Everyone knows that training hard is part of getting better. If you don't push your body past what it did yesterday then it won't have any reason to improve your fitness levels.

But we also know that if you push too hard things can go wrong. Usually referred to as Overtraining, almost everyone reading this has experienced the symptoms of pushing our body harder than we should have, which include lack of energy, getting sick and overuse injuries.

Your body will force you to take time off and rest but taking time off is one of the worst things for your progress. Staying consistent with your training is important and so pushing your body hard while also avoiding Overtraining is the key to long term progress.

In this episode of the BikeJames Podcast I dive into the subject of Overtraining, letting you know exactly what it is and how you can use that information to help you. I also share some tips, strategies and tools I've found to be especially helpful for this goal.

Until next time,

Ride Strong,

James Wilson

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Spending some time getting stronger is one of the best things you can do to improve your perfomance on the trail.

While nothing can replace riding your bike, there are 3 reasons that strength training will help you in ways that just riding your bike can not.

1 - It helps you work on tension skills that you need on the trail but don't do enough on the trail to improve past a certain point.

2 - It helps you work on movements you need on the bike in a less stressful learning environment.

3 - It helps you avoid acute and overuse injuries, helping you stay consistent with your riding and training, which is the #1 secret to improvement.

In this podcast I go over these points in some more detail and hopefully convince you that strength training is not an option if you want to be the best version of yourself both on and off the trail.

Until next time...

Ride Strong,

James Wilson

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In this new episode of the BikeJames Podcast I share my thoughts on Enduro Racing and how approach training riders for it. A lot of riders are making some common mistakes with their training and my goal is to help you avoid them while knowing what you did need to focus on to be successful at Enduro Racing.

Click the link at the bottom of this post to stream or download the MP3 file for this episode.

Remember that you can download the BikeJames Podcast through Itunes and Podbean as well.

If you are a seasoned vet looking for an edge or a new racer looking for a place to start your training journey, then this podcast will have a lot of great info for you. Enduro Racing can be a fun and rewarding part of your mountain biking experience and with the right training plan it can be even better.

Until next time…

Ride Strong,

James Wilson

MTB Strength Training Systems

Show Notes:

  • Goal with this podcast is to inspire you to take your results into your own hands. With the right approach you can make dramatic changes in your performance.
  • Enduro Racing gets scored on the DH sections, which makes them the most important.
  • There is no bonus for transfer times so they don’t matter.
  • Top Enduro racers come more from a DH background than an XC background.
  • For them Enduro Racing is slower than their normal pace and for XC it is faster.
  • It is easier to train slower for longer than to increase your speed.
  • Big mistake riders make is training like it is an endurance event and not emphasizing where the points are really scored, which are the shorter DH style sections.
  • In DH your strength-to-weight ratio and your technical skills are the biggest factors.
  • This means they should be emphasized in your training.
  • Enduro specific fitness includes having the anaerobic engine to ride as fast as possible on the timed stages while being aerobically fit enough to ride the transfer with minimal impact on the anaerobic energy system.
  • In the gym this includes getting stronger and more mobile to improve strength to weight ratio and movement efficiency. This includes 2-3 days of strength training and 5-7 days of mobility work (can be as little as 10 minutes a day).
  • Right now I like to get strong with Ramping Isometrics (great for Strength to Weight Ratio) and use tools like Indian Clubs and the Steel Mace to work on movement efficiency. I’ll mix in some “traditional” movements for variety but I’ve found that using them to get “stronger” usually led to getting hurt or having my training take away from my riding.
  • Cardio Training = Breathing/ Make sure you are training your breathing.
  • Domino Theory - Last domino is “cardio” but first one is breathing.
  • The best cardio training you can do is trail riding…but only if you do it right.
  • You won’t become a better Enduro Racer in the gym or on a trainer - it will only happen on the trail.
  • Most Enduro racers waste their most precious training time by just going for a ride and calling it training.
  • To be training it must reflect what you are training for, which isn’t a normal trail ride.
  • Enduro training trail rides should include 2 types:
  • Moderate Skills Focused Rides: These rides have you focusing on riding as smoothly as possible instead of trying to go hard and fast. They are a great time to pick a specific skill and focus on it. Avoid redlining for sustained periods of time and focus instead on using as few pedal strokes as possible. Get 2-3 of these a week.
  • Hard Race Simulation Rides: These should reflect how you race, which includes transfers with climbs followed by timed sections. On the trail you should try to mimic the length of time you would ride a transfer stage while focusing on keeping your breathing under control and not redlining, which includes walking if you need to. You should also have some sections that reflect a stage and can vary in length. Rest if you need to but focus on putting down your hardest effort for those runs. In other words, instead of just riding “hard”, have some easy and hard sections. This may include lapping the same section if that is all you have access to to train on. Do 1 of these every 7-10 days.
  • Some easy rides or days that you work on skills drills can round out your riding.
  • If you can’t ride and have to do some “cardio training” I would encourage you to include some “cardio strength training” like combo drills or mace flows (Upper Body Cardio/ Grip Endurance).
  • Watch out for programs that treat you like a roadie or XC rider with lots of long, sustained effort rides. If it doesn’t seem to reflect the realities of Enduro Racing and they can’t give you a really good reason why not then odds are they are trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.
  • Enduro Training doesn’t have to be rocket science but you do need to apply some critical thinking to it. You have what it takes to be successful already and with the right training program you can unleash that.

