We hope you found value in part one of the Ultimate Enduro MTB Training Program from Dee Tidwell, the Owner of Enduro’s first and only Enduro specific training company. If you have done the stretches and exercises that he recommended, you will have been given a ‘glimpse’ of what better posture and stability can do for your riding!
This time, in part 2, he’ll finish up the “Performance Pyramid” by explaining the goals of Program #3 and #4.
But first, to recap, in Program #1, our goal was to “Rebuild and Restore” your posture, joint mobility, muscle flexibility and core stability.
The focus of Program #2’ was to “Stabilize and Mobilize,” where more time is spent working on stability for the core and posture, as well as making your body move better with more of a focus on movement programming.
Now for Program #3, were going to take the gains of the exercises from program #1 and #2, and build on the stability created, and begin the ORANGE section of the Performance Pyramid, “Grow and Strengthen.”
Here, one of our goals is to really strengthen the body’s connection tissues, especially muscle tendons. Tendons are the two ends of each muscle that attach to each end of the bone. Part of overall stability is not just muscle stability, but also the strength of the muscle attachments, which directly helps prevent injury during crashes.
Another aspect of this third program is the development of the nervous system as well as muscle growth. Nerve and muscle growth are important to building strength and power because they become an outward expression of the training that has gone on at the nerve and muscle fiber level. We do this by challenging the muscle system, strengthening your balance, coordination and pushing that nervous system to another level.
Nerve and muscle fiber growth = better movement and muscle growth. It is this combination that ultimately leads to the ability to create strength and power!
Now, let’s take a quick second here and say to our female riders out there… you will not and can not grow big bulky muscles like men, period! So ladies… don’t freak out thinking that you’re going to get, “all big and bulky” by doing a strength training program!
Will your muscles grow?
Yes they will, but compare the top female racers in the world to a female bodybuilder and none of them look like bulky beasts on their bikes, yet they can be just as strong!
Now, understanding that, let me show you a few beneficial strength exercises you can do.
1 – Prone Jack Knife
I love the Prone Jack Knife because of its core-strengthening component in a movement that is crucial to our success as enduro and riding athletes, and that’s the hip hinge. We MUST have a good ability to hinge properly through the hip joints, or our lower back, upper back and hamstrings will get over worked, possibly injured, AND become a huge power leak!
This exercise also places a bunch of “time under tension” stress for the chest, shoulders and triceps, which means you have to hold yourself in that position… just like riding.
Put your hands on the floor and your shins on top of the ball. Make sure to have good posture in this starting position!Then slowly draw your knees toward your chest, pulling the knees in with your abs. Pause, then return to start position.
Do: 2-3 sets of 10-15 reps
2 – Single Arm Cable row in Kneeling Position
The single arm cable row trains the Lat muscle and the posterior shoulder musculature, all very important as they are the muscles that will be the ones transferring the “handlebar pulling” power from the hands, through the body and ultimately to the pedals!
Get into a kneeling position in front of a cable machine (or by using a band attached to the top of a door). Lean back to about 20 degrees and hold the position, then pull one arm down at a time while the other remains in the start position. Be sure to get a good shoulder blade squeeze when the arm is in the pull down position. Repeat.
Do- 2-3 sets of 10-15 reps.
OK, that said, remember, muscle growth helps to set a platform for strength to be built, and, in turn, sets a platform for power to be created.
Now, in Program #4, we come to the RED section at the top of the “Performance Pyramid,” and its goal is “Power.”
Finally! It’s time to take advantage of your mobility, stability, new posture, new movement patterns, and strength! It’s here we start to add speed to the equation by utilizing plyometrics and speed exercises. We’ve chosen movement patterns and exercises designed to bring your body to its full ability to LAY DOWN SOME SERIOUS SPRINTING HORSE POWER for the DH sections, AND for those uphill transition bursts necessary during a multi-stage event!
Keep in mind that we believe that power is created in the gym and expressed on our bikes. Can we create better positioning and use different on-bike techniques to exert more power, of course. We just think that the best way to get the power you need is to build it, just like we’ve talked about in these two articles.
OK… power is being strong, but adding speed. And an easy way to create that is the “Plyometric” exercise, which is defined as:
“Exercises based around having muscles exert maximum force in as short a time as possible, with the goal of increasing both speed and power.”
A great upper body example would be to do a functional movement like a push-up, but doing it fast by adding a “clap” of the hands at the top. Remember those? The, “clap” push-ups? If you wanted to do those, perform 6-10 reps and do 1-3 sets with at least 3 minutes of rest between sets.
Another way to increase speed that isn’t a plyometrics exercise, is to do a squat like shown below… simply lighten the weight to about 30-50% of your max weight and perform a perfect form squat move, but quickly. Something around the 2 second down and 1 second up type of speed, and do about 10 reps… BUT you must rest for at least 3 minutes between sets to let the muscles fully recover!
Yet another way to increase power is to use cable machines for quality speed work.
You can try a kneeling wood chop, below, for example where you come down quickly from the start position in about 1 second, then return to the start position in 3 seconds. This is very “core stimulatory” and is very riding specific because you’re bringing your upper body toward your lower
body, AND it’s creating “anti-rotational stability” throughout the body, which is key for a full Enduro race!
So there you go!
I hope you’ve found value in understanding how the “Performance Pyramid” creates great Enduro and MTB’ing athletes!
It’s worked for all our professional athletes we’ve worked with in DH, X-Games, Super Cross and PGA Tour golf, so know that it will make a big difference in how well you race, ride, recover, and live!
If your stoked and ready to get a comprehensive “Ultimate Enduro Training Program,” then be sure to CLICK HERE to get started preparing for this season!
You can also CLICK HERE for personal Enduro racing solutions. Don’t forget to like us on Facebook, and send us an email with any questions!
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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