Shawn came to me in the middle of Winter, looking to find a strength program that would help him break a performance plateau in his biking. He'd been an avid TrainerRoad disciple for the last few seasons and despite early progress, he had stopped seeing gains. He loved lifting weights and had played with different programming over the years, but nothing ever stuck because it either didn't fit his work/life balance, or it failed to respect his body. Shawn's in his 40's, he's a father and part-time Mountain Bike Coach/Winter Telemark Shredder, in Colorado. As is the case with most of us who follow an active life, Shawns got a few battle scars. Namely his knees (damaged meniscus) and shoulders (history of dislocations).
As usual, we started off with the NXFT Bike assessment ( find it here). We found that Shawn was carrying some stiffness created by his desk job, not to mention all the time he spends on the Bike or on Skis. Improving his Thoracic and hip mobility was not only going to help his posture and performance, but they were also likely to alleviate pain or future damage to his knees and shoulders. Yes, his shoulder mobility stood to be improved.
Enter the 4 Phases of the NXFT Performance program
After 20 years of Strength Training, Coaching and Injury Rehab, these 4 Phases have become the pillars of every successful Performance Program I deliver.
Shawn had 3 main goals for this season
- Manage or even heal long-standing injuries. Knee meniscus damage and shoulder dislocation.
- Have a Bigger Engine than the Teenagers in his Mtb Squad so he can top out on the climbs first and still have enough gas in the tank to deliver some top-quality Coaching.
- Increase his Max Power, to help Take on whatever epic climbs and punchy tech he may choose through the season. Shawn lives in the Denver area, so this means some of the most challenging Mtb Trails in North America. No big deal....
Starting in the new year, the timing was perfect to lay foundations that would allow Shawn to put down meaningful miles on the bike and make great strides this season. Movement quality showed him he could move his knees and shoulders without pain, the work capacity phase showed him they could be trusted during intense work. By the time we moved into the Strength & Power Phases, he was already feeling the gains on the Ski Slopes.
But was all this Strength Training actually going to pay off on the bike? You bet it was. Apart from Shawn's anecdotes of feeling strong and mobile, we also started to see the results coming. Starting in June, courtesy of Shawns Strava profile, he added an extra solo lap after a ride with his wife. He rode it at his own pace, not pushing too hard, having fun. The surprise came when he got home to review his Strava . He'd just smashed out a significant PR on a big climb he rides all the time! This was just the start, every week when I take a look at Shawns Strava profile, all I see is little Gold Medals! What's most important here, in my book is that Shawns been able to go about doing all the riding he wants this season without a second thought. He's performing to a higher level this season, despite riding less.
"What I really love, is that I'm putting down these PR's without really trying. I'm just going out there and enjoying my rides"