 

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In this episode of the BikeJames Podcast I recap the insights and lessons I took from the recent Perform Better Functional Training Summit. It was a 3 day event in Long Beach that brought in some of the best coaches in the industry to share their knowledge.

You can stream or download this episode by clicking the link below. You can also find the BikeJames Podcast on Itunes.

My Big 5 Take Aways:

1 - Leverage and Torque based tension are different than Compression based tension. This is why the Mace and Indian Clubs are more effective for “real world/ farm boy” strength.
2 - The Glute Bridge/ Hip Thrust deserves a spot with Squat and Hinge as lower body movement patterns that need to be trained. Ramping Iso Bridge achieves the goal of the loaded hip thrust.
3 - The hips are made to create and absorb force along multiple planes and they need to be trained that way.
4 - Keto is overrated and misunderstood.
5 - Functional Training needs to evolve past the current “Correctives + Kettlebells” formula.

Until next time…

Ride Strong,

James Wilson

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In this podcast I break down the claims used to sell clipless pedals and expose why they are nothing but a gimmick. 

Show Notes:

  • The definition of the word Gimmick: A trick or device used to attract business or attention.
  • This includes things that are untrue and have no basis in science or facts.
  • Clipless pedals are sold based on two things that based on this definition are, in fact, gimmicks.
  • The first is the Round Pedal Stroke and the Need to Pull Up on the Backstroke.
  • There are countless graphics illustrating a “perfect” pedal stroke that have never been seen or re-created using an actual EMG.
  • Real EMG readings look nothing like those charts.
  • That makes these charts untrue and, by definition, a gimmick since they only exist to help attract attention and business for clipless pedals.
  • The second gimmick is being on the ball of the foot and the need for a repeatable foot position.
  • Again, there is no science to back up either claim.
  • What studies do exist are either unclear or actually point towards a more mid-foot position.
  • The body is also not designed to be locked into the same movement over and over again, which leads to overuse injuries from not enough “noise” in the movement pattern.
  • This is why machine training is bad for your joints compared to free weights… now imagine doing thousands of reps locked into a machine.
  • Both of these things have no basis in science or functional movement principles, making them “a trick used to attract business or attention”. In other words, a gimmick.
  • In my mind this makes clipless pedals the biggest gimmick in mountain biking since they are sold to most people based on these untruths.
  • They also have some very real drawbacks that no one wants to discuss.
  • First, they force a very unnatural movement onto the legs.
  • Your legs are not designed to apply force in a straight line but instead uses a spiral or screwing motion as it applies force into the ground.
  • If you do this motion on a clipless pedal you either move within the free motion known as float - which is like applying force into ice and wastes energy - or you end up unclipping.
  • This forces you to either let your knees bow in to create some of that spiral - which is bad for your knees - and/ or you end up learning how to minimize that spiral and move in a straight line up and down.
  • Second, when cornering you need to be able to apply pressure in a spiral motion into the pedals to “set the edge” and drive the movement. If you do this on clipless pedals you float/ and or unclip which, again, forces an unnatural movement on the bike.
  • Last, your foot wants to apply pressure into “the ground”, or something that is supporting it from the bottom. A stiff soled shoe is not supporting your foot, only making it stiff. You need something underneath that it can apply pressure into for it to be supported.
  • If you have the foot supported by the pedal then you can’t twist your foot, which is good for the foot because it allows the spiraling motion since your foot can’t twist but it is bad for getting unclipped since you can’t turn your foot.
  • This means that a properly supported foot literally can’t turn like you would need it to in order to unclip, making it very hard if not impossible to clip in and allow natural foot movement through a proper platform.
