A persistent myth with mountain bike strength training is that because it is an “endurance sport” then you need to focus on higher reps and lower weights. Using 10-20+ reps per set and the relatively lighter weights they demand is supposed to help build the muscular endurance you need on the trail.

And while this makes sense on the surface, there is a flaw to this logic.

The truth is that most riders would benefit a lot from doing 5 reps or less per set and handling some heavier weights in the process. Far from making them bulky and slow, 5 reps or less would actually make them faster, improve their endurance (yes, you read that right) and create a more injury resistant body.

In this podcast I go over 5 reasons you need to be doing 5 reps or less as part of your strength training program as well as dispel some common myths about “heavy” strength training and give you some ideas on how you can use this concept in your own training.

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Show Notes

– Heavy weights doesn’t mean max effort “powerlifting” type training.

– Like anything else in the gym, you want to spend most of your time at the 80% effort range.

– This will still allow you to lift heavier weights while also minimizing wear-and-tear on the body and chance of injury while lifting.

– 5 Reasons to Use 5 Reps or Less

1 – It helps you focus on your form and execution of each rep which improves movement learning and decreases injury risk.

2 – It doesn’t tax you as hard metabolically, which helps you recover from your riding.

3 – It recruits more muscle fibers which gives you access to more of them when riding, which increases your endurance.

4 – It helps you get stronger without adding excessive muscle mass, which improves your strength-to-weight ratio, and what muscle/ armor you do build will be functional and not just for looks.

5 – Heavy weights create an “armoring” effect where the muscles can flex harder on impact to help absorb energy and protect you when crashing.

– Some ways to use this concept include:

1 – 5 sets of 5 reps (lots of applications of this one)

2 – 5 reps/ 3 reps/ 2 reps increasing weight each set

3 – 2 reps/ 3 reps/ 5 reps using the same weight (rep ladder)

Until next time…

Ride Strong,

James Wilson

MTB Strength Training Systems

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