Many of us have said it time and time again we are just out riding for fun but at the end of the day if your mate is dropping you up a hill or you're unable to ride for the day due to fatigue, it's safe to say you're not going to be having as much fun as you possibly could. With shorter days, due to winter, work or family commitments its often difficult to fit in a ride every day. But 30-45 minutes in the gym focussing on sport specific training can be the best investment you'll make not only to your riding performance but also for future injury prevention.
At 547 Sport Performance, we cater for all riding levels from club and entry level to elite and professional riders. Through our experience in the MTB industry we know you don't want to be big and bulky but you do need to be able to produce the power of a weightlifter and have the stamina of a marathon runner. The goal of your time spent in the gym should be to increase muscle density rather than size: allowing you to improve our power to weight ratio and ensure all muscles are working equally to prevent premature knee degeneration, shoulder injuries or back and hip pain. While many of these can be attributed to poor bike fit you can possibly be putting a band-aid on a bullet hole.
In the gym, you want to have structure so you're not going in and dancing around the machines wondering what to do next. Efficiency is key! As always we recommend receiving professional advice from ourselves or a coach in your local gym. It's a small investment that will lead to long term gain.
Start off on the bike, rower or air bike. This ultimately primes the muscles, generating heat, promoting muscle elasticity and distributing oxygen.
- Dynamic stretches. This is where we incorporate our injury prevention exercises as well as stretching through full range of movements of the shoulders, hips and ankles.
Moving on from our warm up we want to be aiming to complete 2 big power movements. Depending on what day of the week, what races or rides you have coming up or what you had worked previously is a big predictor of what you will be completing. Don't stress we can help you with these! These movements are considered compound and involve tension being created in the muscles across many joints.
After our power movements, you should look to complete functional training. As much as I hate the bashing of the word functional by get fit quick trainers, its ultimately what you need to. This means we aren't locking ourselves into a pin loaded, isolated hamstring curl machine or bicep curling till our arms are popping. Through education surrounding the muscles actions you can work these smaller muscles by doing larger movements. For example, instead of hamstring curls, perform single leg deadlifts and instead of bicep curls, do hammer grip chin ups or supranated (palm facing up) rows.
Injury prevention can again be included in this part of the session as well. For example, after completing heavy squats in step 3 you would then move onto walking dumbbell lunges. Ensuring these are controlled you will be working on the quad muscles as well as the glutes. This creates stability in the joints so when you are riding and drop a foot or get rag dolled you won't break as easy.
- Finally finishing up with a light warm down and static stretching! Don't believe everything you read about stretching being bad! It has its place. Dynamic stretching at the start of the workout promotes mobility and tension through a working range of motion. Static stretching should be promoted at the end of the workout as research suggests that it can acutely and negatively affect force production in the muscles by reducing tendon stiffness and joint rigidity.
Incorporating 2-4 days of strength training is not only a valuable investment for your future self but it will make your riding a lot more enjoyable! This is a very basic explanation of how we can incorporate strength training into your week. So, if you have any questions regarding any of the topics touched upon or would like us to touch on any other topics, please let us know!
See you on the trails!