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The Podcast for the MTB Strength Training System, the world’s original and best strength and conditioning system designed exclusively for mountain bikers.


In this podcast I interview Tony Blauer, who is the creator of the SPEAR System of self defense. As part of his system Tony has done a lot of work in helping people to understand the psychology of fear and how it can be used to help them overcome it.

Something that a lot of people don’t realize is that the same mental tools you need to survive a self defense situation are the same mental tools you need to improve on your bike and even to succeed in life. This makes knowing how to stop fear from holding you back a vital tool for your success. 

In this podcast interview we discuss why people who are “anti-violence” should still think about self defense, the Cycle of Behavior that fear causes and practical steps you can take to become better at managing the Fear Loop.

You can find out more about Tony and his SPEAR System at https://www.blauertrainingsystems.com/. You can also download his free report Making Friends with Fear at https://getknowfear.com/e-book1

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In this podcast I interview the creator of the Brake Ace system Matt Miller. Matt is the only person I know who literally has a Ph.D. in mountain biking and during his research for his doctorate he gained some really interesting insights into what it takes to be a faster rider. While the main topic we cover is how focusing on your braking efficiency can be the missing link for a lot of riders, we also cover a lot of other topics that can help you improve.

You‌ ‌can‌ ‌stream‌ ‌or‌ ‌download‌ this episode ‌from‌ ‌the‌ ‌link‌ ‌below‌ ‌or‌ ‌you‌ ‌can‌ ‌find‌ ‌it‌ ‌on‌ ‌‌Itunes‌,‌‌ ‌Podbean‌,‌‌ ‌‌Spotify‌‌ ‌‌and‌ ‌all‌ ‌other‌ ‌major‌ ‌podcasting‌ ‌platforms.‌ ‌

You can find out more about Matt at www.MTBPhD.com, the Brake Ace system www.BrakeAce.com and check out his podcast at www.PerformanceAdvantagePodcast.com.

BTW, there are a couple of spots where I lost my train of thought while I was on a tangent based on some interesting stuff Matt talked about. I was going to edit them out but then I realized that it was all part of the conversation and so I just left them in.

Until next time…

Ride Strong,

James Wilson

“Speed does not necessarily mean being faster than the enemy. It means being smarter than the enemy.” Miyamoto Musashi - The Book of Five Rings

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In this podcast I review the findings of a 2017 study on mountain biking injuries and give you my recommendations based on them for avoiding the most common injury patterns. You‌ ‌can‌ ‌stream‌ ‌or‌ ‌download‌ this episode ‌from‌ ‌the‌ ‌link‌ ‌below‌ ‌or‌ ‌you‌ ‌can‌ ‌find‌ ‌it‌ ‌on‌ ‌‌Itunes‌,‌‌ ‌Podbean‌,‌‌ ‌‌Spotify‌‌ ‌‌and‌ ‌all‌ ‌other‌ ‌major‌ ‌podcasting‌ ‌platforms.‌ ‌

Some people look at injury studies like this with a fatalistic approach of “that’s just how it is and there is nothing we can do to significantly change things”. I look at them and say “if people are getting hurt at a higher than normal rate, is there something we are doing wrong that is leading to it”?

Running Shoes is a good example of this - small changes to the status quo vs. a paradigm shift in how we look at running.

Is the industry getting it all wrong with the equipment and techniques we promote along with how we promote mountain biking to new riders?

Here are my big takeaways from the study linked to below:


Big Takeaway #1 - Mountain Biking has a higher than average rate of injuries in general and head/ spine and overuse injuries in particular.

