With the 2014 racing calendar filling up fast, no matter if you are looking to race internationally, or just want to scare your mates up your local climb, the time for getting into shape is now! There is nothing better than coming out of winter, fit and strong, and ready to fully enjoy those warm summer trails. To help you with this Dee Tidwell, the Owner of Enduro’s first and only Enduro specific training company, will be sharing some amazing training advice with you.
Enduro MTB Training (EMT) is based out of Denver, CO, and is the “Official Traning and Soft Tissue Therapist provider” for Yeti Cycles and the Big Mountain Enduro Series. Over the 23 years in the fitness & performance business, Dee has been the coach for some of the best athletes in the world, including: Pro DH, Moto/Supercross racers, Pro/Olympic snowboarders, and PGA Tour players. In part one of this exciting new series Dee starts to help build your performance pyramid!
Enduro MTB Training Part 1: Fixing the cracks!
Let’s face it; Enduro is the most exciting mountain bike race format to come along since DH racing started many moons ago. I mean, where else can you get the excitement, treachery, danger and speed from downhill, and the grueling cardio, lung-burning transition stages all thrown together in a multi-stage, multi-day race format… simply awesome!
Like you, MTB’ing is a major part of my life. I think about it all the time, I visual lines on the local trails I’ve ridden a million times here in Denver, I dream about new parts, and, of course, I constantly think about how to be faster! And in wanting to be faster, it is easier to think, “Oh, I need the next latest and greatest fork, shock, wheel set, etc. Maybe a “one by” set up will help, or a new pair of Maxxis tires?
Well, as much as we both know that having some of those things CAN help make you faster, the sad reality is that you’re still going to be limited by your physical skills and fitness level! Ooooo, I know some of you hate to hear that, and are probably saying to your self, “I don’t train, I just ride all the time and I’m the fastest guy I know!”
I get that argument, but it was also the argument that most pro snowboarders were making when I started working with some of the worlds best half pipe riders back in 2003, but now look where they are as a sport… they all train hard, and because of that, snowboarding has forever changed. Funny thing is that the same thing was said by most pro super cross racers back in 2000. Not many of those guys were working out, but now, every single one of them has training and conditioning coaches, and I don’t know if you’ve watched super or motocross, but WOW they’re going freaky fast!
And yet again, in 2004 when I started working with PGA tour players, only 20% of the players trained on a regular basis with five of us trainers on tour. Today, 95% of players have an entire staff that helps them perform their best!
Well guess what?
Now it’s time for the next revolution to take place in MTB’ing, and that’s training for Enduro, which is why I created www.enduromtbtraining.com.
I mean, with the first year of the Enduro World Series and them crowning a “first ever champion” this year, as well as our own Big Mountain Enduro series finishing up a HUGELY successful year this year (and recognized as the biggest North American Enduro series), Enduro is here to stay and it’s only going to get bigger, better and badder!
In fact, check out what Enduro World Series director Chris Ball said recently,
“The Enduro World Series’ 2014 search for the world’s best all around mountain biker will take us all over the world, into varying terrain and spectacularly diverse environments. We’re excited to be able to branch into two new countries in our second year and create a series of races that will cross oceans and hemispheres, and grow the community of global enduro mountain bike riders and fans.”
So… what about you?
Where are you at? What do you want to do in Enduro?
Perhaps you’re an ex-XC racer looking to get into Enduro, where you’ll do just fine in the transitions, but may suffer and have some difficulty in the DH sections?
Maybe you’re a DH’er, BMX or DJ’er, and you’re looking to get into Enduro racing but may not be strong in the cardio strength and endurance aspect of things, or the overall fatigue that you can experience in the DH stages?Well, here’s what I can tell you… in order to be fast in enduro racing, you need a combo of stability, mobility, strength and power. Because unlike the cycling training community, I believe that Enduro is a whole other bag of tricks! Seriously, think about how much goes into a successful Enduro race. It involves a huge amount of strength, stamina, balance, coordination, stability, bike handling skills, fuel management challenges and recovery techniques that will all be different than most anything we’ve ever done in MTB training! Then, on top of it, you must be able to “keep all this together” for multiple stages over multiple days!
So, “how should it be done,” you ask?
Great question! There is one way to get there, and we call it our “Performance Pyramid,” and it’s the way we’ve built our athletes for over 20 years!
Think of it as building athleticism from the ground, up. After all, we MTB’ers are athletes and we have to train that way. Here’s how we at enduromtbtraining.com look at it:
We call it our, “Performance Pyramid.”
“And it goes a little something like this…”
First, Program #1, the green section of the “Performance Pyramid,” is “Rebuild and Restore,” and it’s where we fix the cracks in the foundation so to speak. This, to me, is where most athletes don’t spend enough time because it seems “too easy.” Yes, it may seem easy, but the goal is to identify weaknesses, instability, inflexibility’s and immobility’s in your body, and then fix those issues with a properly prescribed program that will help create a really strong foundation to build upon in the coming phases.
After all, YOUR performance pyramid is only as strong as the base is wide!
Because we riders spend so much time in flexion, and if you work at a desk as well, we need to counter balance it by working hard to reduce the amount of flexion by hitting the areas that get tight. One big area of issue is the Thorax, a.k.a., the rib cage. If you rib cage is rounded forward, then it will create dysfunctional shoulder movement, which will decrease the power created at your handlebars and it transferring to your lower body, and thus peddle-power.
