For some riders, the term “off season” is a dirty word. They scoff at the idea of taking time off of their bike, especially if they live somewhere that they can ride all year round.

But this attitude is usually the result of a misunderstanding of what an “off season” is. While there are a lot of ways to apply the concept, at the heart of it is having a dedicated period of time where you prioritize improving your athletic potential off of the bike.

The most common examples of this are riders who will whole up in their basement pounding out the miles on their trainers and/ or spending countless hours in the gym training like CrossFitters or powerlifters in an attempt to improve their cardio and strength.

And this is the image that most mountain bikers are rebelling against. We became mountain bikers because we aren’t roadies or gym rats at heart and turning into one in the name of “off season training” isn’t very appealing.

The truth is, though, that there are a lot of ways to apply the off season concept. You can and should try to ride your bike as much as possible. You just switch the ratios of on- to off-bike training.

Think of it like a dial, with one extreme being all riding and no off-bike training and the other extreme being no trail riding and everything being done on a trainer or in the gym. The problem is that riders tend to think that they have to live at one extreme or the other instead of realizing that they dial things in to suit their goals and preferences.

In my experience, for most riders getting 2-3 days of strength training and 15-30 minutes of daily mobility works great while leaving time and energy for riding your bike as well. If you can’t ride for some reason then filling in those gaps with more cardio training or other options makes sense. But if you can ride your bike 1-2 times a week then this plan works just fine.

Which leads us to this month’s Workout of the Month. I’ve got a new format this month, which is the fusion of the two types of workouts I was doing before. It combines a new type of Isometric Training with more traditional Kettlebell/ Dumbbell exercises to create a new type of workout that I know you’ll find challenging.

This new type of Isometric Training I’m using doesn’t require any special equipment so everyone can use them. This new type of workout that combines easily accessible Isometric Training with more traditional Movement Based Training is something I know you’ll get a lot out of and I’m looking forward to getting your feedback on it.

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It’s cliche at this point but how you perform next riding season depends a lot on the choices that you make right now. Help your future self out and make some decisions that help improve your strength and mobility off of the bike so they can have more fun on the bike in a few months. Using a good MTB specific workout like this month’s workout or one of the other program options I have at www.bikejames.com will help you do just that.

Until next time…

Ride Strong,

James Wilson

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