  • With almost a third of injuries occurring during the race, MTB is among the sports leading to high overall injury rates in Olympic sports (20). During the 2012 Summer Olympics, 21% of mountain bikers reported acute or overuse injuries, half of which had led the cyclists to lose at least one training/race day (20). Fifty percent of recreational bikers and 80% of professional mountain bikers have reported at least one major severe injury directly related to the sport (35). Microtraumatization of contact and noncontact areas due to repetitive forces and vibration, in addition to fatigue, renders the rider vulnerable to overuse injuries (13). Such injuries are reported in 45% to 90% of mountain bikers (13). Injury-related cost of care for the cyclists can be a significant financial burden for cyclists and health care in general (46). However, the potential risks of cycling are outweighed by the health-related benefits of riding a bike.
  • The most common mechanism of acute severe injury for competitive mountain bikers has been falling forward (64.9%), and 85.6% of such injuries have occurred while riding DH (14). Falling forward had led to a significantly higher Injury Severity Score (ISS) and emergency department admission rates than falling to the side (14).
  • Head injuries lead to concussions, skull and facial fracture, cerebral contusion, and intracranial hemorrhage. In one study, oromaxillofacial trauma, fractures, soft tissue injuries, and dental trauma accounted for 55%, 23%, and 22% of cases, respectively (24). Dental trauma also has been reported in 25% of the mountain bikers.
  • In 107 cases of acute spine injuries in MTB in a level 1 trauma center, 95% were male (18). Only two were professional cyclists and injured during a race. Mountain biking spinal injuries consisted almost 4% of all spinal injuries (18). Cervical spine injuries were diagnosed in 74% of cases. Eighty-four percent of riders had used helmets and/or body armor. Fifteen percent of patients had documented coexisting brain injury. The ISS did not differ significantly in those with helmet (16.4) versus those without helmet (16.3).
  • Ulnar and median neuropathies are common among cyclists, with ulnar neuropathy (cyclist’s palsy) being present in 19% to 35% of the cyclists (4).
  • Prevalence of knee pain is 20% to 27% among mountain bikers (13).
  • With a prevalence of 16% to 43%, neck pain is a common complaint among mountain bikers (13).
  • While the clipless shoes provide the cyclist with mechanical advantage in energy transfer chain during cycling, they potentially expose the cyclist to some injuries including metatarsalgia (62) and Morton’s neuroma (34).
  • Low back pain (LBP) is a common complaint among mountain bikers with a prevalence of 24% to 41% (13).
  • Genital area numbness (GAN) and erectile dysfunction (with prevalence of 50% to 91% and 13% to 24%, respectively) are two of the most common chronic injuries of genitourinary system in male cyclists (27). Other complaints include dysuria, scrotal abnormalities, urogenital, and perineal pain. Impingement of the pudendal nerve in Alcock’s canal due to stretching, vibration, and ischemia has been proposed as the cause of pudendal neuralgia and paresthesia in cyclists (51). In contrast to road cycling, the more upright riding posture of mountain bikers leads to higher loading of buttocks area (42). Poorly fitted bike, saddle type, increased riding distance, prolonged seated position without standing, and high body weight appear to be contributing factors. Correction of these factors, physical and manual therapy, and minimally invasive interventions to block or ablate the pudendal nerve may be effective treatment methods. Male mountain bikers also have a significantly higher rate of abnormal ultrasonographic findings in scrotums compared with noncyclists and road cyclists, (94%, 16%, 48%, respectively) (46).

Big Takeaway #2: Downhill Riding/ Bike Parks are Significantly More Dangerous Than XC

