XC Mountain Bike / General / Designed for Strength Training
Plan Length: 12 Weeks
Over the next 12 weeks you will do much more than improve your engine. In addition to your on the bike efforts you will run through a progressive yoga program that will increase your flexibility and core strength. Strength training is also incorporated into this plan to improve your power, endurance, and balance.
Due to the rough and tumble nature of Mountain Biking chances are you will come off the bike a few times, so ensuring that you’re flexible and have good core strength can reduce the risk of injury from these crashes. To avoid those crashes in the rst place you will have weekly trail sessions to sharpen up your handling skills. After all, it doesn’t matter that you get to the top of a climb 30 seconds faster if you lose 2 minutes on the downhill!
Note: These plans are designed to be used with The Sufferfest Training System. You will need to download and install The Sufferfest for iOS, macOS or Windows to access the workouts associated with these plans. To get started:
- Go to https://thesufferfest.com/pages/get-started and download the app for your device.
- Create your account to start your free 7-day trial.
- Use promo code SURGE30 to get 30 days free or $12.99 off your annual subscription.
For questions about The Sufferfest please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Sample Week of Training
Below is a week of training from this plan which represents the type of workouts you will be doing.
Other - Week 2
Bike - NoVid: Recovery Spin
Don’t be afraid of the Two Rs: rest and recovery.
Believe it or not, you get faster when your
body is taking it easy after all that suffering.
A recovery spin is a very low intensity ride, so easy that you’d feel embarrassed to ride so slow if you didn’t know you were helping your body
get much faster.
A good recovery spin is done at a cadence above 90 RPM. While keeping power below 50% of FTP, or and RPE less than 2.5, and keeping your heart rate in Zone 1 the entire time.
Recovery spins can be done outdoors, but due to the low power demands, they are often easier done on the trainer
Resist the voice of
your inner Sufferlandrian telling you to go faster.
Bike - Standing Starts **Before Strength**
Four Dimensional Power Focus:
Standing starts closely simulate a lifting session on the bike because it requires the engagement of your core, upper and lower body. Standing starts will train your ability to generate force through the pedals by forcing you to recruit all of your musculature. No matter your prefered discipline, these efforts are key to teaching your body to recruit all of the muscle fibers in your legs. The saying "Use it or Lose it" actually does apply here. All of the benefit in this session comes from hitting these 20 seconds effort as hard as you possibly can. To do that, you need full recovery between each sprint, and you need to respect that recovery! These efforts should see you start at super low RPMs with very high torque, as the effort continues your cadence will naturally increase. Your goal is to get your cadence as high as possible by the end of each 20 second effort. To maximize your muscle recruitment you want to both push down and pull up on the pedals at the start. Proper core engagement is a must, your legs need a good strong backboard to push against. We understand that not everyone's trainer has the necessary resistance, or the required stability, to perform this workout as described. For stability issues you can get much of the same benefit by doing these efforts seated. If your trainer can't handle the rapid change in speed, or does not have high enough resistance at super a super low cadence then you can start the efforts are a higher cadence and simply treat them as "normal" all out sprints.
This is a session that can be done indoors or outdoors. If done outdoors, come to a slow roll in your largest Chain Ring and your 3rd or 4th smallest cog on your rear cassette. Complete the same set of 4 x 20sec maximal start efforts, with 6-8 minutes of easy spinning between.
Bike - Power Station
Four Dimensional Power Focus:
On the surface this seems like a rather tame session: a series of intervals that are all under five minutes long and which are almost all under threshold. But there is more here than the power file shows. The lack of "intensity" in these short sessions is made up for by the very low cadence targets each effort requires. This creates minimal cardiovascular stress but places a tremendous load on your muscular system. The goal is to keep your upper body absolutely rock solid during these efforts. If you find that you bob back and forth for each pedal stroke then your core is not up to the task your legs are giving it (better get onto our yoga videos and strengthen that core). This session can be a great test to see how your lower back will hold up over a longer ride outside. A core that will fail you after 3 hours of road riding can often be identified fairly quickly during this session. If your back is burning just as badly as your legs it's a signal to do some additional core strengthening. With so much stress on your muscles this is a great session for improving your overall endurance and your ability to produce lots of high torque, giving your NM a nice boost along the way.
