Short of having your own motocross fitness trainer these are probably some of the best things you can do to begin improving your fitness levels on your bike. Be smart about it, be consistent, keep your program balanced and you will get results with less injuries.
- Regular Riding: This one’s a gimme. This is the best form of training by far, and it will have the greatest impact on your motocross fitness. The problem with this is not everyone has the time or money to ride 7 days a week. Plus, injuries will often prevent you from kicking the old girl over, which leads me onto…
- Cross Training: When you’re not on your bike try swimming (or in my case surfing), cycling, skipping or running in soft sand. These types of exercises are great for the cardiovascular system and your strength – and they’re low impact exercises which mean less damage to your joints and ligaments. Oh, and did I mention they don’t cost much 🙂
- Stretching: I learned this invaluable piece of advice through karate and gym training. Trust me, this will definitely improve your riding. Plus it will lower the risk of injury and save you a lot of aches and pains as you get older. Be sure to stretch out your forearms / arms to help prevent ARM PUMP. Stretch not only before, but after riding to improve your recovery and flexibility.
- Breathing Correctly: Surprised? Again, I learned this through karate. Breathing is THE most fundamental function of the human body but very few of us pay any attention to it. I won’t bore you with specifics but basically most people take short, shallow breaths which deprive your body of vital oxygen resulting in inferior muscle use, lower energy levels and less ability to concentrate. Pretty important things huh? Even worse than shallow breathing is the fact that many people temporarily cease breathing in intense situations. Practice taking deeper breaths, really filling your lungs up (without hyper-ventilating) and see how much more relaxed and clearer you become.
- Strength Training: It’s hard work riding at pace on dirt bikes these days and it definitely requires a lot of muscular strength to ride at your best! The sheer power of these modern bikes are constantly trying to tear your hands and body away from them. Ask anyone who doesn’t ride and they will tell you “the bike does all the work”… bollicks! Lifting weights at the gym is an obvious way to increase your strength. Have a gym instructor write you up a program that you will stick to – higher reps and lighter weights are better for MX than lower reps and heavier weights. If you prefer to train at home, you can perform exercises such as sit-ups, push-ups and chin-ups to improve your muscle strength. Make sure you keep it balanced and train your back muscles equally – too many people disregard this and it results in an unbalanced upper body lacking real strength. By building a stronger body you also decrease the likelihood of injuring yourself through accidents. More muscle equals more protection.
- Nutrition: Watch what you consume! If you’re serious about improving your overall fitness you have to eat good, healthy, energy-rich foods and avoid tooth-destroying fizzy drinks like coke. For more information on Nutrition see here.
- Rest: If you’re going to make the effort to do all of the above don’t forget to rest your body and mind! Sleeping is like plugging a rechargeable battery into the power socket. This is the time that the body needs to repair itself.
Tip: Refrain from working out the day before you ride. You want your body to be fully recovered and working at its best.