  • Various terrain conditions and participants in the sport have led to a variety of injury patterns among mountain bikers. With only severe injuries included in a study conducted in 1995, injury rate per exposure was similar between DH and XC races (38). However, when comparing the injury rate per 1000 h, the DH cyclists had a significantly higher injury rate in comparison to XC cyclists. The injury rates were 7.5 and 3.1 per 1000 h for female and male XC cyclists, respectively (p = 0.01); while the rates were 46.8 and 42.7 per 1000 h for female and male DH cyclists, respectively (p > 0.05)(38).
  • An emerging trend is the growing number of mountain bikers attracted to mountain bike terrain parks (MBTP), which facilitate the DH rides and provide the cyclists with a variety of technical trail features, leading the riders to spend more time riding DH at high speeds (55). Mountain bike terrain parks have become a common location for MTB injuries where the overall acute injury rate for recreational mountain bikers is reported to be as high as 15 in 1000 exposures with 87% of injured riders being male (1). During the 2009 biking season in a MBTP, 86% of injury visits to a local emergency center were male, and 52% of cases were visited between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. (5). Upper-extremity fractures consisted 74.2% of all fractures, and 11.2% of all patients had traumatic brain injury. Almost 9% of patients required transfer to a higher-level trauma center (5).
  • Predictive factors for increased risk of MTB crashes include prior history of crashing, riding in the dark or in a group (60). Riding errors, trail conditions, obstacles, fatigue, and poor weather also are among the most commonly cited causes of injury (10). Riding DH, at higher speeds and competing in MTB races also are reported as predisposing factors (36,38). For recreational riders in MBTPs, riding unfamiliar bicycles and being faster than usual can be regarded as injury risk factors, while jumping, using safety equipment other than helmets, and using a new bike increase the risk of hospitalization due to trauma (55).

IMO these patterns show two things.

First, clipless pedals and the “sit and spin” mentality are leading to a much higher rate of injuries than needed. Clipless pedals contribute to the severity of OTB crashes and increase the chances of incurring head and spinal injuries while also contributing to overuse injuries from poor foot support. Sitting down more than necessary - especially during High Tension Efforts - leads to overuse injuries, especially in the groin area. By using flat pedals and standing up more to ride you will help to avoid some of the most common injury patterns seen in mountain bikers.

Second, it also speaks to how dangerous it is for the industry to promote our sport - especially the DH/ Bike Park  and even the Enduro scene - to people who aren’t ready for it and to not speak about the real dangers of riding and the need to be physically and technically proficient.

I know that these lessons probably aren’t going to be popular with the mainstream mountain biking world but hopefully they can help you avoid the problems that plague so many riders. Not all injuries are avoidable but by doing what you can to address the most common ones you can stack the odds in your favor.

Until next time…

Ride Strong,

James Wilson

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In this podcast I interview Kevin Estela, who is the author of 101 Skills You Need to Survive In The Woods and the Director of Training at Fieldcraft Survival. He is also a martial artist and combines lessons from that area with his extensive background in wilderness and survival skills to give a unique perspective on what it really takes to be ready for the unexpected.

You‌ ‌can‌ ‌stream‌ ‌or‌ ‌download‌ this episode ‌from‌ ‌the‌ ‌link‌ ‌below‌ ‌or‌ ‌you‌ ‌can‌ ‌find‌ ‌it‌ ‌on‌ ‌‌Itunes‌,‌‌ ‌Podbean‌,‌‌ ‌‌Spotify‌‌ ‌‌and‌ ‌all‌ ‌other‌ ‌major‌ ‌podcasting‌ ‌platforms.‌ ‌

You can find Kevin online at @estelawilded on Instagram or through the www.fieldcraftsurvival.com website.

In this interview we go over a lot of things that riders should think about when venturing into the wild. From skills and tools to the mindset you need, you’ll come away from this interview with a new perspective on what it really takes to be truly “ready”.

Here are some of the questions I asked him...

  • What got you into the whole “preparedness/ survival” thing?
  • Can you explain the “Ready Formula” that you shared in the workshop I did with you?
  • Why should a mountain biker care about wilderness and survival skills?
  • What do you see as some common scenarios someone who is spending time out on trails in the wild could face?
  • What are some tools that people don’t think about carrying that could make a big difference if they needed to weather an unexpected situation?
  • What kind of training do you think people should have to help them prepare for the unexpected on the trail?
  • What type of EDC gear should someone think about carrying? Can you explain the “layers” of gear you would want to carry?
  • You’ve probably heard a lot of tragic stories about situations that turned out far worse than they needed to be. Is there a common theme or skills that you would say is the missing element in the majority of these stories?

Expanding your skills into areas other than just riding are important for making sure that you can avoid bad situations and keep them from getting worse when you can’t. I hope you’ll learn some things from this interview that can help you today and get you interested in more training in some of these areas in the future.

