Weekly Training Tip #1

Ok! Welcome to weekly training tips by Geared Strength! I’m excited to get these going for you all.

Before I get started I just wanted to say that I hope you all are doing ok, you and your family and friends are safe and healthy during this time. So far those closest to me remain unaffected by COVID-19 but I have had some contacts just outside of our circle become affected but thankfully on the mend. It’s possible that from here on out the landscape could look a little different for us but I feel as though the mountain bike community will hold strong and stay a strong community of riding support.

Alright. let’s get into this weeks training tip. Heart rate recovery.

What it is, why it’s important to work on for your riding, and how to work on it.


Why is heart rate recovery important for our riding? Mountain biking as a whole can be the same as HIIT interval training. Especially on multi-terrain, techy single tracks. When we fatigue we lose motor skills. The quicker your heart can recover the better your skills and bike handling stay intact. The stronger your heart is the quicker it can get oxygenated blood back to your working muscles so you can get on with your ride!

What is heart rate recovery? It’s a pulse measurement taken immediately after intense exertion or exercise.

How do we work on heart rate recovery? Working with heart rate recovery is knowing max heart rate (MHR), and target heart rate (THR).

MHR = 220 – your age. This is just a ROUGH estimate.

THR = MHR (220 – age) x % exercise intensity.

Personal trainers and/or athletes use % exercise intensity in training for various reasons. To push my heart rate recovery training I work in the 85% exercise intensity. I would recommend anywhere between 70-85%. Here’s what my calculation looks like.

MHR 220-48= 172 bpm

THR 172 x 85% = 146.2 bpm

So, do all of these calculations before heading out to do your circuit. FIRST thing, a nice 5-minute warm-up. Then go through your 4-5 high-intensity exercises, 30 seconds each (try to go back to back for best results). After the last exercise, concentrate on deep breathing and slowing your breaths down. Watch (or palpate) your heart rate and aim to get it down 25-30 beats under your THR within a minute. Do another 3-4 rounds. If you notice that your heart rate isn’t recovering within the 1 minute, you should rest longer, 2-5 minutes before moving on.

You can also do this as part of your interval work on the bike. This can be done on an indoor bike trainer, on a road bike, OR EVEN BETTER take your mountain bike to a part of the trail where you hit that punchy climb that tanks you every time. Then you can make a visual mark each time that you lose steam and have to stop. Next time you go out and train then you aim to get farther up the clinb. Do this training once per week during high season, twice per week during off-season.

Let me know how it goes! Ride strong, ride happy! Hope to see you soon.

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