Bikejames Podcast



The Podcast for the MTB Strength Training System, the world's original and best strength and conditioning system designed exclusively for mountain bikers.


  • 8 Tips To Help Low Back Pain

    08/03/2024 Duration: 42min

    Low Back Pain is one of the most common things that riders suffer from both on and off the bike. It can ruin the good time that mountain biking is supposed to provide for us and in extreme cases can even make riders quit riding. Even more frustrating is that there doesn’t seem to be a consistent, predictable pattern with low back pain and it is often a mystery as to the specific underlying cause. But if you ignore it then it tends to get worse until you have to deal with it. I have experience with Low Back Pain both as a trainer who has helped riders overcome it but also as someone who has suffered from it. A long time ago I tweaked my back trying to deadlift too much weight and if I don’t stay on top of it my back gets stiff and sore, plus I have to be conscious of it while training. This journey to find solutions for myself and the riders I’ve worked with has led me to discover some things that I feel can help a lot of riders out there. A lot of these things aren’t your typical “stretch your hip flexors” ad

  • Strength Training Basics For The 40+ Year Old Rider

    16/02/2024 Duration: 01h03min

    As you get older, strength training changes from a “good to do” to a “must do” status. Losing your strength, muscle and power are all realities for the 40+ year old rider and strength training is the best way to slow that process down. This is the #1 tactic for riders who want to do this for a lifetime - get and stay strong and you’ll avoid age-related physical decline for as long as possible.   Plus, improving your strength, power and muscle mass can help improve performance and reduce your risk of injury, so it helps now and acts as insurance against future losses. And while a lot of things can help, if you want to maximize your results there are some basic principles that the 40+ year old rider should be observing. First, almost anything can “work” but it eventually stops working and it may not build the strength and fitness you need for riding. The goal is to follow a training program that will help us on the path towards riding for a lifetime: improving our MTB specific fitness and our overall longevity/

  • My Morning Routine: High Leverage, Healthy Habits For The 40+ Year Old Rider

    27/01/2024 Duration: 29min

    In this episode of the Riding For A Lifetime Podcast I share with you my morning routine that helps me set my day on a good trajectory.  Maximizing your health and longevity becomes a big priority as you get older. You can get away with abusing your body in your 20’s and still being able to get after it but if you want to be able to perform well on a consistent basis into your 40’s and beyond you have to start making good daily habits a part of your routine. Over the last several years I’ve developed a morning routine that I feel has helped me slow down the performance decline and maximize my results from training. Remember that training actually breaks your body down and how well you support the recovery process plays a big role in how hard you can train and what results you see from your training. You can stream this episode or download the MP3 file by clicking the link below. You‌ ‌can‌ also find the podcast ‌on‌ ‌‌Itunes‌,‌‌ ‌Podbean‌,‌‌ ‌‌Spotify‌‌ ‌‌and‌ ‌all‌ ‌other‌ ‌major‌ ‌podcasting‌ ‌platforms.‌ ‌

  • MTB Specific Exercises You Might Not Be Using…But Should

    08/12/2023 Duration: 40min

    The term “MTB Specific Training” gets thrown around a lot but what does it really mean? At its core, it means using a training program that helps you ride faster, longer and with more skill. While the most “MTB specific” thing you can do is to actually ride your bike, there are certainly things you can do off of the bike that can help. In the gym this takes the form of strength training that improves your strength and movement quality in ways that help your riding. Strength is one of the more general physical attributes, meaning that what works for an athlete in one sport will generally work for another. About 80-90% of what you do with an athlete will be the same from sport to sport but there are some MTB specific things you can do to enhance your results. And no, this doesn’t mean using light loads and high reps because you need to build more endurance. In general, getting stronger in the 2-4 sets X 5-10 reps range will get you what you need. You can benefit from time spent outside of this range but this sh

  • Meditation For Mountain Biking

    19/11/2023 Duration: 46min

    In this podcast I wanted to share my experience with meditation for mountain biking. I’ve been meditating in some way since I was first introduced to it through a Tai Chi class I took in college and I’ve found it to be a powerful tool in helping me perform better. You can also read a summary article from the notes for the podcast below… Meditation is one of those words that elicits a pretty mixed reaction from people when you bring it up. Some people are totally into it, some people think it is a bunch of nonsense and some people think it might have some benefits but don’t know what to do or where to start. For those of us who grew up in the 80’s and 90’s, it has undergone a bit of a cultural shift over the years. Seen for a long time as one of those things that hippies did that had no real world value, it has been studied and found to have a lot of benefits for health, mindset and performance. Meditation is something that I have been using in various ways since I was 19. I got introduced to it through a rand

