The penultimate round of the UCI Downhill World Cup saw Rachel Atherton again dominate the womens race (finishing over 11 seconds ahead of nearest rival Tracey Hannah) and Redcar Rocket Danny Hart again frustrate Aaron Gwin in the race for the mens title.
Danny Hart Suspension Training
In my last lessons from UCI Downhill post I talked about Danny’s (and Rachel’s) ability to master sliding friction in the corners and an essential component of them achieving this was balance on their bikes.
For this post I’ve chosen not to focus on something that happened in the race but on the Danny Hart profile that was earlier in the Red Bull tv coverage. The profile highlighted that Danny’s recent successes aren’t due to chance but a significant shift in the level of focus within his training program. The conventional wisdom that is repeatedly offered on mountain biking websites, in magazines and books etc is to fitness train in gyms and on your bike. There are seemingly endless publications supporting this. As with all things in life though, the people at the top of their game don’t do the conventional things that everyone else does otherwise they too would be average. It sounds obvious but to be balanced on our bikes our bodies need to be balanced yet many overlook this fact. The rise of suspension training systems in elite level mountain biking has been notable over the last two or three seasons but the secret that underlies this current ‘in vogue’ training technique is bodyweight training.
If we want to incorporate bodyweight training into our fitness programs we can look towards bodyweight training programs or calisthenics or pilates or so the list goes on. An excellent book I’ve read recently is Overcoming Gravity: A Systematic Approach to Gymnastics and Bodyweight Strength by Steven Low. The book focuses on gymnastics training and is packed with clear guidance on the how and why of training for basic, intermediate, advanced and elite levels but also provides advice on training schedules and the how and why to structure programs. For most it will take a few reads to get the most out of this book but it’s worth the effort if you’re interested in optimising your riding.
Danny Hart didn’t get where he is by following conventional, ‘mass market’ training programs. Overcoming Gravity: A Systematic Approach to Gymnastics and Bodyweight Strength offers insights into the some of the secrets coveted by elite riders.
Remember, if you’re going to take the time to practice, practice like the elite