As I lay on the ground trying to get my legs to stop shaking I was dumbfounded at what had just happened.
In just 90 seconds, without moving an inch, I had just reached a level of tension in the deadlift that I didn’t know was possible, taking my muscles to the edge of their limits and further than I had ever taken them before…all with almost zero risk of injury.
The small, unassuming man in his 60’s standing at the front of the room just looked around and smiled. He knew what we were experiencing, which was disbelief that what he had just put us through could be so hard.
The man with the amused look was Steve Maxwell, a legend in the fitness field and someone who has experienced just about every training method under the sun. Steve was teaching a seminar on Ramping Isometrics, which is what I had just experienced.
By the end of the seminar I was a believer. Ramping Isometrics held the key to the next evolution of my training programs and I left ready to commit to using them for the next few months to see how things went.
And after 8+ months of doing them twice a week I’m more convinced than ever than Ramping Isometrics are a vital part to getting stronger as a mountain biker. They help you improve in 3 important ways that are vital to your performance on the trail…
1 – They teach you how to improve the skill of creating tension.
The skills of creating tension has two parts – 1) the ability to generate the highest levels of tension possible and 2) the ability to control your tension “knob”.
2 – They improve your High Tension Cardio/ ability to breathe under tension.
Since they last for up to 90 seconds you have to control your breathing as the tension levels increase. This also works on your cardio systems ability to fuel higher levels of sustained tension more efficiently.
3 – They let you build strength in a safe, joint friendly way.
Because you are not moving you greatly decrease the risk of injury. You also decrease the stress on the joints since you aren’t relying on the mechanical stress of lifting a weight but instead on the metabolic stress of fueling the tension.
Now the warning, though. Ramping Isometrics aren’t easy. They can be a mental grind and they aren’t going to win any awards as the Hot New Fitness Trend.
Plus, it will probably take doing Ramping Isometrics a couple of times before they start to make sense. Most people struggle with knowing how to create optimal tension and how to ramp it up so give it a coupe of workouts before drawing too many conclusions.
But they do work, so if results are what you’re after then they are a must to add to your program.
So, what are Ramping Isometrics and how can you start using them to help your riding?
For starters, you can check out this BikeJames Podcast where I covered Ramping Isometrics and went into detail about how to do them and why they are so effective.
You can also watch this video I shot a sharing my 3 favorites Ramping Isometric Exercises for Mountain Biking, where I also cover how to perform Ramping Isometric Exercises.
So there’s your challenge…give these exercises a try for the next 3 workouts and see what you think. If you’re like me you’ll realize that you’ve found a vital new part of your training program.
Until next time…
MTB Strength Training Systems