  • My Biggest Training Mistakes & Lessons Learned

    10/11/2023 Duration: 53min

    Something that I try to impress on my kids is the importance of being able to admit when you are wrong and make a change. Too often we spend our time trying to justify why we do what we do rather than trying to challenge it and see if it holds up. But that isn’t how we grow. There is a saying about how there is a difference between 10 years of experience and the same year of experience repeated 10 times. For too many people they end up repeating the same things over and over and never really grow or gain experience. One of the areas in my life where this is most apparent is training. I’ve been working out for over 35 years, I’ve been a professional trainer for over 20 years and I’ve been working with mountain bikers since 2005. And in that time you better believe that I’ve made some mistakes and learned some valuable lessons. In this podcast I wanted to share some of those lessons with you. Hopefully you can learn from some of these mistakes and avoid the same problems I ran into.  You can stream this episode

  • HRT for MTB

    03/11/2023 Duration: 33min

    Something that I think is hard to have a conversation about Riding For A Lifetime without touching on is the subject of Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). HRT has gotten a lot more popular over the last few years and is something that I think the 40+ year old rider should consider. To be honest, HRT is something I resisted for a long time. I felt like it was cheating and if I couldn’t do it “naturally” then I didn’t deserve it. However, as I’ve gotten older I’ve had a few things change my mind. I’ve now been on HRT for a little over a year now and in this podcast I wanted to share my experience with it and some things you should know before looking into it. You can stream this episode or download the MP3 file by clicking the link below. You‌ ‌can‌ also find the podcast ‌on‌ ‌‌Itunes‌,‌‌ ‌Podbean‌,‌‌ ‌‌Spotify‌‌ ‌‌and‌ ‌all‌ ‌other‌ ‌major‌ ‌podcasting‌ ‌platforms.‌ ‌ You can also read a summary article from the notes for the podcast below… The first thing that got me to rethink HRT was having several friends

  • Core Training For The 40+ Year Old MTB Rider

    27/10/2023 Duration: 36min

    Core Strength and Core Training are two buzzwords that dominate discussions around improving your MTB specific fitness in the gym. It is pretty widely recognized that having a strong core can help improve your performance and prevent injuries but what is Core Strength and what is the best Core Training? In this episode of the Riding For A Lifetime Podcast I cover core training for  the 40+ year old rider. While a lot of the things I discuss are just good core training strategies, I look at them through the lens of the older rider and what we need to consider that the younger rider may not. BTW, in the podcast I talk a lot about the importance of the Windmill exercise for core training. If you haven’t seen it before you can find a video demo of how I recommend you perform this exercise by clicking here. You can stream this episode or download the MP3 file by clicking the link below. You‌ ‌can‌ also find the podcast ‌on‌ ‌‌Itunes‌,‌‌ ‌Podbean‌,‌‌ ‌‌Spotify‌‌ ‌‌and‌ ‌all‌ ‌other‌ ‌major‌ ‌podcasting‌ ‌platforms.

  • Riding For A Lifetime Podcast - 3 Things the 40+ MTB Rider Must Start Training

    20/10/2023 Duration: 30min

    Since turning 40 over 7 years ago I’ve realized that my training priorities have to change. I’ve been talking more about the concept of Riding For A Lifetime to help give those new priorities a name. I’ve decided to change the focus of my podcast to focus on these new priorities and have renamed it  the Riding For A Lifetime Podcast. With it I’ll be sharing training advice and interviewing experts in the field of improving performance while also improving your “healthspan”. I got this idea from reading Peter Atia, who is a longevity doctor that recently came out with a book called Outlive that looks at the concept of both “lifespan” and “healthspan”. Lifespan is how long you live, healthspan is how well you are able to keep doing the things you enjoy as you age.  Having to quit doing what you love at some point because of age and/ or injuries is a terrible way to spend your later years. In the book he talked about training today for what you will need as you get older. It was an interesting thought experiment

  • The Best Way To Improve Your MTB Specific Grip Strength

    04/04/2023 Duration: 36min

    While pretty much anyone who has ridden a mountain bike realizes that grip strength is extremely important, it is a widely misunderstood subject when it comes to how to best improve it for the demands of trail riding.  This has led to an epidemic of riders who lack the functional grip strength needed to most effectively - and safely - interact with their bike through their hands. This shows up as wrist pain, hand numbness, elbow issues and reliance on “winged grips” to secure the hands on the handlebars. The problem is that there is a very important aspect of grip training that most riders simply don’t know about, much less how to train for it. This aspect of grip strength in something that you don’t see talked about much in the fitness world in general, which means that if you haven’t heard about it then it isn’t your fault. In today’s podcast I take a deep dive into the type of grip strength we need on the trail, why the conventional methods of grip training aren’t enough and what you can do to fill in this

