Written by Head Coach Daniel Moffatt Martin
Are you sick and tired of putting in countless hours at the track and not being rewarded for it on race day? Have you been getting the same results year after year and finally ready to break through the plateau?
These 5 focus points are going to help.
1. Get Stronger!
I can’t stress this point enough for any cycling athlete. Aside from the technical skill involved, producing more power is always going to lead to better results on the track. But you can’t produce more power without first becoming stronger, as power is a sub-quality of strength!! You can do all the gate starts and sprints in the world, but if you’re not producing more power through the pedals you won’t be getting to the corner any quicker. More strength = more power = better results!
2. Get Mobile!
Mobility is one athletic quality that seems to get over-looked in people’s programs. What they don’t realise is that it is actually holding them back from being strong and economical on the bike. Here’s how;
– Poor mobility leads to poor riding positions
– Old injuries may cause us to be asymmetrical (not equally balanced)
– Having optimal mobility and flexibility decreases your risk of injury
– Joint position will dictate muscle function! If our joints are in a poor position we will never be able to use all of our strength!
So better mobility = stronger riding position = better results!
3. Lift Your Conditioning!
Most athletes are doing some kind of conditioning in their program, but not always the right type of conditioning for what they need. Your conditioning training should reflect similar demands that your sport does! There is a big difference between a 45s BMX moto and a 5min MTB downhill run in terms of energy demands. So when it comes to your training you need to look at what you are preparing for. Some things to remember are;
– Almost all riders need to build a good aerobic base first! This will help you later on when the intensity increases to be able to do more work!
– Look at what your sport needs you to do well and replicate that in training
– If you are doing repeat sprints, recovery between sprints is key! Time your rest breaks to be 2-3 times longer than your actual sprint is. This will help you recover enough to repeat the same amount of power.
Example – 30s sprint = 1 min 30s rest. Repeat.
Better conditioning = more oxygen to muscles and organs = more repeat efforts = better results!
4. Get Warm And Ready To Go!!
It’s amazing how many riders don’t warm up properly on race day!! They do everything correctly in training all week and then miss this vital step on the day that it all counts! Think of it like this, you wouldn’t walk into the gym and get straight under a barbell and try squat 100kg would you? Yet turning up to a race day and heading straight out for practice / qualifying without warming up is actually doing that same thing! To get maximum performance from the body it needs time to prepare. The goal with our warm up is to;
– Elevate the body’s core temperature
– Get our muscles and joints in the optimum position and lengths
– Release the chemical enzymes within our body for good blood flow and oxygen delivery
– Awaken the central nervous system (CNS) and prime our senses ready for action!
A typical race day warm up might look something like this;
30mins before race – light cycle or jog getting heart rate to approximately 80% max.
20mins before race – Mobility warm up stretches.
10mins before race – Explosive body weight movements (squat jumps, jumping jacks ect)
5mins before race – Reaction time drills (tennis ball against the wall, hand eye coordination task).
So getting the body ready to perform at its best is a process that needs a good system. Find one that works for you and make it a habit!
Warming up = more concentration = faster reactions = better results!
One last thing that people often overlook is the importance of recovery. There is still a strong idea in most sports that more is better! That meaning the more you do, the better you will get. This is actually wrong!! The fact is, the more you do, the more tired and fatigued you get. Simple. However, if we do nothing then we don’t improve, so there is an optimal amount of training and practice that needs to be done in order to get the results that we want. What people don’t realise is that every time we train, we actually do our body harm because we fatigue it and damage our muscles. However, while we are resting our body goes into repair mode and begins to rebuilds itself, and while it is doing that it actually makes itself a little better than it was before!! Because our body is always trying to protect itself. So if we are always training and trying to do something every single day, we are never giving it the chance to go into repair mode and therefore never actually getting the benefit of the training sessions. We are always in the broken down stage, and we call that fatigue. So now you’re training will actually get worse and we are at risk of injuries. We need to recover after each session in order to actually improve ourselves so when can train even better the next time. Some recovery things to think about are;
– Sleep. This is the absolute number 1 recovery tool!
– Nutrition. This is what our body uses for energy and also repairing itself after training
– Hydration. We need to replenish what we lose and that is almost all water!
So you see, you need to balance the right amount of training with the right amount of recovery in order to perform at your best.
Better recovery = more energy = better training sessions = better results!