Podcasts for the one and only MTB Strength Training System. Learn how to enhance your riding by focusing on the most important part - You!
Medical Preparedness For The Trail & Life: Brian McLaughlin Intervie
Over the last few years I’ve had my eyes opened to the importance of medical training in case of an emergency. Most of us are never exposed to the realities of incurring a serious injury on the trail and few are really prepared to do anything if something happens.
It doesn’t take much for a ride to go from fun and casual to a potential life and death situation. And even if it isn’t a life and death situation right away, a few bad breaks and things can go from bad to worse pretty quickly as well.
The reason I bring this topic up isn’t to scare riders away from riding but to empower them to be the hero if they are called on. Nothing sucks worse than standing there while someone needs help and you don’t know what to do.
The funny thing is, though, that it doesn’t take much for you to better prepare yourself. We’re not trying to become EMT’s or emergency room doctors, we’re just trying to stabilize the situation long enough for the real help to get there.
One of the best resources I’ve found to help me become better prepared for a medical emergency is the company Mountain Man Medical. They have a great free online course that they offer and they have the best prices on quality medical gear.
Brian McLaughlin is the Director of Medical Training at Mountain Man Medical and a former Corpsman (medic for the Marines) who brings a lot of experience and insights into this area for us. I’ve had Brian on the podcast before and I wanted to bring him back to talk about the Sweetwater Trauma Kit that they sell on www.mountainmanmedical.com, which is what he recommends starting with if you don’t have a trauma kit yet.
We talk about each of the items in the kit and why they are important, review the MARCH checklist that you want to use if you encounter a medical emergency and we even cover what to do with a snakebite.
BTW, if you are going to invest in some medical equipment then be sure to use the coupon code BIKEJAMES at checkout to save 10%.
Don’t leave your safety in the hands of someone else - you are your own best First Responder if something goes wrong. If every rider who reads this will invest just a little time and money in being better prepared then we’d all be better off.
Until next time…
MTB Strength Training Systems
Improving Your Health & Performance With Isometrics: Interview with Isophit Inventor Brad Thorpe
It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of using Isometric Training to improve your health and fitness. I’ve posted a lot of articles, podcasts and videos going over how mountain bikers can use this powerful training tool in their programs.
But I’m not the only one out there who is obsessed with spreading the word about Isometric Training. There’s a man who has been working tirelessly over the last several years to get isometrics into the training programs of weekend warriors and high level performers all over the world.
Brad Thorpe is considered by many to be the world’s leading expert in isometric strength training. A serial entrepreneur, multi-patented inventor of Isophit, and educator. Brad has over 30 years of experience in the fitness and performance industry.
Since launching Isophit in 2015, Brad has grown the Isophit family to 350+ members across 31 countries. The more well-known Isophit family members include the US Army, FBI, Cleveland Cavaliers, Minnesota Timberwolves, Houston Rockets, Miami Heat, New Orleans Pelicans, Philadelphia 76ers, Detroit Tigers, UCLA, and more recently the Red Bull Athlete Performance Center.
I had the chance to interview Brad last week so I could learn more about what he is doing and to pick his brain about isometrics and how they can be used to improve your health and performance. While it’s tough to include detailed show notes for an interview like this, I can tell you that we talked about some interesting results that research has found with isometrics, including how isometric neck strength plays a role in preventing brain injuries.
Getting stronger is important for having more fun on the bike, especially as we get older, and isometrics should play an important part in helping you do that. I hope you enjoy this interview and learn something that you can take away to help you with your training and riding.
Until next time…
MTB Strength Training Systems
With just two 20 minute workouts a week you can safely and effectively improve your health and fitness using isometrics. Click the link below to learn more and get your copy of the Atomic Strength Isometric Training Program today.
Click Here To Get The Atomic Strength Isometric Training Program
3 Ways To Use Isometrics In Your Training Program
Isometrics are one of the most effective training tools in your toolbox. They are effective, safe and have a lot of research behind them.
They are also extremely versatile. You can use them in different ways to accomplish different goals, including getting stronger, helping you prepare for a better workout and making your regular exercises harder and more effective. I recorded a video/ podcast sharing 3 ways that you can use isometrics to help you get better results from your training program.