  • Training For A Lifetime - Steve Maxwell Interview

    02/02/2023 Duration: 01h02min

    I have a special guest for today’s podcast. Steve Maxwell is one of the most influential people in my strength coaching philosophy and has been responsible for a lot of “aha” moments for me that have helped improve my training programs. I’ve been following Steve for well over a decade, first as a leader in the kettlebell community and later as an expert on training for a lifetime. He has been a part of the physical culture of this country for 50+ years and knows a thing or two about how to keep fit as you get older. I was lucky enough to get Steve on the podcast for an interview and had a great conversation with him. We covered his origin story (or why you should listen to him) as well as his insights into Isometrics, Mobility and Breathwork. If you want to learn more about Steve or checkout his programs you can find him at He also has a lot of great free articles and videos you can find there as well. I hope you enjoy this podcast interview and get something from it that can help yo

  • Is Overbreathing Impacting Your Health & Performance?

    31/01/2023 Duration: 13min

    While we all breathe, few of us are conscious of it and the impact that it has on our performance and health. This is unfortunate because how you breathe is an important factor and most of you reading this have one or more breathing dysfunctions. One of the most common is Overbreathing. This is where you breathe more than is necessary to meet your metabolic needs, breathing in more Oxygen (O2) and breathing out more Carbon Dioxide (CO2) than is necessary. While this may not seem like a big deal, chronic Overbreathing can cause some health and performance problems. So how do you know if you suffer from Overbreathing? Well, the easiest way to tell is to check to see how many breaths you take in a minute. Anything over 10 breaths per minute is Overbreathing, with 6-8 breaths per minute being optimal. If you Overbreathe at rest then odds are really high that you do it while working hard as well. And this means that you chronically Overbreathe, which impacts a few things. First, it is metabolically inefficient. Ea

  • Medical Preparedness For The Trail & Life: Brian McLaughlin Intervie

    26/01/2023 Duration: 01h13min

    Over the last few years I’ve had my eyes opened to the importance of medical training in case of an emergency. Most of us are never exposed to the realities of incurring a serious injury on the trail and few are really prepared to do anything if something happens. It doesn’t take much for a ride to go from fun and casual to a potential life and death situation. And even if it isn’t a life and death situation right away, a few bad breaks and things can go from bad to worse pretty quickly as well. The reason I bring this topic up isn’t to scare riders away from riding but to empower them to be the hero if they are called on. Nothing sucks worse than standing there while someone needs help and you don’t know what to do. The funny thing is, though, that it doesn’t take much for you to better prepare yourself. We’re not trying to become EMT’s or emergency room doctors, we’re just trying to stabilize the situation long enough for the real help to get there. One of the best resources I’ve found to help me become bet

  • Improving Your Health & Performance With Isometrics: Interview with Isophit Inventor Brad Thorpe

    19/01/2023 Duration: 53min

    It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of using Isometric Training to improve your health and fitness. I’ve posted a lot of articles, podcasts and videos going over how mountain bikers can use this powerful training tool in their programs. But I’m not the only one out there who is obsessed with spreading the word about Isometric Training. There’s a man who has been working tirelessly over the last several years to get isometrics into the training programs of weekend warriors and high level performers all over the world. Brad Thorpe is considered by many to be the world’s leading expert in isometric strength training. A serial entrepreneur, multi-patented inventor of Isophit, and educator. Brad has over 30 years of experience in the fitness and performance industry.  Since launching Isophit in 2015, Brad has grown the Isophit family to 350+ members across 31 countries. The more well-known Isophit family members include the US Army, FBI, Cleveland Cavaliers, Minnesota Timberwolves, Houston Rockets, Miami Heat, New O

  • 3 Ways To Use Isometrics In Your Training Program

    17/01/2023 Duration: 23min

    Isometrics are one of the most effective training tools in your toolbox. They are effective, safe and have a lot of research behind them.  They are also extremely versatile. You can use them in different ways to accomplish different goals, including getting stronger, helping you prepare for a better workout and making your regular exercises harder and more effective. I recorded a video/ podcast sharing 3 ways that you can use isometrics to help you get better results from your training program.  Show Notes: By Themselves To Get Stronger Isometrics are a great way to get stronger and increase your fitness by themselves. They are also super convenient and can easily be done anywhere with very little equipment (or no equipment at all if you only have bodyweight). Be sure to use both Overcoming and Yielding Isometrics. Overcoming is where you push into something that you can’t move. Ramping Isometrics are a great method to use - 30 sec. @ 50% effort/ 20 sec. @ 80% effort/ 10 sec. @ 100% effort Yielding is where y

  • What is “off season training” if you can ride year round?

