N1NO – Hittin’ The Gym.

You might have seen this video doing the rounds on social media recently.  It is from the web series about the training and life of XC whippet and all round MTB demon, Nino Schurter.  If you have not seen it, then take 5 and watch it now….

Having just watched the video myself I had a few thoughts I wanted to pass on about the way I train people and what I can learn from this.  I was also imagining people (like you!) going home and trying some of this crazy stuff in your garages and falling off your kid’s skateboard!

1.  I strongly believe in training balance and coordination and regularly integrate these things into my warm ups for my riders at the gym.  Sometimes I also use balance and stability drills in rest periods between sets as well.  Improving balance and your ability to correct yourself from an off-balance position plays an important role in injury prevention, especially when you are falling off your bike on uneven and loose terrain.

2.  Nino’s training schedule as a full time athlete allows him to do a dedicated and very intense session of balance, stability and core training.  He has time to ride lots (way more than you!).  He also has time to do conventional strength training in the gym and in order to do all of this, he must also have time to rest, eat and recover in order to grow as an athlete and avoid burn out.  Pretty much all of the people I train have full time jobs.  Training time is very limited and so choosing what will get the biggest return on your investment is crucial.  Would dedicating a whole session to this type of training each week be an effective use of your time?  Quite possibly, however you would be missing out on an opportunity to develop real strength.  This is where copying the pro’s is not always the best approach and assessing your individual needs as a rider is critical.

3.  I have never personally been a fan of ‘circus tricks’ in the gym, like standing on swiss balls and doing a shoulder press and other things like that.  I have never felt like they gave much of a reward and that they were always compromised and focussed too much on looking cool.  Take my shoulder press example:  Doing it on a swiss ball means you can’t press as much weight, so you won’t get as strong. It really is that simple.  However, Nino’s coach has programmed these movements specifically as part of a broader programme of balance and stability, so it does seem more justified.  For you, who probably has limited gym time, you could use an exercise like this as a great warm up tool for stabilising and preparing the shoulders for a series of hard sets of a standing press.  Again, with limited time, simply copying the pro’s is not always the best way to train.

4.  I found his ‘cognitive’ recovery periods really fascinating.  Rather than just chilling out between sets, he did something that challenged his brain and coordination (juggling) whilst he was basically ruined!  I already apply similar principles in some of my coaching, but will be doing some more in depth research and experimentation on this with myself and my riders over the coming months.  For instance I frequently programme a bike session that I call ‘Fatigued Technical Skills,’ where I get my rider to sprint for 10-30 seconds into the top of a DH trail so that they are riding the technical sections whilst breathing heavily and with a high HR.  This simulates racing and also teaches them to ride relaxed and to keep a clear head even when they are hitting 185 bpm!  In the gym I also coach a deaf mountain biker and we do a lot of work on her balance.  Now we have made some progress with her balance we are challenging her more by doing some tough conditioning work and then balancing in the rest periods.  This is something that I shall look at implementing with some of my riders as well.

5.  In their gym they have lots of cool toys to play with.  My old gym had an Indo-Board surf trainer which was awesome and I think I am going to invest in one myself!  I already use wobble mats and Bosu balls, but I think that some more varied challenges would be good for my riders so I might crack out the credit card!

6.  Remember that the things you saw in this video are all out of context.  Whilst he is showing you some pretty unique and interesting training, does he do this all year or just for a pre-season tune up?  Does he do it weekly or even more often?  How does it fit into his broader programme?  Don’t get too hung up on the detail of what Nino does here as I think the take away message is that for most riders there are a few things to be learnt from this video:  The first is to use instability in your warm ups and/or training to build robustness and to protect yourself.  The second is that you need a really strong core to ride at the top level.  The third thing to take away is that his training is fun and varied, and yours should be too.  Finally, he is working hard, completing quality reps (not quantity) and it is all part of an over arching programme.

What are your thoughts on the video?  What about my thoughts?  Do you agree with me or disagree? I would love to hear what you think!

Stay Strong

Ben

Factory Knowledge #1 – Knee pain and running.

Factory Knowledge is your chance to pick my brains.  It is your chance to get your MTB specific training questions answered and to take the steps required to become a better rider.

In the first episode, Ben from MTB Strength Factory talks about knee pain on long rides and about whether running is effective for mountain bikers looking to improve their fitness.  If you would like to have your questions answered then head on over to the MTB Strength Factory Facebook page and leave a comment by the video or on the wall.

