MTB Strength Coach – January Combo Drill

I just did MTB trainer James Wilson’s January combo drill, and it’s pretty sweet. Check it out:

James’ dumbbell combo drills employ several full-body, multi-joint exercises in succession. The drills develop mobility, strength and conditioning. James uses them at the end of his workout; they’re also a nice little workout on their own.

– Squat press
– Dead lift
– Weighted burpee

– Do five reps of each exercise. That’s one set.
– Recover as needed.
– Repeat for a total of five sets.

– James says to pick a weight that makes you work so hard you need a little rest after each set.

– Time how long it takes to complete all of the work. Try to reduce the time. As James says, try to do more work in less time.

James gives you detailed instructions for each exercise, and he shows them in succession. From

My try
First, I warmed up with 30 minutes on the trainer.

I picked a weight I know my shoulders can handle: 15 pounds on each arm. That felt way too light for the dead lifts, but it felt good on the squat presses and burpees (I added a pushup to each burpee, which James does not advise because it can compromise your form).

At the end of each set, my heart rate was about 160 bpm.

Each set took about 1:30, and I rested until the 2-minute mark. The five sets took 9:30.

I did some bent rows and upright rows to hit the rest of my shoulder zone, then I cooled down for 10 minutes on the bike.

Afterward I felt warm and engaged. Pretty sweet.

More info
For more workouts like this, organized into a complete program, check out James’ MTB Combo Workout Program.

For lots of great training info, check out James Wilson’s site:


— Lee

5 replies
  1. Trevor says:

    this guys got some good stuff,

    i need stuff for weights and upper body work, its almost got me excited to go the guy again!

  2. Naoko says:

    Hi Lee,
    I just got started with James’ program and it is amazing! I was really disappointed with a trainer who was suppposed to be sports specific specialist. Then I saw about him on your website. Sweeeet! Happy New Year!

  3. Greg says:

    Hi Lee;

    I’ve been using the MTB DB Combo workout and was thinking about adding the Ultimate Workout for a more thorough workout. I understand you have used both. Could you comment on when you use one vs the other? I guess I’m just wondering if the Ultimate might be overkill for a 50 year old recreational rider like myself or would the overall conditioning be worth it whether I was a rider or not.

  4. Evan says:

    Hey Lee! Just rocked this for the first time, very cool! We rocked it at the house Feats of Strength style, got to breathing hard every set. I threw in an upright row at the top of the deadlift for added awesomeness, pretty cool. We also did the suggested variation including the pushup mid-burpee. Rock!

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