Until next time…

Ride Strong,

James Wilson

“To practice your craft as a warrior takes a tremendous amount of devotion and you must understand the need for frustration while you are training. Few can understand this, to their discredit.” Miyamoto Musashi, The Book of Five Rings

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In this podcast I interview the founder of The School of Crazy Monkey Self Defense, Rodney King. Having both a Doctorate and personal experience on the streets of Johannesburg, South Africa, Coach Rodney understands interpersonal violence from both an academic and personal experience point of view.

You‌ ‌can‌ ‌stream‌ ‌or‌ ‌download‌ this episode ‌from‌ ‌the‌ ‌link‌ ‌below‌ ‌or‌ ‌you‌ ‌can‌ ‌find‌ ‌it‌ ‌on‌ ‌‌Itunes‌,‌‌ ‌Podbean‌,‌‌ ‌‌Spotify‌‌ ‌‌and‌ ‌all‌ ‌other‌ ‌major‌ ‌podcasting‌ ‌platforms.‌ ‌

Some of the things we talked about include:

  • How Rodney became a Real World Self Defense expert.
  • Origins of The School of Crazy Monkey.
  • Coach Rodney’s philosophy of self defense
  • Why a lot of what you see on YouTube won’t work.
  • Common mistakes people make in self defense scenarios.
  • Detecting and Avoiding violence.
  • Neurology of Interpersonal Violence and how this affects us physically.
  • How the mindset and tools needed to survive a self defense situation are the same you need to become a better rider.

You can learn more and sign up for a free self defense basics course at http://www.SchoolofCrazyMonkey.com. I strongly encourage you to start there as a first step if you need to improve your self defense skills. It is an important part of being an MTB Warrior and something that we can’t put off on someone else to do for us.

Until next time…

Ride Strong,

James Wilson

MTB Strength Training Systems

“Always be aware of the easiest way to accomplish something. Do not strive to do something difficult because you seek favor in the eyes of others.” Miyamoto Musashi

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In this podcast I cover Performance Breathing for MTB and how you can use specific breathing methods and workouts to improve your endurance and ability to focus in high stress situations. You can stream or download it from the link below or you can find it on Itunes, Podbean, Spotify and all other major podcasting platforms.

Here are the notes from the podcast:

In a previous podcast I covered the basics of Better Breathing for MTB and why you need to focus more on this important part of health and fitness.

The 3 Keys to Better Breathing are:

  • Nasal Breathing
  • Breathing with the diaphragm
  • Matching your breathing to your effort level

In this podcast I want to focus more on High Performance Breathing and how you can improve your endurance and ability to focus in high stress situations.

To do this there are 4 methods you can use:

Breathing Gears

  • If you look at your breathing patterns as “gears” then you can see how to use them more effectively.
  • You have 3 basic breathing patterns:
    • Easy: Nose-Nose with a 3-4 inhale and 3-4 second exhale
    • Moderate: Nose-Mouth with a 2-3 second inhale and 1-2 second exhale
    • Hard: Mouth-Mouth with a 1-2 second inhale and 1-2 second exhale
  • You can train this through Superman Breathing during your warm up and using them during your workouts.
  • Breathing Gears Intervals and Ramping Isometrics are two methods that train this skill directly.

CO2 Tolerance Workouts (a.k.a. Breath Hold Training)

  • Breath holds have a long list of benefits for us as endurance athletes (even DH Racing is a Strength/Power Endurance Event)

    • Improved CO2 Tolerance (changing your relationship with CO2), increased EPO (which signals maturation of red blood cells) and improved strength of the breathing muscles through isometric contractions are some of the top benefits.
    • By creating a Low Oxygen (hypoxia) and High CO2 (hypercapnic) environment you create the metabolic environment needed to signal these changes.
    • This is accomplished easiest by holding on the exhale and then moving.
    • You can do things like:
      • Walking
      • Running
      • Riding
      • Bodyweight Exercises like Squats and Push Ups
    • By using a pulse-oximeter you can see how low you are getting your blood oxygen saturation and make sure you are getting it to at least 85% (equal to being at 14,000 feet) to get the most benefit.
    • You are looking for 5 strong breath holds to trigger the metabolic changes you are looking for.
    • It may take a few times doing it to be able to push yourself that low - especially if you have a low BOLT Score - but you are still gaining benefit through the exposure to higher levels of CO2 so don’t give up just because the numbers aren’t going down that low.

