I know how you feel – it can be hard to believe that you can dramatically improve your skills and fitness in just a few hours of training a week. I mean, most cardio training plans call for you to spend several hours a week on a trainer or on the road, not to mention the strength training, mobility training and skills training you have to fit in.
Oh yeah, and don’t forget you need to ride your bike.
Sometimes it can seem like we took up mountain biking so we could spend a lot of time training instead of actually riding our bikes.
Like I said in my last email, I used to be one of those riders who spent hours a day, every day, working on all of the different things I was told I needed to be a good rider. And I wasn’t even interested in competing, I just wanted to have more fun and stop being the last guy in my group.
But, like I found out, it doesn’t have to be this way. I discovered a simple system that has helped me and my clients see better results in much less training time.
And right now I’m going to share it with you so let’s go over it together right now.
If you want to improve your skills and fitness so you can ride faster, longer and with more confidence on the trail here is exactly what I do every time with my clients:
Step 1 – Improve how you move off of the bike.
Look, I can explain to you all day long how to execute a skill. You can watch me do it over and over.
But if you can’t physically get your body into the right positions and postures then it doesn’t matter.
In my experience most riders don’t have an issue with their technique on the bike, they have a movement issue off of the bike. By improving your movement quality and strength levels in the specific movement patterns used on the bike you can improve your balance and skills at a much faster and easier rate.
Step 2 – Understand and practice how to apply that improved movement to the bike.
Once you know how to move better you need to know how to apply that movement to the bike. And this is where my system of teaching skills starts to deviate from the standard methods.
Instead of trying to teach you how a skill should “look” I teach you how it should “feel”. By using strength and mobility exercises to improve your mind-muscle connection you give your brain an important shortcut to learning bike skills on a deeper level.
This is because our brain processes feeling much faster than it can conscious thought. Only by going beyond a checklist can you internalize a skill well enough to use it consistently on the trail.
While you still need to use some parking lot/ driveway drills and think about the “steps”, you don’t need to spend countless hours working on it. If you can move right in the first place (Step 1), then it doesn’t take long to figure out how to transfer that movement to the bike once you know how.
This was a huge revelation for me. Once I stopped focusing so much on how to move my bike and focused more on how to move my body my technical skill level really took off and I found it much easier to teach those skills to other riders as well.
Step 3 – Use focused trail rides to tie it all together in the most “sport specific” training possible.
The biggest mistake I see mountain bikers make is not making smart use of their riding time. We seem to forget that riding our mountain bikes is the most important “sport specific” training/ cardio we can do.
The reason is that we can practice the actual skills we need on the trail, which is what conditions our brain and body to perform those skills on the trail. You don’t become a better rider in the gym or by doing drills in a parking lot or driveway (although those are important steps), you become a better rider by riding your bike on the trail.
Only by making smart, focused use of your trail time can you expect to become a better rider. And this means that you need to have a Skills Focus for that month and a plan for which rides will be Hard Rides to build cardio/ endurance and which ones will be Moderate Skills Focused Rides to build our trail specific skills (hint: most of them should be Moderate Skills Focused Rides).
So there you have it, the simple 3 step system where I integrate everything you are doing and focusing it on a specific goal for 30 days. And this is the “secret method” I was talking about in my last email that is well known in other sports but not so popular in ours.
A lot of sports understand the need to integrate everything together. Instead of picking a strength program from one place, a cardio program from another place and a skills training program from yet another, you’ll find all of these things being thought of and planned out together.
This integrated approach saves a lot of time and energy, which is how you can see better results in less training time.
Plus, it is a lot more fun since the centerpiece of your training program is actually riding your bike and the other components are there to support it, not compete with it.
So, to show you how this concept of integrating everything you do into a single program and focusing on movement quality both on and off the bike I want to share one of my very best webinars with you.
In this webinar I’ll show you the right way to Manual and Bunny Hop your bike. It is a replay of a webinar I did for my Group Coaching Program and has never been available to the public.
There is a lot of confusion about the best way to execute this skill and 90%+ of riders I have worked worth were shown the wrong way to do it. So keep an eye out for my next email showing you the right way to Manual and what you can expect when you start to apply my simple 3 step system to your own riding.
MTB Strength Training Systems
p.s. If you think that Manualing your bike requires you to “throw your shoulders back” or “reverse head butt someone” then this video will be a real eye-opener for you. I used to do – and teach – the same thing but I’ve realized that this technique is actually all wrong.
So tomorrow I’ll show you the right way to execute this skill. Once you see the right way to execute this skill you’ll see how easy it really is.
Plus, you’ll see how you can improve any skill through smart training, focused practice and smart use of your riding time.