One of the hardest things for me about the riding season is finding the time and energy for all the great riding to be had and the training I need to avoid injuries or a late season slump. The irony is that as much as I prefer to ride my bike, if I don’t do some sort of training during the riding season then my performance will suffer.
This is a lesson I have both learned the hard way myself and seen countless examples off when working with other riders. Hopefully it isn’t something you’ve had to deal with yourself yet but let me tell, nothing sucks worse that watching part of your riding season wasted to a nagging injury or physical burn-out.
Or, worse yet, is when you sabotage yourself with the same training program you thought would keep you riding strong all season long.
Most of the time these programs look like a miserable, face-grinding experience which suck your joy and motivation…and who needs that?
So, what you need is a comfortable middle ground. Just enough to get the results but not enough to take away from your riding and fun.
Which is where my 3 favorite In-Season Training Tactics come in. By using 1 or more of these tactics you can make sure your In-Season Training is doing enough to keep you riding strong without beating you up or taking a ton of time in the process.
Top 3 In-Season Training Tactics
1 – Bodyweight Training and Crawling. During the riding season your joints are taking a pounding and you are losing mobility from being in the same positions and using the same muscles over and over again. This means you need a way to stay strong and mobile without adding a lot of strain to an already over-worked body.
This is where Bodyweight Training and Crawling really shine. They let you improve your core strength, coordination, body awareness, mobility and durability without putting a lot of strain on your joints. Plus, you can do this type of training anywhere since you don’t need any equipment, making it perfect for riders who prefer to train at home or travel a lot.
2 – Light/ Moderate/ Hard Workout Cycling. One of the secrets that pro riders know is that you can’t just ride and train at the same intensity level all of the time. In fact, you can rarely train at the same intensity level for two consecutive workouts, which makes cycling the intensity of your workouts a must.
By using Light, Moderate and Hard workouts you can cycle the intensity of the workouts over the course of the week and month so you can spread the training load out with you riding and racing schedule. By having Light workouts near hard rides/ races and Hard workouts when you have some time to recover (with a lot of Moderate workouts sprinkled in) you make the best use of the time and energy you have without compromising your performance on the trail.
3 – Escalating Density Training (EDT). Most programs will give you a prescribed number of sets and reps to do for each exercise, which leaves little room for being able to easily adjust the workout based on your energy levels. With EDT you go for a prescribed amount of time for each circuit (usually 5-10 minutes) and you have a rep range to choose from for each exercise. Your only goal is to count the total number of reps for each exercise and try to beat it the next time you do the workout. Since the sets and reps used are up to you, you can adjust your approach based on your energy levels – fewer reps and more sets to keep it easier and more reps and fewer sets to add more challenge.
In-Season Training shouldn’t be complicated or hard. Using a simple approach that allows you to be consistent and compliments your training is the most important thing.
Just like on the trail, the most important thing is to find and keep your balance. Hopefully this post has given you some motivation and ideas for your In-Season Training Program.
Until next time…
MTB Strength Training Systems
p.s. Over the last couple of years I have created some workouts that combine all 3 of these tactics, usually for private training clients when they were traveling. This is why I know these tactics work – I’ve used them myself and seen what they can do for other riders.
On Friday I’ll be releasing a collection of these workouts for the first time, giving you an easy way to start using these tactics yourself. So keep an eye out for my newsletter on Friday with more details on how this new In-Season Bodyweight Training Program can help you.