Proactive Breathing

  • Tied to the Breathing Gears Method, this method has you shift gears before you need to when you know a hard effort like a climb or hard sprint is coming.
  • Doing this keeps you ahead of the fatigue curve by blowing off CO2 and getting more oxygen to the muscles in anticipation of the hard work to come.
  • Overbreathing on purpose like this has a place in your toolbox but you still want to avoid overbreathing on a regular basis both on and off the bike.

Breathing Workouts (Tempo Breathing and Fire Breath a.k.a Wim Hof Method style)

  • Taking time to do breathing specific “workouts” is also a great way to improve your High Performance Breathing.
  • Tempo Breathing like Triangle Breathing and Box Breathing are good ways to improve CO2 Tolerance and reduce Overbreathing.
  • Fire Breathing like you see in the Wim Hof Method has been shown to decrease markers of inflammation along with having a positive effect on the immune system.
  • I personally do 3 rounds of Fire Breathing and then 10-15 minutes of Breath Light to improve my breathing and mindset.

Your breath is the foundation of your performance and should be a focus of your cardio training efforts. Without doing that, over the long run you are usually doing more to reinforce crappy breathing habits than you are to improve your performance.

Until next time…

Ride Strong,

James Wilson

“Flexibility is a very important attitude. Things will not always go your way regardless of your practice and your attempts to define your own existence.” Miyamoto Musashi

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In this podcast I talk about fear, or more specifically, your relationship with it. Learning how to deal with fear is an important part of improving as a mountain biker and understanding how it works and what you can do about it can improve your riding and your life.

You‌ ‌can‌ ‌stream‌ ‌or‌ ‌download‌ this episode ‌from‌ ‌the‌ ‌link‌ ‌below‌ ‌or‌ ‌you‌ ‌can‌ ‌find‌ ‌it‌ ‌on‌ ‌‌Itunes‌,‌‌ ‌Podbean‌,‌‌ ‌‌Spotify‌‌ ‌‌and‌ ‌all‌ ‌other‌ ‌major‌ ‌podcasting‌ ‌platforms.‌ ‌

Here‌ ‌are‌ ‌the‌ ‌notes‌ ‌from‌ ‌the‌ ‌podcast...‌ ‌

This last weekend I went to a workshop put on by Tony Blauer, creator of the SPEAR System for self defense. While I learned a lot of easily applicable tools for dealing with a bad guy, I also learned a lot about dealing with fear.

Tony uses a flowchart to explain what he calls The Fear Loop and explains how managing it is the key to success.

In a self defense situation, getting caught in the Fear Loop will cause you to hesitate or fail to react at all when your life is on the line.

In life the Fear Loop is what keeps us from doing what we know we should do but keep finding reasons not to.

And on the trail the Fear Loop is what keeps us from trying new technical features or going on epic rides that we haven’t “trained for”.

Fear can weigh us down and oppress us or it can act as the fuel to survive and even thrive in all of these situations. The goal isn’t to get rid of fear, the goal is to change your relationship with it.

“Fear is a friend of exceptional people” - Cus D’Amato (Mike Tyson’s first trainer)

You can’t solve a problem if you are part of the problem and you are part of the problem if you are stuck in the Fear Loop.

The Fear Loop is basically the movie you start to play in your mind after a fear spike happens. In this movie you are cast as the #1 victim and it can have a lot of different ways to play out, including associations, visualizations, limiting beliefs and the doubt-hesitation-fixation-anxiety cycle.

The goal is to find a way out of this loop either through a Challenge or a Threat “Door”. Going through this “door” is how you start to figure out what you want, how to get it and what you plan is.

