Motocross Fitness Tips
Motocross is a physically demanding sport requiring all-around strength and fitness from its competitors. The jumps, tight turns, mixed surfaces and embankments all test the rider’s physical abilities as well as riding skill and bravery. Fitness can play a major part in your success in motocross racing.
Manhandling your bike around a motocross course will use every muscle in your body. Strong legs will make landing from jumps less traumatic, and strong arm and back muscles will make bike control easier. Develop whole body strength by performing compound exercises such as power cleans, dead lifts and push presses. Use heavy weights for three to five repetitions for maximum strength gains.
Races often take place over multiple laps, which will test your muscular endurance to the limit. To ensure that your muscles are up to the challenge, perform circuit training. Choose eight to ten exercises such as push-ups, squats, sit-ups and jump rope and perform each exercise in your circuit without resting from one to the next. Try 30 seconds per exercise and increase the time spent on each exercise as you get fitter.
Motocross riding puts a huge demand on your core, the muscles that support your spine. Leaning your bike from side-to-side, absorbing the impact of jumps and keeping your spine stabilized throughout a race requires constant work from your abdominals, your obliques and your erector spinae muscles. Keep your core strong by performing a variety of core exercises using medicine balls, Swiss balls, pulleys and free weights and paying extra attention to your lower-back muscles to reduce your risks of injury while riding.
Races, especially endurance events, can take place over long periods of time. To improve the fitness of your heart, lungs and circulatory system, perform cardio activities such as running, cycling or swimming at between 60 to 90 percent of your maximum heart rate for 20 minutes or longer. Perform your cardio three or more times a week to get the best aerobic fitness improvements.
Many courses will have easier and then more challenging stretches, which will cause your heart rate to fluctuate significantly. The hard stretches of the course—for instance, a series of jumps—may well cause you to start using your anaerobic (without oxygen) energy systems. The best way to prepare your body for these demands is to perform interval training. Interval training alternates periods of high-intensity work with periods of low-intensity recovery. Running, cycling, swimming and rowing are all good exercises for use when interval training. Try performing 30 seconds of sprinting alternated with 60 seconds of easy-paced recovery for five to eight sets. As you get fitter, increase the duration of your work periods and decrease the rest periods for a more demanding workout.
- "Designing Resistance Training Programs"; Steven Fleck and William Kraemer; 2003
- "Motocross Fitness: The Ultimate Home Training Guide for Motocross Athletes"; Rodney Womack; 2010
- Dave Etheridge-Barnes/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images