Downhill Sprint Training.

Pedals to Medals have been sharing their training tips weekly, and this weeks is all about spinning like you never spun before by doing downhill sprints, these are going to help you maintain maximum spin and speed so have a good read of the info below.
Remember you can get the tips weekly by signing up at or keep checking back here on Thursdays as I will post them all .

Sprints, Part II: Dig In to Downhills

By Mike Day

My last #WinningWednesdays covered the basic box sprint. Hopefully, you have used the past two weeks to get your sprints going. If you have, you should start seeing your first five pedals out of the gate coming around a bit faster. But remember, it takes time; the only way to see long lasting results is to keep doing them.

Speaking of spinning–do you ever feel that you can’t pedal any faster? That you’re flat-out wound-out? I remember the first season racing BMX Supercross, the tracks were a lot faster with the eight-meter starting ramp, and I felt like I could never keep up with my pedals. The worst was between the first and second jumps and coming out of the corners. My track speed was my big advantage, and not getting out of the corners with “positive drive” was very frustrating. I had to figure out a way to keep up with my pedals, at speed. I was already doing the box sprint we talked about a couple weeks ago, but then I started doing them on a steep downhill.

The set up is the same as before, but let’s review:

•What you want to do is find a box that is the exact height of your pedals in the gate. If you can’t find one you are going to have to build one like I did out of wood.

•Put it under your back pedal on flat ground. Mark off the distance you want to sprint with the box being your start and a cone signaling the end of the sprint.

•Balance on the box like you do in your start position and pedal off of it to the cone. Don’t worry so much about the first pedal but more about your second pedal through the cone. Be sure to stand tall with your chest up like you are in a race at the track. Remember it’s not about the start so don’t worry so much about your gate form and focus on the exercise.

•Concentrate on spinning perfect circles when you’re at top speed. That part of the exercise is most important, and exactly what you are working on training yourself to do. The steeper the hill the harder its going to be to keep up with the pedals. The goal of the exercise is to keep execrating through to the end where you have the cone.

These sprints will be a lot harder and more taxing than the regular box sprint so just focus on doing 6-8 good runs in a session. Split them up into two sets of four sprints, and take long breaks between them. You want to mark off at least 20 cranks for this exercise so you hold the high speed for a long time and work on spinning the circle but still accelerating (what I called “positive drive” above).

Take enough time so you are almost at full recovery before you do the next sprint. And, most importantly, be sure you are doing these in a safe area, free of cars or cross-traffic. Wear your helmet and full pads for these cause you are going to be going FAST! I found a steep hill on the bike path by my house where I can do my downhill sprints with no fear of cars getting in my way. Look for a place like that so you can focus on the sprint and not dodging anything. These sprints will help you gain speed out of the corners and between jumps like you haven’t seen before. Try and get at least one of these sessions in every week.

If you can find a good balance between the basic box sprint we talked about a couple weeks ago and downhill sprints, you will be accelerating around the entire track.

Remember, you have to find what your weaknesses are and attack them until they become strengths. It’s always hard to work on things we aren’t good at, but that’s why the reward of seeing results is so great.

As I’ve said before, have fun with the process. If you’re coming to Chula Vista next week for the Hall of Fame Nationals, or coming to check out the SX finale, I’ll see you there!

Mike Day, co-founder, Pedals 2 Medals

About Pedals 2 Medals: US Olympic Medalists Mike Day and Donny Robinson are developing the Pedals 2 Medals virtual BMX coaching platform to address the needs of BMX racers of all skill levels and geographic locations. Visit often for updates on our pre-launch progress.


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