INCREASE YOUR FITNESS AND COMRADERY BY UTILIZING THE HALO EFFECT
People often do not work out together because the training ride can be either too slow or too fast depending on the different fitness levels of everyone in the group. Here is a great technique I use with my friends so everyone gets the most out of each workout. It's called the Halo Effect.
Here is an example of how it works for mountain biking. The fastest rider (usually the stronger person) arrives first to the top of a pre-determined climb, he or she then turns around at the summit and heads back down to the person/group still ascending. Once the riders re-unite, the group then rides back up together. The idea behind this routine is that the stronger rider can help to motivate and to keep the less stronger riders company while they ride together. Once everyone reaches the top they can then recuperate together. Repeat the Halo Effect for the remaining climbs on the set course or trail.
Benefits include:Stronger person can workout at a faster pace and not cool down by waiting for othersThe less strong climber is motivated to climb faster and enjoy riding with faster athletesThe group recovers at the top together and continue onward and upward togetherMore enjoyment for different fitness levels to do activities together
NOTE- The Halo Effect technique can be used for other activities as well. Works great for road cycling, trail running, hiking and any activity that has substantial climbs as part of the route.
LIGHT DEADLIFTS FOR LOWER BACK STRENGTH
I have trained many people over the years and have found that almost all of them have had lower back pain at some point. I have suffered from lower back pain for a while as well. There are many different exercises for the lower back; however, I have learned that if you can do only one exercise for your lower back, then perform a simple deadlift. Deadlifts are easy to do and can be done almost anywhere. When I was having back pain, a doctor once told me that I may have to live with the pain for the rest of my life. I could not accept that, so I started focusing on strengthening my lower back muscles by doing deadlifts. I have been pain-free ever since!
How to perform simple deadlift - *Always consult your physician before you start any type of weight lifting program. Hold the dumbbell, barbell or weight with both hands in front of you in the standing position. Lower the weight slowly down towards the floor with your knees slightly bent. Lower the weight until you feel tension in the back of your legs (hamstrings) then simply lift and stand back up straight again, that is one deadlift. This activity is called a deadlift because you are lifting dead weight. When you lift the weight up, try to focus on using your lower back muscles to do the lifting (not your legs). Start with very light weight and with a few repetitions. Then and slowly increase the weight, repetitions and sets over time. For example, when I started, I did three sets of 10 repetitions with a 15 lb. dumbbell. Over time I worked my way up to using heavier weights. Let your body adjust and add weight slowly as you get stronger. You will know when to add weight as it gets easier to lift the weight. Never get to the point where you are straining your back. My back has never felt better, stronger and pain-free like it does now, thanks to this simple exercise.
Whether you ride a mountain bike, a gravel bike or a road bike, remind yourself to be as efficient and smooth as possible. Stay light and relaxed on the bike, constantly chanting to yourself, "ride smoooooth". Tapping your brakes lightly to slow your speed ahead of corners will help you to flow through them better. Relax over bumps and try to bunny hop obstacles when needed. Spin with a steady, even pedaling rhythm. Remind yourself to keep scanning ahead so you can better anticipate any upcoming braking and shifting situations. Remember, the fastest way from point A to point B is a straight line. Practice these pointers every time you ride, and I guarantee you will become a more efficient, faster, safer and yes, a smooooother rider!