By Themselves To Get Stronger
Isometrics are a great way to get stronger and increase your fitness by themselves.
They are also super convenient and can easily be done anywhere with very little equipment (or no equipment at all if you only have bodyweight).
Be sure to use both Overcoming and Yielding Isometrics.
Overcoming is where you push into something that you can’t move.
Ramping Isometrics are a great method to use - 30 sec. @ 50% effort/ 20 sec. @ 80% effort/ 10 sec. @ 100% effort
Yielding is where you hold a position against something trying to push or pull you out of it.
Hold positions for 30 - 90 seconds or more.
One exercise per muscle group/ movement pattern and one set to near failure.
As A Warm Up/ Activation Technique
You can use isometrics as a way to get ready for your workout.
You can do an isometric hold of the exercise you are going to do.
You can also do an “isolated isometric” to target an area that you need turned on for one or more exercises.
For example, if you are going to do Deadlifts you could do an isometric Deadlift or you could do an isometric for a problem area - Doing a hold for the back of your neck will also activate your entire posterior chain and make it easier to use it when lifting.
If you are using them as a Warm Up/ Activation Technique then don’t go all out, you don’t want to exhaust yourself before you train or you could increase the risk of injury - no more than 80% effort.
Combined With Movement Based Exercises To Increase Intensity
You can use isometrics to make your “regular” exercises harder and more effective.
One way is to do a 3-5 second isometric hold at the bottom of every rep.
This not only increases the time under tension in a weak range of motion but you also get rid of the stretch reflex where your muscles use elastic energy to help lift the weight.
This type of strength is known as Starting Strength and is important on the bike since you don't have the advantage of loading up a movement like other sports.
You can also add an isometric hold at the beginning and end of an exercise.
Do a 10 second hold at the weakest point in the range of motion, do 10 reps and then do another 10+ second hold at the weakest point in the range of motion.
For a Split Squat this would look like holding for 10 seconds with the knee at a 90 degree angle, doing 10 reps and then holding again for 10 seconds with the knee at a 90 degree angle.
This increases the time under tension and allows you to access higher levels of tension in a safe way.
This is a great way to build strength-endurance, which is important on the bike.
As you can see Isometrics have a lot to offer and a lot of ways to work them into your program. I’d recommend adding these training techniques into your program to improve your results and decrease your risk of getting hurt while training or riding.
Until next time…
p.s. The Atomic Strength Training Program is the only MTB specific isometric workout program in the world and what I recommend to any rider who wants to start tapping into the power of isometrics for themselves. It combines Overcoming and Yielding Isometrics into a 15 minute workout that is guaranteed to improve your strength and fitness.
Click here to check it out and get your copy today.
What is “off season training” if you can ride year round?
For a lot of riders an off season is forced on them by the local riding conditions. However, this definition of an off season gets really blurry when a rider lives somewhere that they can ride year round or they are able to get out in less-than-ideal weather (fatbikes, inclement weather riding gear).
Because they aren’t forced to stop or cut back on their riding, for these riders the term has to take on a different meaning if they want to get the benefits of an off season (and yes, there are benefits to it).
First, there are benefits to taking an off season. It is a chance to address weaknesses in your general conditioning that can hold back your overall riding performance.
For example, if you need to add strength or increase your mobility then that can be tough to do if you are riding as much as you can.
It also gives your body a break from the repetitive stress that riding places on it. It can also provide a mental break and refresh your enthusiasm for riding.
So how do you do this if you don’t have to take a break from riding?
I’d like to say up front that riding your bike is the best way to get better at riding your bike. There is a reason that riders from places that you can ride year round do well (Australians, New Zealanders, SoCal) and why people go there in the off season to train.
For riders like this I recommend that you don’t look at it as an off season as much as a change in your priorities.
During the riding season riding your bike is the priority. Everything you do is geared around riding as much as you can and feeling as good as you can while doing it.
This means that you don’t want to lift so heavy that it takes away from your ability to recover and ride. You also want to prioritize riding 3+ times a week, which will take away from the time you can spend on strength, conditioning and mobility work.
During the off season time you want to reverse these priorities.
This means that you want to make sure that you get your time in with strength, cardio and mobility work even if this means cutting back on how much you are able to ride. It also means that you will be fine with feeling sore and tired from your training sessions when you are able to ride.
