Speed Training is an interesting topic for mountain biking because it isn’t really a part of many programs. Early on in training mountain bikers I realized that few of them had the ability to truly “tap into 100%” and that this was holding them back in a lot of different ways.
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Speed Training isn’t just doing some intervals as part of your cardio program and needs to be looked at and trained as a separate element. It can help improve your endurance, help you more easily power through tough efforts on the trail and as well as help you get faster when you need to lay down some power to the pedals.
As you can see, it can do a lot for you and should be part of your program this off-season. But if you’re like most riders you probably have a few questions like how is Speed Training different from just doing some intervals and what is the best way to use it as a mountain biker.
And that is why I put this podcast together for you. In it you’ll learn more about how Speed Training can help you as a rider and how you can use it to improve your speed and endurance on the trail.
Here are the notes from this podcast:
- Most sports have a speed training aspect where they focus on the ability to quickly produce power in the shortest amount of time possible.
- It requires the ability to recruit as many muscle fibers as possible while also maintain the most efficient postures and movement patterns.
- This ability to tap into 100% is a skill most mountain bikers lack and so they are waste a lot of energy when they try to do it on the trail.
- Speed training helps us tap into more muscle fibers which, like strength training, makes more of them available for endurance.
- Speed training also reinforces proper posture and movement habits since speed increases the stress on the system, magnifying the cracks that don’t show up as much at slower speeds.
- While most people think of fast movements for speed training, trying to move a heavy load quickly also results in improved power and speed.
- This is important because we need this ability to quickly push against resistance to sprint or grind through a higher gear – a lot of trail riding takes place below 80 rpms and this needs to be trained.
- Speed can be trained on the bike or in the gym with power exercises like the Swing, DB Cheat Curl and Push Press. These are especially useful for working on “high tension” speed.
- While power is a huge part of speed it isn’t the same thing as Power Training.
- Speed training and speed endurance training are different and need to be trained differently.
- Speed training requires a relatively fresh nervous system for maximum muscle recruitment.
- Speed endurance training should focus on maintaining a certain speed/ effort level instead of just surviving the workout.
- Start with working to improve your speed early in the off-season before working on speed endurance closer to the riding season.
- In general, anything over 60 seconds isn’t Speed Training and is starting to get into Endurance Training.
- Speed Training is going to be relative to the distance you usually ride with longer distance riders able to use longer sprints.
- Every riders should spend some time working on true speed with intervals less than 10 seconds.
- Unless you are a 4X/ Dual Slalom rider then Speed Training shouldn’t be a big part of your program, perhaps 1-2 days a week for 8-12 weeks in the off-season and 1 session every 7-14 days during the season. But it is an important part of your training program and without it you have a gap in your fitness which will effect everything else.
As you can see Speed Training can help you in a lot of different ways so make sure you aren’t neglecting it this off-season. If you have any questions or thoughts about Speed Training for mountain biking be sure to leave a comment below, I’d love to hear them.
Until next time…
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