Stay Strong

Ben

 

Enduro Training Camp: 9th-16th April, French Pyrenees

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I am really excited to announce the first ever MTB Strength Factory and Altitude Adventure, Enduro Training Camp this spring.

Set in the stunning Pyrenees Orientales about 40 minutes East of Andorra, Altitude Adventure have been serving up amazing riding to mountain bikers from the UK for many years.  They have been featured in numerous articles in Singletrack, MBR and MBUK amongst others and people keep on coming back for the epic, natural riding on offer.

mountain_biking

The week is designed for anybody who wants to improve their fitness and skills for enduro racing this season.  It will be a mixture of uplift and pedalling to get you to the best trails in the area, with each day’s activity carefully chosen to offer you different challenges and to develop you as a rider.  This area is a hotbed of French MTB talent with riders like Damien Oton hailing from the region and training on the same tracks that you will be riding.

To compliment the riding you will be doing, I will be doing daily flexibility and mobility work with you all, helping you to recover and educating you on how you can improve this often neglected aspect of MTB training.  Without turning it into a school trip, there will be talks and presentations from me and Ian and Ange (Altitude Adventure and both ex WC level riders!) in the evenings to inform and educate you so that you can race at your best this summer and beyond.  We will cover topics such as nutrition, training, race prep and tactics, as well as offering you almost unlimited opportunity to pick my brains on all things training related!

Whilst we are calling this a training camp, it is not a fitness based camp with endless interval training and sprints!  Whilst you should come back feeling fitter and stronger on the bike after so much riding, including time at altitude, it is just as much about sharpening your skills and getting lots of demanding technical trail riding done, and even riding under race conditions using our timing kit.

If you are planning on racing enduro this summer and you want to go into the season better prepared than ever, then this is the trip for you.  The cost is £695 including:

7 nights ensuite accommodation with jacuzzi on site!

6 evening meals, all breakfasts and packed lunch on all riding days.

All your drinks – although you probably won’t be hitting the beers too hard on training camp!

Guiding, coaching, and uplifts.

Education and practical sessions with Ben from MTB Strength Factory.

You will have to arrange and pay for return flights to Barcelona as well as paying for transfer.  You will also need to pay for one evening meal out during your stay.

If you have any questions relating to the MTB Strength Factory side of the trip, including training, content and so on then please feel free to email me direct on ben@mtbstrengthfactory.com.  If you have questions about the area, accommodation, what bike to bring, flights etc, then it is best to visit the Altitude Adventure website or drop them a line on info@altitudeadventure.com being sure to mention MTB Strength Factory when you email them!

This trip is going to be so much fun as well as taking your riding and racing to the next level!

 

Distance Coaching – How it works.

At this time of year plenty of people are thinking about their winter training plans, and how they will go about hitting next summer fitter and faster than ever.  Some of you may even be thinking about training with me at MTB Strength Factory, but are put off by the fact that I am in Bristol and you live elsewhere.   Below, I want to outline how I go about coaching riders all over the UK, so you understand the process and how the Programming Package works.

The first thing that will happen after your initial enquiry is I will send you a copy of my New Rider Questionnaire – NRQ.  This is an in depth look at your current ability, health and training regime (if you have one).  It also give me a valuable insight into your lifestyle, when you work, when you can train and so on which will help me to write you a programme that will be realistic and achievable for you in the long term.  It is really easy to write a programme for a full time athlete, but it is very hard to write a useful programme for a full time employee with 2 kids and all the commitments that come with them!  Your MTBSF programme will be written for you as an individual and should fit in with your lifestyle.

Once I have gathered the info from your NRQ I usually follow up with a phone chat to run through a few things and to ask you any questions that may have arisen from your NRQ.  The next step is for me to create an online training programme and diary for you.  I use a simple and intuitive system to provide you with your training programme online, meaning that you can access it anywhere as long as you have an internet connection.  This programme also doubles up as your training diary, an essential tool for me as your coach, to monitor your training and progress.  By filling out the diary regularly and in detail, you enable me to continually improve and evolve your programme as I learn which types of training work for you as an individual.

Online training programme and diary.

Online training programme and diary.

