Why linear periodization doesn’t work for mountain bike training

Linear periodization is by far the most common approach used in designing a long term training program for mountain biking. Although is was revolutionary when it was introduced to the USA in the 60’s and 70’s it is actually a flawed concept for the average mountain biker. Find out why this is and what you can be doing to design a more effective training program.

You can download the MP3 file by visiting http://mtbstrengthcoach.podbean.com/
-James Wilson-

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  1. Karmen says:

    Hey James, thanks for the insight. Good point regarding the peaking and maintaining, especially for those like me that are just getting started – you’re right, I don’t have anytning to maintain yet. Actually I’m quite glad to hear that I just need to keep chugging along with basic programs and don’t need to worry about fancy periodization programs.
    Appreciate all that you do!

    Reply • April 14 at 7:02 pm
  2. Dave says:

    Hi James,

    I tried to download the podcast, but was not directed to your section of podbean.com. When I searched for your podcasts I found them, but this one was not listed.

    Reply • April 15 at 10:05 pm
    • bikejames says:

      I put the www in the link and I guess that is beyond podbean.com’s ability to forward people to the right URL. I fixed the URL in the post, it should work now.

      Reply • April 16 at 6:03 am
  3. Christian says:

    (Great podcast) I totally agree with you when you say the word professional is thrown around! I race in the pro class but am not a professional, and just like you said it’s simply because I have a full time job and don’t have all day to train and ride my bike. Plus I don’t get paid to do it 🙂 I consider myself a little more than average though and ride everyday with the accessional day or two off for recovery. What would you recommend for getting a little closer to the pros that are really pro FOR A LIVING besides quitting my job 🙂 Thanks


    Reply • April 16 at 8:49 am
  4. Greg says:

    Great info as usual James. You have confirmed what I had been thinking reguarding periodization and its applicability to casual riders like myself. Basically stick with your program and repeat for the prescribed number of reps ;-). Thanks!

    Reply • April 17 at 7:10 pm
  5. bikejames says:


    That is an interesting question. The real thing to consider is how far away from doing that are you? Another thing to consider is that very few mountain bikers actually make full blown pro status. Even some of the better known riders still don’t make enough to pay their bills.

    Simply put there is not a ton of money for pros in our sport. Heck, you don’t even get a pair of socks for winning the pro class at a lot of NORBA races.

    I guess my advice would be to be realistic about where you are and what the real possibilities are. You have to pretty much be the cream of the crop to make a real living (the kind where you aren’t living out of your car) while riding your bike. I certainly don’t want to discourage your dream but the reality of making a living racing is not really great.


    Reply • April 20 at 9:19 am
  6. Christian says:

    I hear ya James! I totally agree with you when you say you have to be the cream of the crop! Only the big bike manufactures are paying for world cup riders that are at the top of the pack! So realistically for me to make a living riding and racing mountain bikes is out of the question but I still like competing at that national pro level. I would like to qualify for world cups this year and just shoot for qualifying at Mt. Saint anne or Bromont. I’m pretty sure your training program will help fill in the gaps were I have lacked but do you think I need anything else?

    Thanks for replying James! Greatly Appreciated

    Reply • April 23 at 8:28 am
    • bikejames says:

      I would say that most everything you need would be covered in The Ultimate MTB Workout Program (www.ultimatemtbworkout.com). Certainly let me know if you feel that something is missing, though, as rider feedback helps me improve on all of my programs.


      Reply • April 27 at 7:24 am
  7. Neil says:

    Hi is the “Why linear periodization doesn’t work for mountain bike training“ podcast still available? I cannot find it in the list of podcasts. Thanks

    Reply • September 26 at 3:06 pm

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James Wilson
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James Wilson