    12/01/2023 Duration: 17min

    For a lot of riders an off season is forced on them by the local riding conditions. However, this definition of an off season gets really blurry when a rider lives somewhere that they can ride year round or they are able to get out in less-than-ideal weather (fatbikes, inclement weather riding gear). Because they aren’t forced to stop or cut back on their riding, for these riders the term has to take on a different meaning if they want to get the benefits of an off season (and yes, there are benefits to it). First, there are benefits to taking an off season. It is a chance to address weaknesses in your general conditioning that can hold back your overall riding performance.  For example, if you need to add strength or increase your mobility then that can be tough to do if you are riding as much as you can. It also gives your body a break from the repetitive stress that riding places on it.  It can also provide a mental break and refresh your enthusiasm for riding. So how do you do this if you don’t have to ta

  • 3 Things To Increase Your Preparedness On The Trail

    10/01/2023 Duration: 19min

    One of the best things about mountain biking is that it allows you to get away from civilization and out into nature in a way that nothing else can. The ability to cover a lot of ground and do it in a human powered way means that we can get to places and enjoy trails that not everyone can. And while this is one of the things that draws a lot of us to riding, it also presents a unique danger that not many riders really consider. The truth is that most mountain bikers are woefully unprepared to deal with a medical emergency or a survival situation on the trail. While most of us carry something to fix a flat or simple mechanical problem on the trail, few of us think about being prepared for something happening to us or someone else we’re with or come across. Sure, a phone to call for help is great but you may not have coverage and it may take some time for help to arrive - in that type of situation you are your own best First Responder. While there are a lot of things you should consider carrying to help you be

  • Ryan Leech Interview - Social Media, Changing Priorities As We Age & How To Improve Your Skills

    05/01/2023 Duration: 01h33min

    One of my favorite people in the mountain biking world is the legend Ryan Leech. Ryan spent decades changing what we thought was possible on a bike and has shared his passion for riding through in person coaching and his coaching website I’ve had Ryan on several times and he always brings a unique and interesting perspective on our sport and how to improve your skills and mindset. In this podcast we talk about the impact of social media on mountain biking, how priorities change as we get older and what it really takes to improve as a rider over the long run. Until next time... Ride Strong, James Wilson

  • Study Shows What Type Of Strength Training Works Best For Mountain Biking.

    03/01/2023 Duration: 20min

    If you haven’t done it already then this is the year that you need to start making strength training a priority for improving your MTB specific fitness. Improving your strength can help your fitness, your skills and your ability to walk away from a wreck. But not just any type of strength training program will do if you want to see results from your off season training and have them stick around until the end of the riding season. While a lot of riders assume that since we use a lot of cardio and endurance that we need to emphasize high reps and low weight, this approach isn’t what works best.  Science is starting to reveal what the best approach for mountain bike strength training is and it seems to favor a more aggressive approach in the gym.  This study that I came across looked at the effects of a traditional strength training approach to cycling - using a more endurance based protocol and stopping strength training during the riding season - with a less traditional approach which used maximal strength tr

  • 3 Things I Learned From Training Aaron Gwin

    29/12/2022 Duration: 20min

    One of the best experiences of my coaching career was being able to work with Aaron Gwin at the beginning of his riding career. I had a connection with Rich Houseman, who “discovered” Aaron at a local SoCal DH race. Rich called me and told me that I needed to start helping this kid because he was going to be great. I had the chance to work with Aaron for about 3.5 years, before he was a sponsored rider and then through his time with Yeti. Aaron was actually the reason that the Yeti team hired me because he was impressed with what I was doing with him and wanted to make sure that I was the strength coach for the team. Over that time he came and stayed with me to train and I had the chance to see him go from an unknown rider to the best American DH racer in a generation, getting 10th in his first ever WC race, finishing as high as 3rd in a race and placing 5th overall after just a few years of racing. I learned some valuable things from working with and observing him and here are the top 3 things I took away fr