I usually write programmes in 4-week blocks of training encompassing 3 weeks of training followed by a recovery week.  Each week your training sessions will be clearly defined so you will know exactly what you have to achieve.  Having said that, I do not tend to specify which day to do each session on, as this is unrealistic when real life takes over.  I give you a list of sessions and you fit them into your week as you see fit, and with my guidance.

When you first start working with MTB Strength Factory on the Programming Package you will have the opportunity to chat and email as much as you need to answer any questions you may have.  Once you are up and running with your programme, you will have the opportunity for email contact every 2 weeks to discuss your training and ask questions, and at the end of every 4-week training cycle you can have a phone or Skype consultation to discuss your progress and future programming.  This is all included in the £52 per calendar month (pcm) Programming Package, however for the most committed athletes with higher training loads you can have unlimited email and phone contact with me for £72 pcm.  This allows your programme to constantly change and adapt to your situation.  Both packages are subject to a £30 initial consultation fee for me to set up your programme and do all of the preparation work required to programme effectively for you.

To help you reach your goals you will also receive a copy of the Bodyweight Strength Programme (BSP) and a copy of the Nutrition Guide.  Both of these have been written specifically for mountain bikers and are normally for sale through the website as downloads.  As part of your programme I will likely ask you to do strength training sessions to improve your full body strength as well as conditioning.  By giving you the BSP I am ensuring that you have a proper programme with proper instructions on how to complete it, making sure that you are not wasting your time with bodybuilding style sessions in the gym!

The Programming Package from MTB Strength Factory is all about providing you with a personalised service, not just a one-size fits all approach like I have seen from some other coaching providers on the internet.  It is not built on fads or crazy gimmicky workouts.  Instead it is about long-term, consistent progress towards your racing or riding goals written in plain English and always taking into account your lifestyle and needs.

To see all of the coaching options available from MTBSF, click here.

Stay Strong

Ben

 

Building Endurance

MTB Endurance

Endurance is the ability to keep on going and ride all day; up hill, down single-track and everything in between.  It is an important physical attribute whether you just want to ride laps of a trail centre with your mates or race an XC or enduro event.  At the extreme end of MTB endurance are 24 hour and marathon races, as well as multi-day stage races requiring consecutive long days in the saddle at high levels of effort.

Endurance can mean a few different things, depending on your goals and your ability as an athlete.  For a beginner, new to exercise and MTB, increased endurance could mean being able to ride for over 2 hours with minimal stops.  A more experienced rider may work up to their first 60km off-road ride, including 2000m of climbing and plenty of descending.  An XC racer may only race up to 2 hours at a time, but needs ‘speed endurance,’ which is the ability to maintain a high pace for a long period of time.  The marathon rider needs to be able to ride almost non-stop for 8-24 hours at a time.  For the purposes of this article, endurance will mean the ability to ride further or for longer periods.  Speed and power endurance will be covered in future articles.

Here are a number of factors that affect a rider’s endurance and some tips to help you improve them……

1. Genetics:  Some of us are built for explosive, powerful movements, and others for long, endurance type events.  Usain Bolt will never make a good endurance athlete!  You can work to reach your genetic potential for endurance, but you can’t beat nature.  If you are naturally a more explosive rider you can still make good progress with a proper training plan though, so don’t be dis-heartened.

2. Bodyweight:  Power to weight ratio plays a part in how far you can ride, especially in hilly or mountainous areas.  Quite simply, if you are carrying excess body fat (or too much muscle bulk from the gym) then you are using loads of extra energy, meaning you can’t ride as far or as fast as you would if you were leaner.  The best way to improve your body composition is to cut down body fat levels through good nutrition and a healthy lifestyle.  There are lots of ways to do this, but on the whole you should keep your diet as natural as possible, drink lots of water, eat loads of veggies, and cut out sugar and processed foods.  In the MTB Strength Factory Nutrition Guide I take you through a 4-week experiment where you learn about which foods work with your body and which don’t, allowing you to make a personalised nutrition plan to improve performance on the bike and help you loose excess body fat.

