Team Camp: Balance, Strength & Fit – Why You Need This Too.

April 28, 2011

Have you ever thought about conducting a work out program that involved core strength training, having a bicycle fit to increase power, working on balance, stretching with bicycle specific yoga poses or conducted a functional movement screening test for injury prevention?

This past weekend the Ride Giant / Ride Northstar mountain bike team hosted their first annual team camp lead by their team coach Tim Evens and his assistant Rene Bates from Rebound Performance at Northstar-at-Tahoe resort in Lake Tahoe with featured guests Scott Williams of Tahoe Synergy,  former Australian national team coach and downhill legend Scott Sharples along with Nikki Dean and Liz Schenk of Tahoe Forest Wellness Center.

All six are highly skilled fitness trainers, physical therapists and yoga experts who came together to educate and conduct training programs for the Ride Giant / Ride Northstar team riders. The team camp program focused on the benefits of  bicycle fit, core strength, balance, stretching and functional movement screening tests.

All these characteristics are built to prevent injury and increase performance. These are key topic characteristics that many people forget about which if not participated in can lead to life long injuries.

Nikki Dean conducts bicycle specific yoga class for team riders

The team camp weekend began with Tim Evens and Rene Bates conducting a presentation on the importance of core strength training and bicycle specific stretching exercises.

During the day on Saturday Tim Evens conducted a plyometric balance circuit training session for the athletes. The benefits of plyometric training is to increase strength and balance. Lots of the riders realized the importance to activating other muscle groups that increases performance and stabilizes their body for better balance on the bike which in turn can help with their bicycle handling skills.

After the plyometric training session the riders split up into three different stations that incorporated Custom Bicycle Fits by Tim Evens, Physical Therapy examinations by Rene Bates and a Q & A session with Scott Sharples.

Station one hosted the bicycle fit location with Tim Evens. Evens stresses that a bike that is not fitted properly can cause pain and discomfort while riding. By getting a bicycle fit, you’ll ensure that you get a bike that fits you and also learn techniques to help improve your riding. A bike fit will help you learn to find a balanced place on the bike, which will reduce the amount of wasted energy and extra muscular movements. We teach pedal mechanics that will result in a smooth, circular movement that reduces strain on your muscles and joints and helps you to ride more comfortably and efficiently.

Tim Evens performs bicycle fitting.

While Evens conducted the bicycle fits he had live video feed capturing the riders posture on the bike that was projected on to a large screen so the riders could see how their form looked to help correct their positioning flaws easier.


In addition to the bicycle fitting Tim conducted a test on each rider to measure their power output from each leg.

Data from Tim's computer measuring the power output from each leg of the rider.

Tim Evens looks at the data to accurately fit the bikes for each rider.

In station two, Rene Bates of Rebound Performance worked on conducting physical therapy examinations. After each examination, Bates gave each rider a program of exercises to conduct to help prevent injury and pain. There were many situations where the riders were surprised to find out that the problem was actually caused by other tight muscle groups than they originally suspected.

Rene Bates performs examinations on each rider.

In station three team riders got to have a very special Q & A experience with downhill and cross country legend Scott Sharples who is was also the former Australian national team coach and responsible for helping some of the best Australian riders become world champions.

Scott Scharples chats with team in Q & A session

The day on Saturday ended with a ride for both the cross country and downhill riders.  The groups split up traveling to Auburn for a cross country ride and Reno for a downhill shuttle session ride. Due to all the snow still in Lake Tahoe the team had to travel down off the mountain to get some dirt action. Here is a fun video from the downhill ride.

On Sunday the team camp continued with more great developmental programs. The day featured more bicycle fits, a bicycle specific yoga class and functional movement screening tests on all the riders.

The day began with the bicycle specific yoga class by Nikki Dean which focused on losing the hips, pelvis, lower back, hamstrings and lats. These are typical chronically tight muscle areas for cyclists that limit performance and cause injury along with pain.

One of the many poses Nikki had the riders perform.

After yoga the day dove right into more bicycle fits with Tim Evens and functional movement screening tests conducted by Scott Williams of Tahoe Synergy and Liz Schenk of Tahoe Forest Wellness Center.

Functional movement screening tests are increasing in popularity. Functional the FMS is a ranking and grading system that documents movement patterns that are key to normal function. By screening these patterns, the FMS readily identifies functional limitations and asymmetries. These are issues that can reduce the effects of functional training and physical conditioning and distort body awareness.

Here is a good video of Scott Williams talking about the scoring system and the importance of fixing the asymmetries of the body.

The FMS generates the Functional Movement Screen Score, which is used to target problems and track progress. This scoring system is directly linked to the most beneficial corrective exercises to restore mechanically sound movement patterns.

Liz Schenk conducts one of the series of movement tests on rider Lizzy English.

Exercise professionals monitor the FMS score to track progress and to identify those exercises that will be most effective to restore proper movement and build strength in each individual.

Leg lift test measuring flexibility of the hamstrings.

Here is a great video of Scott Williams giving some tips on good stretching poses to correct a low score on the leg lift movement test.

If you would like to take advantage of any of developmental topics and meet with the experts for yourself, here is the contact information below for each coach:

Bicycle Fitting, Strength Training, Injury Prevention – Bend, OR:

Tim Evens – TEvens@reboundoregon.com

Physical Therapy, Bend, OR:

Rene Bates – RB@reboundoregon.com

Functional Movement Screening:

Scott Williams – scott@tahoesynergy.com

Pilates and Wellness Training:

Liz Schenk – LSchenk@TFHD.COM

Mountain Biking Coach:

Scott Sharples – sscoach@gmail.com


Nikki Dean – nikkidean@yahoo.com

The riders were stoked! Thanks everyone. You helped make the weekend a success as well.


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