Acting out this plan while reviewing the results and watching for a slip back into the Fear Loop is the next step. While the goal is to move with complete confidence through this last part, you may be hesitant and not sure. The main thing is to take some action versus complete inaction.

The first step is to realize what is going on and be self-aware enough to figure out what you are really afraid of. If you know what you are afraid of you can start to get out of the Fear Loop much faster.

Remember, though, that fear can also inform you about what you need to do or improve as you move through the Challenge/ Threatened Door. And limiting beliefs are sometimes true but that isn’t an excuse to not try or to tap into other things like heart and grit.

Practice courage in small steps because it is contagious...but so is fear. Ultimately, fear can be the fuel that saves your life or pushes you to a new level on your bike.

“Change your relationship with fear and you will change your mind. Change your mind and you will change your life.” Coach Tony Blauer

Until next time…

Ride Strong,

James Wilson

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In this podcast I answer a rider question about e-bikes and another question on how to maintain muscle mass and strength while riding. You can stream or download it from the link below or you can find it on Itunes, Podbean, Spotify and all other major podcasting platforms.

Here are the notes from the podcast...

Q: “Are e-bikes good or bad for mountain biking?”

This isn’t about whether you should get an ebike or not, simply what my opinion of them is. I get a lot of riders who assume I must dislike them since they make things “easier” but that isn’t the case.

Like almost everything else in life, when you start talking about ebikes you need to first give your opinion some context.

While some people see ebikes as the next best thing to the invention of the “safety cycle” itself, others see it as a sign of the coming apocalypse. It seems to me that the problem is that two people can be talking about the same word and yet be talking about two totally different contexts.

On one hand you have the people who see the ebike as a great way for riders to ride further and longer than they would have, either due to age, injury or just their own preferences.

On the other hand you have the people who are talking about the weekend warrior type who are using an ebike because they are “easier” and seem like they want to be able to ruin as many people’s experience on the trail as possible with their ignorance of trail rules and etiquette.

Both of these types of riders exist and they both use ebikes. I completely support the first group but not the second.

Call me an elitist but I think that there is more to being a mountain biker than owning a mountain bike. The industry wants to “grow” the sport simply to sell more bikes and equipment, not because it is what is best for the sport.

I think that the weekend warriors who bounce from one outdoorsy sport to another and never take the time to learn how to help preserve the things they are doing are bad for our sport and will eventually lead to negative consequences for everyone else.

But that is an industry focus problem, not an ebike problem. Ebikes are simply tools and how you use them will ultimately determine if they are “good” or “bad”.

Q: I'm a 40 yo male who does a full body style workout 4 days a week doing all the big compounds and have made some great gains. My question is I want to be more proficient on my rides but do not want to lose the muscle that I’ve achieved. Is this possible? Thanks!

The ultimate question - how do I be good at riding without looking like a cyclist.

This is a great goal, especially as you get older. At a certain point your body starts to lose muscle mass and working on having and maintaining a healthy level of muscle mass is an important part of Riding For A Lifetime.

Another reason to want to maintain your muscle mass is that it is the best armor you can put on your body. The more muscle mass you have the more stress your body can take before something goes snap.

But to get better at riding your bike you need to ride your bike...a lot.

So how do you balance the two? Here are some ideas…

  • You may have trouble lifting 4 days a week while also focusing on riding 3+ days a week (which is what I would recommend you do to get better at riding). I’d recommend cutting back to 2 days in the gym and doing 2 days of Isometrics (Atomic Strength Training Program).
  • When you ride, focus most rides on shorter rides of 45-90 minutes. On these rides focus on your skills and efficiency instead of trying to “go fast” or “work hard”.
  • Once every 5th ride or so you can go fast/ hard or go for a really long ride.

If you have any questions you’d like to send my way I’m always happy to help, just send an email to james@bikejames.com. Until next time…

Ride Strong,

James Wilson

“It is essential for a student on the path of the warrior never to close their mind to the possibility of other possibilities.” Miyamoto Musashi

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In this podcast I talk about medical training for mountain bikers and why you need to know how to help yourself or a fellow rider. The truth is that what we do is a dangerous sport that usually takes place away from civilization and knowing how to stabilize someone who has suffered a traumatic injury until the real help can arrive is an important skill in the MTB Warrior’s toolbox.