3.  Fuel:  Chances are that if you can’t ride longer than 2 hours, then you are not fuelling your body properly.  You will need to have a meal that is high in carbs, with some protein and a little fat before you ride in order to fuel your efforts.  You may also want to use energy products or just carry some water and a bar or two to keep you going.  Either way, you will need to plan and prepare your food for long rides.  A great way to improve your endurance is to become more efficient at using stored carbohydrate from your body and to use more fat as fuel instead.  One of the best ways to do this is doing ‘energy work’ where you ride at low intensities for increasing durations whilst in a fasted state.  A great way to incorporate this is on a morning commute.  Ride in at a steady pace and have brekky when you arrive instead of before you leave.  Just be careful not to, ‘Bonk’ and build up the distance gradually.

4. Programming:  How do you expect to go out and ride for 6 hours if the longest you have ever ridden is 3?  This is the harsh reality that a lot of people find when they go to the Alps for the first time and they get knackered on the first long day of riding and end up having a silly crash!  You need to build up your distances gradually.  Write a basic programme where you build for 3 weeks and then have an easy week.  Do a short ride after work one day where you do some intervals and some skills work and then a long ride on the weekend……. Week one: 25km, Week two: 30km, Week three: 35km, Week four: 20km.  You then repeat the 4 week cycle with longer distances, so Week five would be 30km and so on until you reach the desired distance or time that you need to ride for.

5.  Efficiency:  We can become more efficient on the bike by improving pedalling technique, body position and even bike setup.  When we are more efficient we can ride further or faster for the same amount of effort.   You can get professional help for your bike setup at your LBS who should help you out unless you are a bit of a dick.

6.  Flexibility:  If you are really tight with poor flexibility and mobility then you will be restricted on the bike, affecting your efficiency, speed and endurance.  You may also pick up injuries or suffer from lower back pain, meaning you can’t ride as far as you would like.  My approach to flexibility is ‘little and often.’  Do some stretching most days, and always do some basic mobility before a ride, especially if you are straight out of the car or straight from your desk.  The best athletes are supple, and can move freely.

7.  Weakness:  The further you ride the more likely it is to expose your weaknesses.  If you always get the same pain on a  long ride then that is a clue that you should listen to.  Maybe the muscle in that area is weak or not working properly?  You can use your bodyweight or go to a gym to get stronger, just make sure that you work with good form and that you integrate it into your broader training plan.  Also check out my MTB specific Bodyweight Strength Programme to put you on the right track!

8.  Mental:  Don’t be intimidated by a long day riding.  Just ride at your own pace and take sensible precautions like having enough food and water.  Ride with more experienced and fitter people to give you confidence.  Finally, remember that endurance is very trainable, even in older riders , so get out and ride!

Stay Strong

Ben

Jerome Clementz Interview

Yes, you did read that correctly!  On Friday, before the Enduro World Series racing kicked off at the Tweedlove Bike Festival in Peebles, Scotland, I managed to grab JC for a couple of minutes to ask him a little about his training.  I think it says a lot about Jerome, and our sport in general that I was able to do this and that I just spent the weekend racing with the best riders in the world on some of the gnarliest terrain and tracks going!

Massive thanks to Jerome for his time, although I was a little sad to hear he hates the gym!

Check out the video and then read my thoughts below……

As a mountain biker in Britain we can often bemoan the lack of real mountains and lift accessed alpine tracks that our European cousins enjoy, however what we lose out on in sheer altitude, we gain in all year round ride-ability.  Living in the mountains, JC has to cross train through the long and snowy winter, primarily using cross country skiing for his off season training, with relatively little time on the bike.  Whilst keeping training specific to the sport is very important, especially as you near the race season, using skiing as winter training can actually be very effective for bikers as he has shown himself.

The movement pattern of cross country skiing and ski touring is actually very similar to riding a bike, especially when we look at climbing on the skis.  Both sports rely on a lifting of the bent leg in front of the body, followed by a powerful triple extension of the hip, knee and ankle to propel the athlete forwards.  Regular and steep climbs on the skis can really develop the strength in the legs, especially as you have no gears to help you.  If it gets steep, you just have to work harder, and this is exaggerated further if you are carrying a pack with warm clothes and equipment.  You are also able to conduct very similar training sessions as part of a structured programme, including long, steady flatter efforts, intervals, hill reps, power work and other workouts that a bike programme would cover through the winter months.

