Body Positioning For Mountain Biking

 

When coaches coach, they often exaggerate their body positioning to get their point across.

These exaggerations can cause confusion, and the common cue to ride in attack position leaves many hopeful mountain bikers misinformed.

The general cues for this 'attack position' are:

  • hinge forward from the hips so your chest is over the bars
  • bend your elbows deeply, and stick them out wide
  • drop your hips down by bending your legs

Have you ever seen this ‘exaggerated attack position’, or been taught it? Looks aggressive right? However the only time you’d need to get into what might otherwise known as a ‘tuck’ position is when you’re on a super smooth and straight trail and you’re trying to reduce air drag!

So for the majority of riding situations this is a rare position to be in, and very limiting too.

You see, our ankles, legs, hips and arms need to be available as our primary suspension, and when set up properly they have way more travel...

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The Truth About Learning Mountain Biking Skills

 

"Learn this skill in three simple steps!"

It certainly wasn’t that simple for me. There’s a big difference between the mental ah-ha you get watching a tip video versus actually learning it.

Most tip videos are designed to get as many views as possible, so they need to be visually entertaining and mentally stimulating.

[Want to know more about RLC and become a member? Learn more here]

So make sure you know if you just want entertainment or if you’re engaged and ready to practice.

The truth about skill acquisition is that it takes time, usually a lot of time, because:

  • Muscles need time to develop
  • Precise timing needs to be established
  • Frustration needs to be faced
  • Risk and fear need to be managed

I attempt to be realistic in my courses by providing:

  • Guidance on setting realistic goals
  • Building block lessons with attainable practice drills
  • Realistic Information about mobility, flexibility and strength
  • Personalized feedback and support

There is no magic formula or...

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Brake Modulation - a Touchy Subject!

Have you ever felt like your brakes are too powerful?

Or that your brakes don’t have modulation?

If so, then this article will explain why.

I’m going to use wheelies as context, but the theory can be applied in other circumstances too.

First off, brake modulation is when you're dragging your brakes, somewhere on the continuum between off and on.

In order to feel modulation for wheelies, your rear brake needs to be loaded, and this load is dependent on your Float Zone Weight Distribution.

For example, you WON'T be able to experience modulation when:

You’re in the front of the float zone or lower, or in other words a position where your front wheel wants to fall down forward when you’re not pedaling. If you add speed to this, then any hint of rear brake will throw the front wheel down without any chance to experience modulation. (Great for when you’re training your finger to rear brake habit).

Modulation during wheelies is...

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Winter Practice Ideas

 

Winter is prime time for cross training and refining your skills - it just requires some creativity.

Russ, one of our coaches, shares some great ideas in this video.

Do you have any winter practice ideas or suggestions to help inspire others in this community?

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MTB Skills Training Methods: Group Clinics vs Smartphone App...

Today we compare skills training options. Enjoy!

Two effective ways of learning new skills are in-person clinics and online courses. Which is better? They're both awesome but in VERY different ways.

Group Clinics
Where group clinics (or personal coaching) really shines is personal interaction with a coach, who can identify problems and provide a fix you can take with you. You can have real-time discussions and get instant feedback. And the social interaction of group clinics is a big drawcard. You’ll meet other local riders and make new friends. Some riders love this style of event.

The challenge all coaches face, however, is providing enough value to justify the price. We want you to experience progression, hence in-person coaching tends to lean on simple, easy-to-remember coaching cues. However, there’s a limit to how much you can learn or improve in just a few hours – it’s as simple as that.

It's not uncommon for students to become...

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Managing Risk to Crash Less

A while back I conducted a poll to learn more about how riders manage risk. The paradox soon became obvious:

Risk is an important part of mountain biking. “I've realized that some risk makes you feel alive, like you've accomplished something.” CW

But daily life requires that we reduce risk. “Now that I have a family and a crap load more responsibility, I take risk and analyze it a lot more to assess if it’s worth it.” KH

Yet if we are too risk averse our riding can suffer. ”I like to aim for low risk scenarios in my riding, but sometimes I feel as though aversion to risk holds back my riding progression.” RC

So the question of how to continue evolving my riding, while staying injury free is one that is always at the forefront of my mind. It’s a topic we cover regularly on my coaching site.
Here’s a brief summary, of this huge topic:

  1. Risk is inherent to our sport. It can not be escaped, only managed.
  2. Building skills can...
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When Reality Bites

Turning to the web for MTB inspiration is becoming more popular all the time. But are all those online edits and instructional videos sabotaging our best efforts to improve? RLC Ambassador, Carl Roe ponders the consequences of surfing your way to better skills.

The internet is awash with shred edits, fist-bumping bros ripping corners, whipping to the moon and living the MTB dream. These edits inspire us mere mortals to greater things and get us pumped to ride. But there is a dark side – it’s easy to become hypnotised by the stream of adrenaline-fueled propaganda and start comparing ourselves to the pros.

Back in the real world, our skills are amateurish in comparison. If only there was a way to ride just like our heros. Cue the 3-minute, “How-To” instructional edit. String together a few movements and voila, you’ll be [insert skill here] like a pro in no time… too easy!

But there’s just one problem – learning a new skill isn’t...

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Ramping Isometrics Training Program

I’m thrilled to introduce a MTB specific, time-efficient, and enjoyable strength training regime that targets weaknesses in every rider's body. Designed by one of the most passionate strength trainers in the MTB field, James Wilson.

Isometrics have you get into a position and apply force into an immovable object (in this case, a martial arts belt) which results in a lot of muscle tension, but no movement.  Ramping Isometrics have you "ramp up" the amount of tension/effort you are applying into the immovable object every 30 seconds, building up to momentary failure by exhausting the muscles ability to create more tension.

I can attest to the efficacy of the program having been testing it for the past couple of months. My glutes are firing strong and in sync with my quads which has helped alleviate knee pain. And my neck strength and posture is better, and my shoulder is feeling stable and strong thanks to a variety of tension holding positions that it doesn’t usually...

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Videos Around the Web - Our PIck for the Month!

There is so much junk video out there online, so every month our coach & ambassador scours youtube for THE BEST MTB VIDEOS with a write up as to why it was chosen. Here is one of the selections from coach Skye Nacel and why he chose it:

"Here is my submission about Casey Brown. She is an inspiration to many and her love for her hometown is awesome. It also shows the importance of mixing it up a bit and shows her shredding in other ways during the offseason - a good lesson for many of us in the MTB community.

In the beginning, Casey says, "When it comes to riding, I've never been a timekeeper but more of an artist on my bike" Enough said... "

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Meet Gareth, Kai and Olly - our new Ambassadors

We’re super-psyched to announce three new ambassadors this month. RLC has hundreds of comments and questions that flow in through our courses each month, and every one is caringly responded to by Ryan and the RLC coach and ambassador team. Gareth, Kai, and Olly have all progressed with thanks to RLC in the past and are ready to mentor!

Gareth Hanson's love of the outdoors has manifested itself over the years (in no particular order) with rock climbing, snowboarding, kitesurfing & of course mountain biking. Gareth started his love affair with the sport around 2005 and has since savoured trails right across the UK and Europe. His attitude to bike ownership is very much N+1 and feels no bike stable is complete without at least: a hardtail, long travel full susser and now (controversially?) an e-bike. Over the past 2 years, Gareth has qualified to level 3 mountain bike coach and leader, and runs his own coaching and guiding business in the UK.

Welcome Gareth!

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