  • They are also more dangerous, especially for beginners, and the consequences of not getting unclipped are much worse than slipping a flat pedal (head, shoulder or arm injuries vs. cut up shins).
  • These very real drawbacks are never brought up or discussed in the cycling world and we only hear about the gimmicks used to prop up their “superiority”.
  • I’ve also had conversations with people in the cycling industry who admit that they are overhyped and sold to people who don’t need them but because they companies that sell them pay for advertising and sponsorships it isn’t worth saying anything, giving me insights behind the curtain that most riders simply don’t have.
  • So what would you call a product that is sold based on a gimmick and has very real drawbacks that are never discussed or simply downplayed? I call it a problem for our sport but we’ll be nice and just call it a wonderfully successful gimmick.
  • If you think I’m wrong then I challenge you to simply look into for yourself. I’m willing to bet that less than 1 in 1000 riders out there who ride clipless pedals have ever done this and that if more did then we’d be having a very different conversation as a sport.
  • I’ve put together the Flat Pedal Revolution Manifesto to help riders learn the truth and break free of the gimmicks that we’ve been sold in the past and it’s a great place to start if you are really curious about the truth about foot position and pedal stroke.
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In this podcast I look at the 4 steps I'm now using to help riders improve their movement and performance, the BPTM System, which includes...

1 - Breathing.

  • Crocodile Breathing
  • Meditation

2 - Position

  • Mobility
  • Stretching

3 - Tension

  • Isometrics (Ramping Isometrics)

4 - Movement

  • Training (GPP)
  • Playing/ Competing (SPP)

Until next time...

Ride Strong,

James Wilson

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Every once in a while I have a lightbulb moment that makes me realize that I have been missing something really important in my training.

Like the first time I was introduced to using mobility exercises to compliment my usual focus on “get stronger”, these moments open up a whole new way of seeing the bigger picture that leads to being a better rider.

One of these moments happened to me recently at a Steve Maxwell seminar when he was explaining how he uses Isometric Exercises in combination with sport training.

While Isometric Exercises are something I have studied and used, I never really understood the best way to use them until I heard him explain it and now I realize that they are a must have component of a training program.

In this episode of the Bike James Podcast I explain what Isometrics Exercises are, how to use them and how you can use incorporate them into your program to help you ride faster on the trail.

Show Notes:

- Isometric Exercises

                - No movement

                - High muscle tension

                - Relatively safe

- Strength is Tension + Technique

- The trick to sport-specific training is to develop your Tension and your Technique separately

- We screw up when we use strength training to teach a skill or skill training to build strength

- Use Isometrics to develop your Tension and then skill training for Technique

- Use Ramping Isometrics with 1 Set to Failure for each movement pattern

                - 20-30 seconds at 50% effort/ 75% effort/ 100% effort

- Safe for 1 Set to Failure since you don’t move

- Allows you to really focus on quality of tension instead of movement

- Helps you develop your tension producing “volume knob”

- Helps you learn how to truly tap into 100% tension

- Develops mental and physical endurance

- Keeps the body fresh for technique training (deadlifting, riding your bike, etc.)

- Pick one exercise per movement pattern and do it 2 days per week

- Use the other training time to work on movement or sport specific skills/ endurance training

- Don’t go above 80% effort with skill training

- This isn’t easy or sexy but is works

Until next time…

Ride Strong,

James Wilson

MTB Strength Training Systems & Pedaling Innovations

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So, right off the bat I want to let you know why this may be one of the most important interviews I’ve done on this podcast.

