Train for Slalom Mountain Bike Racing

Train for Slalom Mountain Bike Racing
Slalom mountain bike racing is a fast-paced, dramatic style of race in which two competitors ride simultaneously down nearly identical, side-by- side courses. The races are short, typically well under a minute. There are very specific skills required to do well in a slalom race. The following will teach you how to train for this exciting event.
 

Instructions

Difficulty: Easy

Train Your Body

Step 1
Increase your anaerobic capacity and drastically increase your power by riding intervals. To ride intervals, warm up for 15 minutes. Then ride with your heart rate 80 to 95 percent of your maximum heart rate for 30 to 45 seconds. Back off and ride slowly for two or three minutes. Do several sets of three intervals separated by ten minute rests, and train intervals no more than twice a week.
Step 2
Build strength with resistance training. While going to the gym is good, avoid heavy-weight, low-rep exercises because they build too much mass for bike racing. Instead, focus on high-rep, lower weight exercises that build strength and endurance.
Step 3
Train your legs and glutes with lunges, moderate weight leg presses, low weight squat thrusts and hamstring curls.
Step 4
Work your upper body for slalom mountain bike racing with lightly weighted crunches, bicep and forearm curls, tricep extensions, pull- downs, chest flies and shoulder raises. Do sets with 15 to 20 repetitions.

Build Your Skills

Step 1
Control your braking. For this exercise, you must focus on balance, weight distribution and brake modulation. Ride quickly and apply the brakes as hard as you can without either the front or rear wheel. Practice in slalom turns and on various trail surfaces.
Step 2
Work on your bunny hopping. Set up a bunny hop course or ride around a park and bunny hop everything you can. Many mountain bike slalom races don't contain a bunny hop component, but some do; know your races and train appropriately.
Step 3
Improve on your controlled slides. Slides are an incredibly important element of slalom racing, so this is a critical skill. Go into high- speed turns at faster and faster speeds, and work on controlling your slides until you are on the ragged edge of control.
Step 4
Listen to criticism and be aware of your strengths and weaknesses. There are dozens of ways to train specific slalom skills, so find a regimen that works for you. Be consistent and focused.

Develop a Strategy

Step 1
Step back and look at what you hope to accomplish with your mountain bike slalom racing. Maybe you're a professional, or perhaps you just do the occasional slalom race for fun.
Step 2
Take advantage of early season races if you are looking at an entire season. Don't peak in the early season, but use this time to get your head in the racing mode. Practice new techniques and strategies at this time, but don't overdo it.
Step 3
Get a coach if you are serious about mountain bike slalom racing. A coach's expertise can go a long way in helping you determine areas that need improvement and developing a strategy to win slalom races.
Step 4
Have fun. No one gets into racing because they don't love the sport. It's a dangerous, tough road, but always remember that you are racing because you love it.
 

Tips & Warnings

 
Always wear a helmet and other safety gear. Mountain biking is a dangerous activity, and racing can be even more dangerous.

Article Written By S. Daniel Ackerman

S. Daniel Ackerman lives to ride his mountain bike and has spent the last decade mostly on it, sometimes on the ground near it, surviving to write about his experiences.

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