You can stream or download it from the link below or you can find it on Itunes, Podbean, Spotify and all other major podcasting platforms.

Here are the notes from the podcast...

If you ride long enough you are going to crash. If you crash enough eventually you or someone you are riding with is going to get hurt.

What we do is dangerous and a lot of the time we are doing it away from civilization where help can take some time to get there. I’ve personally been around a few bad injuries, including a broken neck and kid who fell off a cliff, and I’ve known some riders who had bad puncture wounds, including the femoral artery with their handlebars.

The point isn’t to scare people, simply to point out something that the industry as a whole tends to ignore, which is probably resulting in worse outcomes for some riders who could have benefitted from someone who was ready to help.

Most people will say that they are ready to help if needed but it takes more than just the desire to help. You need the knowledge, skills and tools to help as well or your desire to help can’t be put to use.

The goal of this podcast is to cover some general topics, including the MARCH Algorithm for dealing with traumatic injuries, and hopefully spark some interest in learning more. I’ll also make some recommendations on equipment to carry to help you as well.

Remember too that the goal is not to become a trauma medicine expert, simply to be able to help stabilize someone long enough for the real help to arrive.

The first thing you need to do is assess the situation and make sure that it is safe for you to help. You don’t want to make the situation worse by adding another person who needs help to the situation.

You also want to make sure that someone has contacted help or is going to contact help. If possible, make sure someone is going to meet the help somewhere that they know so they can be led directly to the person needing help.

Once you have done that it is time to apply the MARCH Algorithm…

  • Massive Bleeding. If someone is bleeding heavily then you need to stop it before they bleed out, which may be only a few minutes if they have severed an artery. Tools to use include a tourniquet, gauze, compression bandage, quick clot or an “Israeli Bandage”.
  • Airway. You need to make sure that they can breath as comfortably as possible so check for airway obstructions or have them get into the recovery position on their side (assuming no head trauma so do this after completing the algorithm).
  • Respiration. Check to see if they have any sucking chest wounds that need to be addressed. Chest seals work best but you can also use a plastic bag and duct tape, taping only three sides to leave some ventilation.
  • Circulation. Re-check to see if you missed anything or any tourniquets you placed need to be tightened again. This is also the place to start CPR if needed.
  • Head Trauma/ Hypothermia. Head Trauma means making note of the presence of head trauma because you don’t want to move someone who has a brain or spinal injury. Hypothermia refers to how the body can have trouble staying warm after massive bleeding and you need to cover the person up to keep them warm, even in a hot environment. Solar Blankets work well for this purpose.

After you have assessed the situation and taken the needed actions at each step you are now ready to decide on the next course of action - stay put or try to move them to help.

These skills are also valuable in your everyday life where you could come across a car accident or have a bad accident at home that requires more than a band-aid to fix.

Being the MTB Warrior means having the skills to “bring the others back” (which includes being able to bring yourself back if needed too) and the medical side of things is an important part of that skill set.

And we’ll end with a quote from Miyamoto Musashi’s The Book of Five Rings

“Force yourself to develop the skills needed to become the warrior you define yourself to be.”

Be sure to visit www.bikejames.com to sign up for a great free isometric workout program and, if you like it, get the Atomic Strength Training Program.

And also visit www.pedalinginnovations.com to learn more about the Catalyst Pedal, the world’s only double-pressure point pedal that allows maximum stability and performance from your feet.

Until next time…

Ride Strong,

James Wilson

MTB Strength Training Systems

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In this podcast I explain what makes for good coaching cues when trying to teach and learn skills on your mountain bike (or anywhere else for that matter). There is some fascinating research behind the language you use when thinking about or talking about a movement skill and I hope that you’ll learn something that can make your journey towards improving your skills faster and easier.


