XC Mtb Training Program to Increase Your FTP
A great xc mtb training program requires the implementation of skill, workouts, periodization, and fitness. Mtb races are based on undulating courses that include steep uphill and downhill segments. Riders are often faced with working against gravity during the one and a half hours of the event. So XC riders need to build up a balance of endurance, mountain bike skills, and power. Below we talk about some of the factors you should focus on when building you training plan.
Xc Mtb Training Program
During an XC race, aerobic endurance is important to develop so you can sustain an effort for a prolonged period. Building endurance helps your body’s ability to overcome fatigue. This also helps you to remain efficient during the event.
The off-season, endurance, and cardiovascular capabilities have often declined. So during the winter months and early season building your base fitness is highly important and can sometimes be influenced on where you reside and the weather you entail. Spending time cross-country skiing or running is a good alternative to spending hours outside in the snow. These two alternatives help to improve your endurance if your time struck. This can allow you an alternative start to the season with a strong foundation that you can build from.
Mountain bike base training
If your one of the lucky ones that can ride outside during the winter months, slowly increasing your weekly volume is a good start. Try to schedule two or three long rides in a row. Follow this with one to two days of recovery. This will help increase your endurance and allow your body to adapt to cumulative stress, in turn building fatigue resistance.
Mtb base training is often thought to be slow miles. Instead try to add in some light zone 3 tempo rides into your plan. Make sure these tempo rides are implemented into your xc mtb training plan after five weeks or so. Any sooner and you will struggle with both the recovery and form to hold the power. Then start to include some mountain bike skills (cadence, technique) to your base training and you will see a marked improvement later in the season.
Once you have finished your mtb base training phase, you can move into more specific workouts. Since mountain biking requires a lot of strength Include some low cadence work during this time. Our athletes are seen after the base phase doing two low cadence workouts per week. We include this with a tempo mtb ride of up to 60 minutes. Still continuing the long ride each week. Then the remaining days as recovery rides.
Once you have managed a good 6-8 weeks of low cadence work and tempo riding. Now is the time to start building your threshold power.
Increasing your FTP on a mountain bike
Once you have managed a good 6-8 weeks of low cadence work and tempo riding. Now is the time to start building your FTP. You may have seen gains already, but this is the time where your FTP sees the largest improvements.
FTP is known as Functional Threshold Power. Which defines the highest average power you can sustain for an hour. This is an important factor in your xc mtb training program as this helps determine your training zones if using a power meter.
The key to improving your FTP on your mtb is consistency. Build the percentage of effort over multiple weeks. Start with intervals of 3-4 x 10 minutes at 92% of your FTP power and increase the duration until you reach 20 minutes. Ideally, you should be reaching three to four intervals during each phase. Increasing the total time at the percentage of at threshold. Then move into the next phase, which would be 95% of your FTP power and so on.
During this time is wise to continue will some cadence work during your recovery days. This will help bring up your cadence after the low cadence work. Including a simple 10 x 30secs relaxed effort above 100rpm will help raise your mtb cadence back up again.
Mtb interval Training
Once you have finished your period of threshold mtb workouts, its time to increase the intensity with some mtb interval training. During the last period of training, you would have seen a marked improvement in your FTP. This phase will continue that upward trajectory.
During this phase of training, we want to implement some short efforts above your threshold. This would be workouts such as 3 x 5mins at 105% of your threshold or higher. Remember as the last block of training, increase the duration each week and then move into increasing the percentage of FTP. Spending two days a week focusing on these workouts will see a marked improvement.
These vo2 sessions can be done on trails similar to your next race, giving you confidence in your ability. Also testing your technique you have been practicing earlier in the training plan.
Adding some mtb sprint training into your plan during this period can also be beneficial. But remember to decrease your weekly mileage to allow for a full recovery.
Mountain bike strength training
Mountain biking is not only fitness. Strength training plays a pivotal role behind the scenes. Adding strength training into a plan can help you become a more powerful mtb rider.
Strength training for mountain biking can also help increase bone density. When bones are subjected to weight lifting they are subjected to stress. This means the body will, in turn, increase the amount of density and bone tissue.
Just remember your legs aren’t the only muscles being used. Chest, back and shoulder muscles play a major role. Similarly, your core will be involved in stabilizing your position when cornering or descending.