The other BIG concern about a rounded forward rib cage is how it will affect breathing mechanics! This is HUGE! When you have this position, it will affect your ability to have access to the lower lobes of your lungs where much of your O2 transfer occurs! So try these few moves to help improve your posture and position of your ribcage:
1- Foam Roller for the entire back-
How to- Simply lay on top of a foam roller and grab behind your neck to support the head, then move from the bottom of the rib cage to the base of the neck. You can also put more pressure on one side or the other to place more emphasis on tissue on that side vs the other.
Now that you’ve rolled our your entire back, we want to stretch our your chest muscles, which, play a major role in creating the rounded shoulders look. Since your chest attaches at your sternum and to the front of your arm, if it gets tight, it will roll those shoulders forward.
The next move, the Chest Stretch, will help lengthen the chest muscles which will allow for your shoulders to get into that “up and back” position that contribute to good non-rounded shoulders.
2- Exercise Ball Chest Stretch-
How to- Start by placing arm on a ball with elbow at a 90-degree angle. Make sure hips and knees are at a 90-degree angle also.
Then: 1. Relax into your stretch by lowering your upper body toward the floor, then RELAX for 5 seconds.
2. After you relax for 5 seconds, CONTRACT by pushing the arm into the ball with a 20% effort like you are trying to squish the ball into the floor. Hold for 5 seconds. THIS IS ONE SEQUENCE! NOW REPEAT THIS SEQUENCE 2-4 MORE TIMES.
Ok, now that we’ve “stretched” a few of the areas that contribute to poor posture and rounded shoulders, let’s do a few exercises that will help your brain learn this new, upright posture position.
1- Bird Dog with or without band resistance:
Start on your hands and knees with your knees under your hips and your wrists under your shoulders, and your spine neutral, head neutral. Master this move without the resistance first! With your left arm, lift it off the floor at a 30 degree angle from your body and your thumb up, the slowly straighten your leg, without changing your lower back! Alternate sides. Do 1-3 sets of 8-12 reps each side.
2- Prone Cobra:
Lie on your stomach (prone) and place your arms at a 45-degree angle from your body, palms facing forward and head neutral.
Now lift your upper body off the floor and squeeze your shoulder blades together- down and back. Think about the shoulder blades lifting and holding your arms in that position. Also be sure to think about your left and right arms and shoulders working equally, and not one side higher than the other. Work up to 3 sets of 1-minute holds.
Now Program #2, the yellow section of the “Performance Pyramid,” has a focus on Stability and Mobility, BUT the difference from the first program is; now we begin to move toward more “movement pattern” re-education by utilizing the newfound flexibility freedom and posture platform that was created in Program #1. Not only are we moving toward movement pattern re-education, in program #2, but it has been set up to build muscle, strengthen tendons and strengthen up the postural system even more.
Because, you see, before you create strength (Program #3) and then power (Program #4), it is essential to create “hypertrophy” aka, muscle growth, so that the muscles are prepared to handle the stresses of strength and power training.
So here are a few exercises you can do to help you get more “postural strong,” as well as ramp up your body’s ability to move better on and off the bike:
Lateral Ball Roll:
On the lateral ball roll, lay on top of the ball so your head and shoulders are firmly on top of the ball and that your face is parallel to the floor. With your arms out to your side and your knees at 90 degrees, suck in your belly button and hold your hips to the sky with your glutes.
NOW, keeping your arms in a stable, stretched out position (like pics), and your body in a cross looking position; transfer your body to one side of the ball while maintaining the cross position, then shuffle your feet and transfer your body to the other side of the ball. Repeat.
Do 2-3 sets of 8-12 each side.
2- ½ Kneeling Chop- Bottom-up
Start with your band or cable at a low attachment point, in a kneeling position with your outside knee up, and grab the band or cable with both hands, palms down, about shoulders width apart.
Keeping your belly drawn toward your spine, rotate your torso and lift the band or cable at a 45 degree upward motion, pulling with your outside hand. Stay in posture the entire time without letting your hips move. You can either keep your head still, or move it like in the picture.
Do 2-3 sets of 12-15 reps each side.
3- Box lunge- backward
Find a sturdy box or stair to stand on that’s about 8-12 in high. Stand on top of the box, and while maintaining a neutral spine and with belly button drawn in to spine for stability, perform a lunge pattern where you step backward off the box, but DON’T place any weight on the foot that is reaching for the ground (like the picture). You want to hinge through your hip to make this move happen, which means your upper body will counter-balance the backward move of your leg. Use your arms to add further balance and counter-balance. BE SURE THE MIDDLE OF THE KNEECAP is tracking over the 2nd toe, AND DON”T let it dive inward or outward. Go only as low as you can maintain perfect form!!
And, do 6-8 extra reps on the weaker leg. Do 1-3 sets of 8-15 reps each leg.
Ok, there you go for now!
You should be able to use these moves to help you not only move better on your bike, but off your bike as well! Do this for the next 6 weeks regularly and you’ll notice a difference in your posture, stability and baseline strength!
If we can serve you in anyway, please contact us by going to our website at www.enduromtbtraining.com, to get more info and follow our blog. Don’t forget to like us on Facebook, and Twitter, and be sure to send us an email with any questions!
Oh, and if you want the full “Ultimate Enduro MTB Training” program, click here.
Till then, get ready, cause we’re going to help Enduro racers and MTB’ers take their riding to a completely new level… will you be one of them?
Ride hard and fast.
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