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Spicy Lines and slow Lifts - what you need to know about Eccentric contractions

I was at the Squamish Enduro with my son this weekend and the descending skills and speed were off the charts with world-class Enduro riders from the Sea to Sky showing their home crowd just how awesome they are. It was also great to see a host (8 to be exact, and 5 of the top 7 pro men) of our athletes on podiums too.

When watching at the the Tantalus Bikes Spiciest line I was blown away by the ability of the fastest riders to make the tech look smooth. And it confirmed to me why we spend so much time working on tempo lifts with eccentric focus.

If you're not already, Understanding and incorporating the eccentric phase of strength training into your fitness routine could be the key to unlocking your full potential.

Jesse Melamed took the win on the day. Check him out here. He was coiled up like a spring at the top of the roll, then lengthened through the decompression before using all that biomechanical travel to maintain control through the compression. You can see from a little further up that this amateur rider isn't as active on the bike and as such they're getting bucked as they approach the big exit.

In the world of MTB fitness, recognizing the significance of eccentric training can make a substantial difference in your riding abilities and overall endurance. But why is the eccentric phase crucial for downhill mountain biking? Let's delve into the details.

The Eccentric Phase Unveiled

The eccentric phase refers to the controlled lengthening of a muscle under tension, often seen in the downward motion of an exercise. This phase is particularly vital for mountain bikers as it mimics the muscle actions and contractions encountered during steep descents and technical maneuvers.

By focusing on the eccentric component of strength training, you can target muscle groups that are heavily engaged during downhill rides. This specialized training method not only boosts muscle strength but also improves stability, control, and coordination—essential elements for navigating challenging trails with precision and confidence.

Not only that, but engaging in eccentric training helps to fortify muscle, tendons, and ligaments, reducing the risk of injuries common in MTBers. Additionally, building eccentric strength can enhance muscular endurance, allowing you to tackle longer rides without succumbing to fatigue.

Mastering the eccentric phase equips you with the power and resilience needed to conquer steep descents with ease. As you train your muscles to handle eccentric loads efficiently, you'll notice a significant improvement in your ability to control your bike during technical descents, ultimately boosting your downhill performance.

next time you're squatting, reduce your usual weight by 25% and try a 31X1 tempo (3 seconds down, 1 second pause, Explosive up, 1 second pause). It's a real challenge!

Why Eccentric Training Matters for Downhill MTB

  • Enhanced Muscle Adaptation : Eccentric training stimulates muscle growth and adaptation, leading to increased strength and endurance specific to the demands of downhill biking.

  • Functional Performance Gains : The eccentric phase mirrors the deceleration and braking actions in mountain biking, translating into real-world performance benefits on the trails.

  • Injury Resilience : Strengthening muscles eccentrically can prevent common overuse injuries, such as tendon strains and joint issues, ensuring longevity in your mountain biking journey.

Personal Insights: Elevating Your Downhill Experience

For mountain bikers, the eccentric phase is not just a training technique—it's a game-changer. Embracing eccentric training with a qualified MTB strength coach or through online strength training programs tailored to cycling can revolutionize your riding dynamics and overall performance on challenging terrains.

Are you ready to elevate your downhill mountain biking experience? Start your journey today and witness the incredible difference on the trails and in the rest of your life.

Remember, it's not just about riding the trails faster—it's about having more confidence and more enjoyment!

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