity and making sure that you are still “cheating” as efficiently as possible.

      Also, check out these article I wrote on the 4 Quadrants of Training and how they apply to mountain biking. I think they will help you better understand why you need an approach that is very different than the pro/ Quadrant 4 rider:

      Dan John’s 4 Quadrants of Training

      Applying the 4 Quadrants of Training to Mountain Biking

      Reply • July 3 at 9:43 am

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James Wilson