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Ride Hard: The Wild World Of Bmx / Mtb

Editors note: the following is an excerpt from the recently published e-book "Ride Hard - the wild world of BMX/MTB" that will be available in paper-back in early 2006. This section is applicable to all athletes looking to improve their abilities or the average person looking to improve the life. "Ride Hard" chronicles not only the life and demands of those who know the fine line between success and failure in bike sports but also how you train for them. From one rider to another "Ride Hard" is for those of you who know how to live life to the fullest.

The Goals First let's go through some basic ideas on off-bike training. Training should be done such that it elevates your riding ability pure and simple. One typical mistake, for those who to train, is the weight-room junkie, getting all yoked-up but having no-game on the bike. While dedicated to his/her training, this type of training mindset is off target and doesn't improve performance in anything outside the confines of the precious gym. Equally, the error of many training concepts today is that they have confused generalized training with intense specialization. In an effort to train with a back-to-basics intent the individual inadvertently specializes in weight room work that dials into movements that degrade riding abilities. Thus our off-bike work must prepare properly for intense specializing to riding and the inevitable situations resulting from falls and spills. The Solution With this understanding the Renegade plan of attack is uniquely different because it isn't concerned simply with certain exercises or training mediums but with the underlying Renegade Concepts of Training which are:

I. Movements trained, not musculature II. Efficiencies of movement reinforced III. Motor patterning and grafting IV. Postural alignment is perfected V. Stabilization in the most destabilized training environments VI. Force developed such that it can be projected, accepted and redirected at maximal levels. VII. Adopt chaos as your "home". When Hell becomes the cradle I rest in -- all else is easy.
Each one of these concepts is clearly adhered to within each component of training and at no time does any training go against these principals. The cornerstone consideration of Renegade Training is thus the development of a balanced athlete of grace, speed and strength which can be metaphorically illustrated as "the Wheel of Conditioning". The wheel is an interesting paradox of sorts. In our thirst for athletic development, athletes search for the mysterious elixir that will catapult their abilities further. Yet no "one thing" is the "whole thing" and to strengthen one "spoke" of the wheel while ignoring others will thereby weaken the integrity of the balanced, harmonious athlete. Again the wheel in its most elementary stage consists of a balanced development of:
I. Drive, Determination II. Sport Skill Skill -- Riding Technical Needs III. Range of Motion, Static IV. Range of Motion, Dynamic V. Agility VI. Linear Speed VII. Strength VIII. Work Threshold / GPP
These various attributes are the cornerstone to Renegade style training. Proper attention to each of these areas is paramount to achieving our goals. One notable exemption from the wheel and a point of confusion is the role of "balance." While the rest of the strength and conditioning community goes off into a diatribe over proprioreceptive training, they have missed the point, just like they haven't got what it takes to ride. It is my contention that balance isn't necessarily an attribute within the wheel but a condition and a byproduct of the entire wheel operating correctly. Within a properly laid out plan-of-attack "balance" occurs through sound design and mediums utilized as it is in-fact layered throughout the entire body of work, whether it be something as simple as varying work surface (from simpler choices of lifting platforms or soft sandy surfaces, grass or dirt to more extreme mobility work on the Indo Board, aggressive protocols with imperfection training, blindfolded lifts or quite likely the easiest adjustment to training, the wearing of the Xvest. Simply, with every level of our work "balance" or more accurately, postural adherence training is integrated. Balance in design, purpose and yes, life, balance is everything.
  • Drive, Determination & Dedication: This is the hub for which all else revolves around. Straight-up, if you truly "want this" you can get it. If you don't feel me yet, I'm passionate about everything--I live life faster and harder then you can imagine and nothin' holds me back.
  • Sport Specific Work: I will succinctly note this is not a book on technical skills but knowledge and yes EXPERIENCE RIDING is paramount in designing a program for riders. I do want to stress that your training is INCOMPLETE without riding. At no time can your off-bike training take away from riding.
  • Range of Motion: There are two forms of range of motion work-static and dynamic flexibility. To be strong you must be soft. To be powerful you must be graceful, to be able to fold effortlessly and just as easily explode you must be supple. It goes without saying that to ride well; range of motion needs to be stressed in every situation. Because of riding's tremendous demands we must also ensure that all work recognizes the body's three planes of motion:
  • Coronal plane: cutting the front and back portions of the body.
  • Sagittal plane: cutting the right and the left segments of the body.
  • Transverse plane: dividing the top and the bottom parts of the body.
  • Agility & Linear Speed Development: A rider exists in tight reactive environments where situations present themselves at a moments notice. Hesitation can not only cost a race but have dire consequences.
  • Strength: There are many forms of strength that are considered in our work as it pertains to adhering to the Renegade Concepts of Training. Our strength work is done to manifest improved postural alignment, the generation, acceptance and direction of force, compression and decompression as well as reduce the incidence of injury from the inevitable falls.
  • Work Threshold: At the core of Renegade Training lays GPP (General Physical Preparation), which will in fact serve as the foundation that all other work is built on. All training is a product of having sufficient levels of fitness and improved levels of overall athleticism that specialized skills can be built upon.
The role of GPP is intertwined with the idea of the Renegade Wheel of Conditioning in which all physical attributes needed for success are developed with balance and harmony. Each of these attributes work hand and hand with one another and should never be mistaken as autonomous. Simply, with a solid base of training and generalized development, enormous specialized gains can occur and thus it is imperative to ensure your training has a high degree of GPP, particularly in the earliest stages. Akin to a structure having a great foundation, a solid base of GPP will allow future gains and even specialized skills (if so desired) to be built upon. The eight basic points that GPP has classically targeted revolve around the first three which are typical concerns for any athlete, and the final five that uniquely work within the Renegade system.
I. increase work threshold, levels of fitness II. assist in muscular recovery from arduous training III. provide a unique variation to training that may have become monotonous or routine IV. enhance motor skills, general grafting of movement V. provide a conduit to sport-specific movement patterns where appropriate or transitory effect during training macro-cycle VI. development of sub maximal explosive work and introduction into "complex" styles of training VII. prepare the psychological process of concentration with the "fog of war" VIII. development of espri-de-corp and a relentless thirst for victory
From a compliance standpoint GPP is typically performed in both (a) Weighted and (b) Non-weighted Most typically weighted and non-weighted programs will be designed such that overall time of training per section is equal but if not obvious as with its title -- this needs to be "generalized work" and not merely a specialization of non-conforming lifts/work habits. Work within this approach can be somewhat a break from the monotonous scientific nature of the gym training. Chat with J.Davies Live in the Renegade Training Forums