For an example of how these differences might look, during the riding season you may ride 4 days a week and only strength train 1-2 days a week with little to no extra cardio conditioning (riding your bike counts as cardio).
During the off season you may ride 1-2 days a week while lifting 3 times a week and getting in 2 cardio training sessions.
During the riding season you may focus on strength training tactics that don’t leave you sore and tired like isometrics and low volume/ moderate intensity training.
During the off season you may focus more on more aggressive strength training tactics like 5-3-1 to build strength or high volume/ moderate intensity stuff to build some muscle.
During the riding season your cardio training is riding your bike.
During the off season you can focus on targeted conditioning strategies that will help fill in specific gaps or improve your foundation for bigger cardio gains when you ride more.
Mobility and recovery should be something you focus on all year round but you may spend more time on it during the off season to improve areas that you need like the hip hinge or the rotational hinge needed for cornering.
Having an off season is part of the bigger picture that it takes to become a better rider over the long term. While you may find that skipping out on the off season doesn’t seem to matter from one season to the next you will find that over the course of several seasons riders that skip it will not progress as much or as fast as riders who do.
Until next time…
3 Things To Increase Your Preparedness On The Trail
One of the best things about mountain biking is that it allows you to get away from civilization and out into nature in a way that nothing else can. The ability to cover a lot of ground and do it in a human powered way means that we can get to places and enjoy trails that not everyone can.
And while this is one of the things that draws a lot of us to riding, it also presents a unique danger that not many riders really consider. The truth is that most mountain bikers are woefully unprepared to deal with a medical emergency or a survival situation on the trail.
While most of us carry something to fix a flat or simple mechanical problem on the trail, few of us think about being prepared for something happening to us or someone else we’re with or come across. Sure, a phone to call for help is great but you may not have coverage and it may take some time for help to arrive - in that type of situation you are your own best First Responder.
While there are a lot of things you should consider carrying to help you be better prepared, there are 3 simple and inexpensive things that every rider should have on them. In this video/ podcast I share what those things are and why they are important to have on you when you go for a ride.
You can watch the video replay or listen to the audio replay through the link below. You can also find the podcast on Itunes, Podbean, Spotify and all other major podcasting platforms.
The most important medical emergency you want to be able to deal with is major bleeding. Being able to stop the bleed can be the difference between life and death.
This means that the first thing you need to carry is a tourniquet. If you want to keep your loadout simple then the one I recommend is the SWAT-T.
You can find it through the link below and use the Coupon Code BIKEJAMES for 10% off.
This style of tourniquet is effective and can serve multiple purposes.
It is also inexpensive and easily folds up to fit in a pocket.
The second is a multi-use rescue whistle.
Being able to signal for help is essential and a whistle is a great way to do that.
It also has a light. Having a light is essential if you get caught out on the trail after dark and have to see well enough to fix your bike or help someone who is hurt.
The third thing is a lighter.
I also put a 1 foot length of duct tape on it and put some strips of road bike inner tube.
The tape can help in a lot of ways - taping down a chest seal or pressure bandage for example.
The road bike inner tube burns easily and hot and makes starting a fire easy (tinder). A fire can be the difference between life and death if you are caught on the trail after dark in a cold environment and it can also be used to signal for help.
I’ve got a video on the more advanced loadout I take with me on the trail that you should check out for more ideas and tips on how to be better prepared.
What we do is a lot of fun but it is dangerous and we owe it to ourselves and our fellow riders to be able to help out if something goes wrong, turning a potential tragedy into a cool story.
Until next time…
MTB Strength Training Systems
Ryan Leech Interview - Social Media, Changing Priorities As We Age & How To Improve Your Skills
One of my favorite people in the mountain biking world is the legend Ryan Leech. Ryan spent decades changing what we thought was possible on a bike and has shared his passion for riding through in person coaching and his coaching website https://www.rlc-mtb.com.
I’ve had Ryan on several times and he always brings a unique and interesting perspective on our sport and how to improve your skills and mindset. In this podcast we talk about the impact of social media on mountain biking, how priorities change as we get older and what it really takes to improve as a rider over the long run.
Until next time...