Downtime Podcast Feature – All about ankles

Exploring Dorsiflexion, soviet charts and more

If you haven’t already, listen to the downtime podcast

In the podcast we discuss many things to improve your riding, some of which require more explanation than can be spoken. This page is to help you educate yourself, navigate our website to find more free information but if you still can’t find what you are looking for, or want more info on a particular subject/need then contact us via the contact form.

The video attached takes a more in-depth look at dorsiflexion (ankle flexibility) – its importance for bike position, squat position and a bang-for-buck way to improve it.

We also discussed ways of getting stronger and simple programs to follow. Here is information for the Wendler 531 program and also Prelepins chart – an old soviet method of reps vs weight for optimal weightlifting.

Wendler 531

This method of trailing for absolute strength has been used successfully for beginner athletes for some time, because of the simplicity and progressive overload style it is easy to follow and can be extremely effective. If you are new to the gym and want to build strength, use this as a starting point, here’s how to do it:

Test your 3 rep max on Back Squat, Deadlift, Bech press and Overhead Press. Stay safe and watch our demo linked here …. for how to perform them properly. Note, there is no benchpress testing in our program therefore we don’t have a video demonstration at the time of creating this article.

Once you have tested you have numbers to use for each set of lifts.

Every 4th week is a “deload” week meaning you reduce the weight and allow your body to adapt and recover, the following week you start back at week 1 but add 2.5kg to upper body movements and 5kg to lower body movements.

You should perform each  days however, if you struggle for time you can condense them into 2 days by combining the squat and bench press then deadlift and overhead press.

On the final set which has a “+”, this means you complete the sets as described but on the final set the number written is a minimum, if you reach the minimum you should continue completing reps to failure (note, failure should not mean absolute maximum, please use your technical max meaning when you feel your form might break down on the next rep stop). For example, if it says 3×5+ that means your first 2 sets are 5 reps but your final set might be more, 8, 9, 10 or beyond.

We recommend doing the Wendler program with assistance movements alongside the core lifts, things like pull-ups, rows, single leg work and general muscular balancing techniques. If you struggle with this you can check through our video archive for more ideas and advice, research through google (be careful here) or you could sign up to one of our programs and you’ll never have to spend time guessing.

The Numbers

  • Week 1- 3×5+ Set 1– 65% Set 2– 75% Set 3– 85%+
  • Week 2- 3×3+ Set 1– 70% Set 2– 80% Set 3– 90%+
  • Week 3- 5,3,1+ Set 1– 75% Set 2– 85% Set 3– 95%+
  • Week 4- 3×5     Set 1– 50% Set 2– 50% Set 3– 50% (Deload Week)

Prilepin’s Chart

This chart was made by A.S. Prilepin, a Soviet era sports scientist, who train ed thousands of olympic weightlifters. It was devised to set optimal volume at the correct loads to improve power training. This is quite different from the 531 program which is a more strict prescriptive method to follow to increase absolute strength, this chart is for faster lifts such as the olympic lifts or squats and pulls at speed. 

  • The first column shows the training intensity – the percentage of 1RM (1 Repetition Maximum) being used.
  • The second column lists the number of reps per set per session on a particular lift.
  • The third column (this is the important one) lists the optimal total number of reps performed during the training session.
  • The fourth column lists the total rep range, giving some flexibility on total volume.

How to use Preilepin’s chart.

Although it was designed to be used for olympic weightlifting, if you’re new to training and use this chart for any lift, it will give you a good idea of how many lifts to do for optimal benefit. Unlike the 531 program, you have flexibility with this and can make it work if you hit the gym sporadically/less frequently. Use this chart loosely as a guide and not as a rigid training program.

I hope this article alongside Dowtime Podcast has given you the tools to train more purposefully and ultimately become a more confident rider. We’re not done yet though, explore our website to get loads of tips on training for MTB and more.

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