Since beginning my coaching career in 2010, I’ve been working with Motocross racers as part of my clientele. My personal and professional ties to motocross racing have given me a unique opportunity to learn and understand the training needs of these clients. I listen to the racer's feedback as well in developing my approach which I will share with you in this next 3 part series of the Lifestyle Blog.
With this Lifestyle Blog Series, I wanted to help give you an understanding of the sport and the physical demands. Whether you're a racer looking to broaden your training knowledge, a fan of Motocross, or a fitness enthusiasts interested in learning more about motocross training, you're on the right web page.
In Part 1, I'll briefly review the Sport, Sport Demands, and Popular Training Approaches. As the blog progresses, you will gain insight in the my training philosophy.
First, let's start off with a quick background of the sport of Motocross. It’s a race where you have races vary in length (my professional racers race 2, 30 minute motos plus two laps which is about 35 minutes total) and racers have to perform jumps, hills, turns, bumps, etc. on various natural terrain. It’s a continuous event, so they don’t stop until the checkered flag waves. There are different styles and formats of dirt-bike racing, like Supercross & Off-Road events, but we’ll stick to Motocross in this blog series as it is the basis of dirt-bike racing and will simplify the preparation requirements for training that we’ll discuss. These same principles will fit into the other forms of competitive dirt bike racing.
Physically, here's a quick overview of the demands as an athlete who races: Racer's bikes have a lot of power, so they accelerate fast. The bikes withstand a lot of forces from the track even though they have good suspension. And the racers absorb forces as well. Which means they operate the whole race on high elevated heart rates. It’s a true mixed event as they need to be aerobically fit to maintain high energy outputs, but also be strong enough to withstand the forces of the bike and the tracks to maintain proper physical riding technique. If they crash, it’s not only important that they are in good physical shape to promote recovery, but good physical fitness also lowers their chances of an injury when an accident does occur.
Popular Training Approach
If you dig a little into the motocross industry on how coaches/trainers are preparing their racers, you will see a lot of different approaches. And in my opinion, this has caused more confusion between the racers than it has helped. You will see everything from Circuit Training workouts, to Crossfit as being the holy grail, and to training racers to simulate endurance/road bicycle athletes.
When I got into working with racers, it was very hard to listen to everyone in the industry. I decided to stick with what I learned through Track and Field Coaches and from traditional Strength & Conditioning Coaches that I was learning from at the time in my younger 20’s, and I adapted these same principles to create my own philosophy in training Motocross Racers.
The biggest challenge in preparing motocross athletes, is that there are a ton of variables in play when the race is happening. It can take time, and feedback, to see if what you’re doing is working, both as a trainer and as a racer. I develop training programs to promote their physical fitness and check in to see how training is helping their performance. I like to hear my athletes say that they can charge at the end of the races to make last minute passes. This give me a good indication that our aerobic endurance and aerobic power are translating to their sport. I also like to know that because they’re stronger, they can maneuver the bike with less effort, which in return can allow them the opportunity to perform their skills at a higher level. Lastly, but most importantly, I want to give them the best chance at staying injury free when they crash, so tailoring their training toward their performance, success, and safety is my ultimate goal.
This is my philosophy on training Motocross riders and in the next section, I will move on and share my perspective on Strength Training & use of Plyometic Training Philosophy and how I have incorporated these principles for competitive racers.
See you in Part 2!
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Physical Prep Coach & Owner of Joel Younkins Training.