Bike - The Chores
Four Dimensional Power Focus:
Chores. They're rarely glamorous, almost never fun, and more often than not you need a hot shower and a long nap afterwards. Sort of like this workout. If you want a 'do-it-all' session, that will maintain and improve nearly every aspect of your fitness, then you're in the right place. Each set combines a series of 40 second efforts and 20 second recoveries with a sustained effort just below Threshold. The benefits are substantial. First: with such short recoveries between hard efforts, you'll pretty much empty your anaerobic fuel tank by the end of each set. This obviously develops your AC, but as your body is forced to rely more and more on your ability to produce power aerobically as your AC empties it gives your maximal aerobic (MAP) a real shove. As your body shifts from AC to MAP and begins producing almost all power from oxygen, the workout puts you into a sustained effort just below threshold. These same sustained threshold efforts when fresh would be a piece of cake, but by starting them deep in the red you will find them to be much more difficult than you might think. These efforts will push you right to the edge, but never over, so dig in deep and get your chores done!
Bike - NoVid: Cadence Builds and Holds**After Strength**
This workout is another excellent addition to our "Drills" series. Over the next 45 minutes, you will complete four 30-second cadence builds, and six 60-second high cadence holds. This workout places a considerable demand on your Neuromuscular System, as your muscles are forced to contract and relax as quickly as possible. At the same time, the shorter recovery period between these drills will keep your heart rate, and breathing rate elevated, giving you a great cardiovascular workload.
Let's breakdown the two drills you will be doing.
Cadence Builds: The name of the game here is absolute peak cadence, not peak power. To achieve this, you need to be in a small gear and have very light resistance. Starting at 90-RPM, steadily increase your cadence until you reach your absolute max without about 5-seconds left, and hold that to the end. Your limiting factor on these efforts needs to be leg speed. If resistance/power output is your limiting factor, try starting in an easier gear, or shift into an easier gear 15-seconds in. Bouncing in the saddle is okay for this drill.
Cadence Holds: These efforts require you to maintain the highest cadence you can without starting to bounce in the saddle. For some of you that will be 100-RPM, for others, it will be 150-RPM. The key is to settle into YOUR peak sustainable cadence. Like the Builds, the goal here is not high power, so these efforts are limited to 90% of FTP. Do not be surprised if your heart rate is well into Zone 4 by the time you hit the last few holds.
To properly execute this session, your effort between drills needs to be low. With limited recovery time between these maximal Neuromuscular Efforts, riding above Zone 1 between efforts will only reduce your ability to max out your cadence. While the power targets between are Zone 1, do not be surprised if your heart rate does not drop below Zone 2 after the first couple builds.
* Improved muscle recruitment and firing patterns
* Improved muscle coordination at higher cadences
* Deliver a high Neuromuscular and Cardiovascular load while minimizing the power demands placed on your muscles
* Help you develop a silky smooth pedal stroke
Cross Training - Trails: Cruising
What? A trail ride at a cruisy pace. Why? Variety is the spice of life and it's also the best way to accomplish a few goals simultaneously. Focus on targeting your weaknesses during this trails session in order to improve them come race day. How? This is an unstructured ride - let the trail do the thinking today. If you find a section that you struggle to hit clean repeat that section a few times until you feel comfortable with it. Don't feel the need to practice every section you struggle with on a single ride, you can always come back another day! Keep the effort below 85% of FTP at all times and spend the bulk of the ride at 55% of FTP. Make sure to warm up before and cool down afterwards.
Bike - ISLAGIATT **Reduced Intensity 85%**
Four Dimensional Power Focus:
This is your go-to session when you need to increase your endurance and add in some threshold work but only have two hours. By adding in multiple surges and short chunks of time above threshold, ISLAGIATT overloads your system with metabolic byproducts ('the nasties') which your body has to learn to clear out more efficiently. Combining such long interval durations with these hard surges not only forces your body to cope with the effort, but it pushes you harder mentally because after each surge the effort right at threshold "feels" harder than it should. With the final intervals focusing more on short, repeated efforts you'll stress your body's ability to recover when deeply fatigued, making this more than just an "endurance builder" workout, but one that will help you keep churning out power deep into the final kilometers of challenging rides or events.