Hello June!! Here in Idaho, we are approaching prime riding season so we are getting after riding on the weekends and training hard in the gym during the week when we don’t have the time to be out in the mountains. The main purpose of Enduro Method is to maximize our training off the bike so that when we are on the bike we can enjoy our time even more, whether that is training, racing, or just out for an after work or weekend rip. In this article (we are calling it “Coaches Corner”), we will be going over what is in the current Enduro Method programming cycle, and describing how each piece of programming works and how best to utilize that information to maximize your training potential.
In each programming cycle, we break down our fitness training days between Build, Ignite, Charge, Grind, and Sustain. These names are how we categorize what intensity levels and energy systems we are targeting. This cycle we do not have any Ignite or Grind training sessions, but we will in the future!
Build: We use the term “Build” to describe our strength work using the Anaerobic Alactic energy pathway. This system is used primarily for lifting weights and short powerful bursts of intensity, lasting roughly 0-15 seconds.
For this cycle, we are hitting some unilateral movements such as single-leg weighted step ups and single-leg hip thrusts. Both movements focus on isolating one leg at a time and building stability and hip strength. To round out the upper body on Mondays, we are working on the horizontal ring row and some vertical pulling with the upright row.
We do both unilateral and bilateral exercises, one is better for moving more weight and recruiting the most amount of muscle fibers as possible, the other is better for making sure we are balanced side to side throughout the body.
The other Build session during the week uses all the major muscle groups that were not addressed earlier in the week. We are doing some heavy barbell Romanian deadlifts, and also some single-leg wall slide Romanian deadlifts. One is great for building strength in the posterior chain (hamstrings, glutes, and back), while the other is for working on hip and spine mobility. For the upper body, we are doing some horizontal pressing with the dumbbell bench press and some vertical one-arm rotational pressing with the Arnold press.
Both of our Build days as always include plenty of core work that directly transfers to being able to produce and conduct force through the midline, to improve accuracy in reactions and corrections needed on the track or trail.
Charge: “Charge” describes a very hard effort that is repeatable using the Anaerobic Lactic energy pathway. During this training block, after a Build section, we will be doing a short 8-12 minute conditioning circuit. We are doing this for a couple of reasons, but the biggest one is to get some anaerobic work in each week. These sessions should be done with a very high intensity, they are fairly short and should be attacked, 9 out of 10 on the perceived exertion scale. We are looking for fast transitions between exercises and aggressive pacing on the rower or runs. Crush these sessions, you should NOT finish them thinking that they were too easy and too short...If that is the case then you did not go hard enough.
Sustain: Aerobic energy system. This type of training is typically longer in nature but always repeatable. The aerobic system is the foundation upon which all other systems reside.
Tuesday’s session is focused on improving our VO2 max through aerobic threshold training. We want a high aerobic output, these sessions should be very challenging. Because of the nature of the intervals, we are currently only doing these sessions one day per week. They take a toll on the system but are also highly beneficial to improving the ability to push at a hard pace for an extended time and recover in small windows of time when available. This type of training is not necessarily “fun”, but it is absolutely irreplaceable for those that seek true victory over complacency.
On Fridays this cycle we are incorporating Fartlek runs. Fartlek is a “Swedish” term meaning speed play. These are great opportunities to have fun and play around with distances, speeds, and intensity levels. Just start running, and make it up as you go! Sprint some, jog some, even walk some, mix it all together and do whatever feels right to you at the moment. Fridays this cycle are dedicated to building our aerobic base.
Aerobic base building takes time. You need to put in the time, consistently, in order to build a robust foundation. But once you do, it is easier to maintain. The bigger the base, the higher you can build. Virtually all things benefit from having a big aerobic engine. You can recover faster, and in shorter periods of time from intense exercise, your muscles can do more repetitions faster and longer with a bulletproof aerobic system. You can do bigger days, and more days back to back with less fatigue, and in general, just be out longer and perform better. The hard part about building a big aerobic base is that it requires time, we do one day a week of long slow distance, and one day of aerobic threshold training. Set a clock and get to moving, start laying down the foundation upon which all fitness rests.
Bike Skills: We have one day a week, dedicated to helping the rider have some framework for practicing drills on the bike. Because we know that this is where the rubber meets the trail. You get better at riding by riding, and better yet, you get better at riding by practicing riding. This cycle, we are practicing logs. Find some logs and try to get in at a minimum, the number of reps that are prescribed. Depending on your skill level, it may be important to keep it simple and find a log suited to where you are at. The more advanced you are, the more difficult you can make it. It can not be overstated how valuable it can be to go and session a piece of terrain that challenges you, but the more reps you get, the easier and better you will become in those situations. Riding and training riding are not the same thing. If you want to get better faster, you need to practice. There is no substitute for reps. A difference between a professional and an amateur is the amount of time spent “training” and getting those reps in.
There are so many important attributes that need to be in place to constantly increase fitness. That is why our program runs in cycles that constantly change and are always evolving, there is no way to hit everything, all the time. But with great planning and program design, we can build some areas without losing in others. We strive to do that at Enduro Method. All our knowledge gained from continued education and time spent in the seat, at races, and out on the trail, gets distilled into a ready and easy to use program. We pride ourselves on the fact that Enduro Method is the most comprehensive and well rounded fitness program for dirt bikers on the market today.
- Josh Rempel