Foot health and now it affects your riding is usually something most of us don’t worry about until there is a problem. However, even then most riders are usually in the dark about the best strategies to improve and maintain their foot health.

This leads to a lot of riders who just figure that sore feet, uncomfortable feet and the knee, ankle and low back problems that come with them are just part of riding a bike.

Which is unfortunate because a lot of these riders are suffering needlessly. There are things you can do both on and off your bike to improve your foot health and function, improving your performance and decreasing your pain in the process.

In this podcast I interview Dr. Marty Hughes and Dr. Robyn Hughes from www.NaturalFootGear.com. They are leading experts in the field of foot function and health and also happen to be avid cyclists, bringing a unique perspective to this subject.

In the interview we go over why foot health is so important for us, some common things that can be hurting our feet and what you can do to start improving your foot health both on and off the bike.

I know that talking about the feet isn’t what most riders think about when it comes to improving your performance on the bike but after listening to this interview I hope you’ll have a new appreciation for how important it is.

Until next time…

Ride Strong,

James Wilson

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Well, it’s official - Ryan Leech is one of my favorite people on planet Earth.

Rarely does someone live up to their internet persona but Ryan really is one of the nicest, most giving guys out there.

I’ve had the chance to talk with Ryan via Skype several times (a lot of them are published as podcasts) but I hadn’t had the chance to meet him until last week when he rolled through town and invited me and Aka the Trail Mutt for a ride.

After a ride, some pizza and coffee we were buzzing from all the great energy we had going and so we decided to sit down and do a Facebook Live shoot for his coaching group.

Not wanting to have you guys miss out on the goodness I also set up my mic and recorded what went down.

And what went down was an hour plus long conversation where we covered a lot of ground, including what he learned while creating his jump course, how the foot works and how it really applies to your pedals, the biggest mistake riders make with their cardio training and why a lot of the skills training advice you get is simply wrong.

It was another great talk and we left off with a lot left to discuss. I hope you enjoy this new podcast and get some insights and inspiration to help you enjoy riding even more.

And remember to check out Ryan’s coaching group, which offers the best online skills training programs available. Not all skills training advice is created equal and Ryan is one of the few coaches who values movement as much as skill and it shows in how he approaches things.

Until next time…

Ride Strong,

James Wilson

MTB Strength Training Systems

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This month marks a big milestone for me - it’s the 2-year anniversary of the Catalyst Pedals!

That's right, it’s been 2 years since I sent out that first email letting people know about them and seeing if anyone would be interested in pre-ordering a pair.

And while I was hoping to sell 100 pairs, we ended up getting over 550 pre-orders. That was a great start and in the last 2 years we’ve gone on to sell over 5000 pairs of pedals and help a lot of riders in the process.

To mark the occasion I put together a couple of things.

The first is a podcast where I share the story of how the Catalyst Pedal went from an idea to an actual product that anyone can buy and put on their bike. It was an interesting journey into the manufacturing side of the bike industry and I learned a lot about how things really work behind the scenes.

You can download or stream this podcast below.

I also wanted to get a special limited-edition Catalyst Pedal made, one that captured the humble beginnings of the Catalyst Pedal as a simple prototype with a dream.

To accomplish that we used an anodized Polished Silver…and it came out pretty sweet if I do say so myself.

With the look of a raw aluminum prototype, it perfectly captures the feel of those first Catalyst Pedals I hand assembled in my garage.

 

But, like all the limited-edition colors we create, there is a very limited supply and once they are gone they are gone for good.

So, if you’d like to get a pair of our special 2-year anniversary pedals then just click on the link below and order yours today:

Click here to buy the Polished Silver Limited-Edition Catalyst Pedals

And while you’re there you can check out our new website. We had it updated to make it easier to use and learn about the benefits of the Catalyst Pedals. Be sure to let us know what you think!

Thanks for all the support, until next time…

Ride Strong,

James Wilson

MTB Strength Training Systems/ Pedaling Innovations

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