Whilst obviously not at the same level as JC, I actually have some fairly similar first hand experience of this from this winter.  I was lucky enough to spend the winter running a ski chalet in the French Pyrenees with Altitude Adventure meaning that I did not ride my bike at all this year until I got back to England at the end of March.  Knowing that I would be racing my bike in April I prepared by doing a lot of snow shoeing with my snowboard on my back to access backcountry and off-piste locations.  This was really demanding, both on the lungs due to the altitude, and also on the legs and back, carrying my kit, the board, and me up some pretty steep, sometimes powdery mountain sides!  On my return I felt pretty well prepared physically, and the bike speed came over a few weeks of steady riding, with some intervals as well.

Whilst I was disappointed to hear that JC gets bored of the gym (come and train with me?!?!), it was good to hear that he uses a trainer and also educates himself in order to best prepare himself physically.  We can all learn from a trainer, a more experienced rider or from reading, and if JC can find time to do it, so can you!  We did not go into much detail as you heard, however he must work hard to keep his core strong, enabling him to put the power down and to move freely on the bike to make it change direction in such crazy ways as only the top riders can do.  Personally, my approach to training this area is to use the big lifts and whole body moves primarily, however if you are not doing that sort of training, then some floor work or work with a swiss ball can certainly be beneficial when performed with intensity and a within a proper programme.

So, that was my short training interview with current Enduro World Series Champion, Jerome Clementz.  I wish him a speedy recover and all the best.

Stay Strong

Ben

Racing, Riding and More Racing

 
EWS Race Number

Last weekend saw round 2 of the UKGE at Innerleithen and some of the steepest, techest, gnarliest trails I have ever ridden, let alone raced.  Rather than giving you a run of the mill ‘race report’ I thought I would write about the physicality of the racing and my thoughts on how I might do my training a little differently, or how I could adapt my current training.

The 5 stages, spread over about 30km involved a shed load of climbing and a lot of steep hike-a-bike to get to the top of the hill.  The quickest racer on the day was Nico Lau who clocked up a total time of 17 minutes for 4 stages (1 was cancelled due to an injury) whilst I raced for about 22 minutes and got a respectable 52nd in Masters.  Whilst the transitions were not too tight, you had to keep moving and it was a very physical day, both going up and going down.  Those long, 1 hour climbs are hard to train replicate where I live near Bristol and I could have been fresher coming into the last stage.  With hindsight and having done the first 2 rounds, a bit more over-distance training would really help me to feel stronger for longer on race day.  Before Afan at the end of May I plan to get in 1 or preferably 2, 40km rides.  Ideally I would have done much of this work over the winter, however I was snowboarding in the Pyrenees instead!

The actual stages were so tough on the upper body and on the back leg and actually did not involve too much pedalling as they all pointed straight down the hill.  I found I felt strong and was able to manhandle the bike over the gnarly root sections and around the tight tree lined single track.  Without sounding arrogant, I felt well prepared and strong with my upper body preparations and would not really change anything except to do more long, non-stop stages to work on my finger strength and grip endurance.

This was a true test of bike and body and it was awesome, so thanks to Steve Parr and his team or merry helpers for a great weekend.    The story does not end there though as I stayed up in Scotland in order to race the Enduro World Series which starts tomorrow – 31st May.  I will write about the actual race next week when I have recovered, but for now I will talk about my race prep for one of the toughest challenges I will face since leaving the Army.

Basically I worked back from the race and planned my week.  The race is over 2 long days, with 50km and 1400m of vert climbing on the Saturday and 38km and 1500m of vert on the Sun.  I therefore came to the conclusion that resting on Friday would be the best bet and had a little lie in, lots of clean, natural and fresh food and water.  I also spent about 40 minutes stretching and had a very good sports massage to ease out the pain of the last week of riding.

I used the Wednesday and Thursday to practice the stages and try and learn some of the tricky bits.  They are seriously tough, and even steeper than at the UKGE round the week before.   Again, I found the same thing – I needed to do more long distance rides in my training.  I was able to do the practice days at a good pace, but it would have been better, and I would have enjoyed it more if my base fitness had been a little better as a result of more long distance training rides at steady intensities.  That increased fitness would also aid my recovery and ability to ride again at a good pace the following day.

Throughout the week it has been so important to keep eating enough and to refuel properly for repeated big efforts that have taxed every muscle and sinew of my body.  On the whole I like to keep things as natural as possible with my diet, however I have been using some excellent products from Torq that I really rate.  The energy drink tastes good, mixes well and keeps me topped up with energy throughout the day without upsetting my stomach at all.  After riding, the recovery drink is just as good and has really helped me to be fresh in the mornings.  After one very long day I had 2 full shakers within 20 minutes of finishing and it made such a difference. (I have not connection or affiliation with Torq, this is my honest opinion!)