You can stream or download it from the link below or you can find it on Itunes, Podbean, Spotify and all other major podcasting platforms.


While I go into these things in a lot more detail in the podcast, here are the notes from it:


One of the most important things you can do as a rider is to invest in your technical skills. The better your skills are the safer you will be, the faster you can ride and the less energy you will use.


However, not all methods of coaching are created equal and some methods are demonstrably better than others. There is some fascinating science around the subject of cueing and teaching movement and sports skills and it has changed the way I coach based on it.


I was first exposed to some of these concepts at a presentation I heard from a coach named Nick Winkelman at a Perform Better Summit. He talked about how he was taking a deep dive into the science behind language and cueing movement and that there were some interesting things he had found about how certain types of language and cueing were much more effective than others.


I started to apply some of the things he talked about and found them to be helpful and more effective. Last year I came across the book he wrote called The Language of Coaching and in it he spelled out everything he had found in the last few years of researching and applying the science behind coaching movement skills.


At the end of the day, learning and coaching MTB skills are no different than learning how to lift properly, throw a fastball, swing a bat or kick a soccer ball or any other movement skill and so the findings are as applicable to our sport as any other. And it is important for you to know this stuff in case you need to help another rider learn a skill and so you know how to best approach your own learning.


The idea behind coaching any movement skill is to give your brain the input it needs to figure out how that skill should feel. The skills aren’t “Step 1, Step 2, Step 3…”, they are the principles you are applying and proper application will feel different than bad application.


The goal is to move beyond Step 1, ect. and and not think about them when you ride. The best in the world aren’t thinking through the X Steps of Cornering when they are riding, they are going based on feel.


Like I tell people in BJJ class, the steps are not the technique. They are simply the window into the principles behind the technique and it is your job to use that window to learn them.


So this is why cueing is so important - they are the bridge between “knowing” and “feeling”. Good ones make that journey easier, bad ones can make it impossible for you to ever make it in the first place.


Based on Nick’s research here is what makes for good cueing:


  • Less is more. Most coaches tend to over cue a skill and give people too much to think about. While not science, my experience tells me that 3-5 cues per movement is the most someone can remember.
  • The body learns best through analogies that “stick” in the person's head and that these analogies will be different for different people. People don’t think in exacting detail and analogies can help you pack a lot of cues into one.
  • Internal vs. External Cueing. The science clearly shows that External Cues that focus on something outside of the body are more effective than Internal Cues that focus on a body part or muscles.
  • Use Internal and External language for describing but focus on External for cueing.
  • Direction of the cue can also have an impact (moving away from vs. moving towards something)
  • Using tape can help you turn an Internal Cue into an External Cue


The best cues tend to find analogies that connect with the learner to describe the movement in an external way that allows quality movement with minimal thought. And remember that you need the Position before the Pattern - the best cue in the world won’t work if you can’t get into the positions you need to execute it.


Based on this, let’s look at some cues for Body Position on the bike.


  • Common Internal Cues include “bend at the hips”, “tuck your shoulders down and back” and the infamous “elbows out”.
  • Alternative cues could include “push your butt back like there is a button on the wall behind you and you need to push the button”, “tuck your shoulder blades into your back pockets” or “get even pressure across your palms into the bar”.
  • You could also use tape on the shoulders and back of the hands to help people understand how to lower their shoulders while the hips slide back while keeping their shoulders over the bar.


As you can see, it is easy to get caught up in Internal Cues because External Analogy based cues can take some more thought and they don’t all work the same so you have to be able to adjust based on the student. Take a look at how you have learned and apply your MTB skills and see how much Internal Technical based cues you use and see if you can find some External-Analogy based cues to replace them and see how it works.


I’ll be posting some videos in the coming months sharing new ways of learning MTB skills based on the science behind cueing. In the meantime, check out the www.bikejames.com, get the Atomic Strength Program and buy some Catalyst Pedals.


Until next time…


James Wilson


“All men are the same except for their belief in their own selves, regardless of what others may think of them.” - Miyamoto Musashi

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