Training for Motocross
Motocross is one of the most physically demanding sports on the planet! To ride good, have fun and stay safe your physical fitness is a primary key. During a race or even during practice sessions a motocross racer’s heart rate (HR) will max out. Their average HR will be at about 90% of max during a 15 minute or longer moto. Just by lining up on the starting gate most riders will be at about 75% of their max HR. In light of these facts it’s easy to understand that motocross is an extremely physical and demanding sport. Therefore, even training for motocross is very difficult.
After reading this post there is an example of an off the MX bike training video below.
To train effectively, one has to get used to the uncomfortable feeling and welcome the pain. That’s the only way they will be able to develop the fitness it takes to be competitive! Don’t make the common mistake of starting too hard. The mind and body will adapt but it will adapt at its own pace. That pace is the right types of training being applied frequently and gradually increasing the intensity overtime.
For anyone, even seasoned athletes who are in excellent shape, maintaining an average 90% of max HR is very difficult. However, doing it while practicing or racing motocross makes it seem easier. Why is this, you may ask? When maintaining a high HR while training off the MX bike, like running, cycling or swimming, your HR will raise by the work your body is doing and your mind feels pretty much all of the discomfort, even down-right pain. One of the most noticed discomfort is a shortage of oxygen. When riding or racing motocross not only is your body working hard, but also your mind is on high alert. All of your senses are fully activated by your sensory perception. Because of the excitement and the element of danger, this sensory perception is turned on full throttle, no pun intended. Since your body and mind are using mass amounts of energy it takes an excellent cardiovascular system to keep all your blood flowing. The flow not only carries blood but everything in your blood: like fuel, nutrients and especially oxygen. I guess this could be bad or good news. It all depends how you look at it. The bad news could be you have to train, exercise and lead a relatively clean life style. But is that really bad news? The good news is being in good physical shape has many benefits like, looking and feeling better. Again, it’s all in the way you look at it.
Many people who are racing motocross don’t understand that the body needs movement on a regular basis in order to deliver blood and nutrients to all the muscles and soft tissues of the entire body. The proof of these facts is easy to understand when you consider what happens to an arm or leg that is put in a case for 6 weeks, atrophied! Many riders may think they don’t need to be in very good shape, because they are just riding for fun or they’re races are very short. But they fail to see the fact that by being in better shape they will have more fun. Being in better shape will also allow them to ride longer and better in order to keep increasing their skill levels. To be honest, riders who think they don’t need to be in good shape are just using that belief as another excuse not to train. Riders can have many different excuses for not taking training seriously, excuses like not enough time, no one to train with, they live too far from a gym, or they are too tired to train before or after work. I’m sure all these excuses are very real to them. I say real to them because they have convinced themselves that they are real. For one thing, you don’t need to go to a gym to train. In the time it takes to get ready, go to the gym and get back home you could have done your workout at home. If they have a physically demanding job and they really are too tired, they could do some type of easy cardio training, stretching or yoga that would be mentally and physically beneficial. There are many ways to train at home. To make a real change with your training habits you have to change the way you think about training, change your perception about training. This doesn’t mean just changing your conscious thoughts about training but changing your beliefs about training at the core, in your sub-conscious mind. If you’re not already training regularly, it means you have negative thoughts and therefore negative beliefs about training and exercising. This causes you to not want to do it and it’s easy to find excuses for not doing it. Once you change these negative thoughts and beliefs into positive ones you will want to train and exercise on a regular basis it will become a habit, a life style and your enjoyment of motocross, along with your riding skills and safety will increase big time!
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The bottom line comes down to, what’s important to you. If your motocross riding/racing is toward the top of your list, then except the facts, change your thoughts and beliefs about training and make it a life style. Changing your beliefs is easy to do and just takes a little ambition and know how. It helps to start with some every day, short and long term goals. This first step is very important, so take some time and write out your goals. Then put them in a place where you’ll see them every day. Doing this not only will remind you but also makes them more real. For some people going cold turkey and changing everything at once works, but for most this is not the best method. It’s usually better to change things gradually, like one or two things per day. This method is a lot less stressful on your mind and body and you will be more likely to make lasting changes. Of course getting the desired results from changing your thoughts and beliefs will most likely take time. Until this happens and you really want to exercise you’re going to have to use commitment and will power. Your brain will come up with all the excuses you can image and you’re going to need to ignore them and workout anyway. The import thing is to start out gradually with your frequency, duration and intensity and be consistent. It’s better to workout a little 5 days a week then to workout too much 2 days a week.
If you haven’t been training you shouldn’t train too hard in the beginning. Just do what’s comfortable and keep building. If you’re not used to training and you go too hard, chances are you won’t stick with it. The first step is making it a habit. Then according to your goals, you would increase the frequencies, durations and intensities in order to reach your goals. Once exercising becomes a habit you’ll be like the millions of other people who have kicked their bad habits and replaced them with good, healthy habits like exercise and eating smart. Don’t think of why you can’t do this, rather think of how you can. One step at a time. Discover how fun motocross really can be!
Ok, so once you make the commitment to start training how do you know you’re training methods and strategies are effective for motocross? All sports have different training methods. This is known as “Sports Specific Training”. Motocross is one of the sports where this is the most complicated because motocross uses all the muscles of your body at the same time constantly. Not only do all your muscles get worked at the same time but they also get worked both aerobically and anaerobically, meaning both cardio and strength is needed. There’s a fine line in the way these two forms of exercise need to be done in order to get the best benefits on the mx bike. More bad and good news, in order to understand and apply the most effective ways to training for motocross, you would need a personal Pro motocross trainer or how to videos and books. The good news is we have videos and manuals available.
I hope this article gives you some motivation to keep training or if you haven’t already started to get started. Whatever your goals may be, I hope you ride and train smart, stay safe and have fun!
Here’s a video with some exercises that can be done at home.