On a non-training related note, I bumped into Steve Peat and made him a coffee in my camper van whilst his mechanic sorted his bike for him.  He is a top bloke, just like everybody says!

Steve Peat EWS

Overall the take home message for me is to do more over-distance training, so that when I encounter tough 30-50km events with lots of climbing that I can be really strong on them and not just survive them!

Wish me luck for the EWS.

Stay Strong

Ben

Strong Enough For Single Ring: Mid-Section

This is the second video in the series where I am looking at ways of improving your whole body strength so you can ride a single ring setup on your trail bike efficiently and quickly all day long.

Your mid-section (or core, or trunk) needs to be strong in order to link your upper and lower body together effectively, allowing you to generate power at the cranks.  It is an area of training that is often lacking, leading to poor pedalling technique, rocking hips,  and the dreaded lower back pain on longer rides.

Try and incorporate some of the exercises below into your training and see how you get on.

Stay Strong

Ben

Strong Enough For Single Ring: Upper Body

This is the first in the series of articles to help you get strong enough to ride a single ring setup on your trail bike more efficiently.

The focus here is on a few upper body exercises that can help to improve your posture and strength, leading to increased power through the pedals.  I use a couple of pieces of kit in this video, but you can do it all using just your bodyweight and a horizontal bar around waist height or a little higher.  You can often find these in the park or you can use a bar in the gym.  Once this series is complete, you will have a whole body workout that you can do 1-3 times per week for pure mountain bike domination!

You may also want to do some stretching, and mobility work to help open up the upper back and chest, and we will go over that in a future article.  For now, sit back, watch the video below, and let me know how you get on……

Stay Strong

Ben

Are You Strong Enough To Ride a Single Ring Setup?


Single Ring

For many modern British trail riders and racers, the single ring setup has become the norm over the last few years.  The ease and simplicity of setup, reliability, less handlebar clutter, and of course, bike fashion mean that it is an increasingly popular option for riders.  The question I am asking is, ‘Are you strong enough?’

If you ride DH, have SRAM XX1, or ride near Thetford then you probably are, but for the rest of us who ride up hills using a 10 speed cassette it is worth pausing to consider whether it is the correct setup for the hills you ride most of the time?  Living amongst the Scottish or Welsh mountains and regularly climb 40minutes plus in one go?  If the answer is Yes, then you had better be strong to push that gear for so long up a hill.

If you are running a triple or double chainset, then you can do some experiments over a few rides to see how you may cope without the extra rings.  It is pretty obvious really, but if you run a triple chainset, try and do a whole ride in just the middle ring and see how you get on.  If you grind down to a low cadence at the cranks on the first long climb, then you clearly are not strong enough to make the change at the moment.  Similarly, if you stall on the climbs and feel totally f*%&ed at the end of your regular loop, then you may not be strong enough at the moment.

Things are a little trickier on a double as the big ring is often 38/40 teeth.  That is about 6 teeth bigger than most people run on a single ring setup, so riding all day in the big ring will be pretty tough, but will give you an idea of what single ring life is like.

If you are already riding a single ring, then next time out, pay attention to the following things…..

Do you have to get off and push a steep section that your mates can clear?

Does your cadence drop below about 40 rpm at the cranks on long climbs?

Do you need to make large movements with your body from side to side to get the power into the pedals on the climbs?

Do you feel like you can ‘spin’ up sustained climbs?

If you answered, ‘Yes’ to the any of the first three and/or, ‘No’ to the fourth then you may be struggling to ride a single ring set up effectively and efficiently.  Now imagine you go for a weekend away in a hillier area, or take a trip to the mountains of Europe and you may find yourself in a world of pain.

Hopefully this has made you think a bit about your riding, and many of you will be totally fine with your current setup. However, to help you all out and to make sure that you can all ride the setups you really want to, I am going to be writing a series of articles to help you get strong enough to ride a single ring setup.  I am going to split the articles into 4:

Upper body

Mid-section

Lower body

On-Bike

If you can’t be arsed to read my articles then go and buy a range-expanding sprocket for your cassette or get XX1!  Haha

Stay Strong

Ben