Monday, August 2, 2004

Motocross takes cardio work

Ask Dave

By Dave Patania
Enquirer contributor

Question: You usually get questions from people trying to lose weight, but I am 20, ride motocross and want to improve. With a super-fast motorcycle, I ride a lot of laps around a dirt course with huge jumps, turns and obstacles. What kind of stuff should I do?

Answer: With a sport like yours that demands both skill and endurance, it is important to have a solid foundation of cardiovascular training.

Many motocross riders use endurance-based activities to train. A favorite activity of top riders is bicycling.

Motocross riders do lift weights, of course, but they do so more for muscular endurance than strength. If these riders gain too much muscle mass, they won't be as cardiovascularly conditioned and will run out of energy in later stages of a race.

Motocross riders have to train more like cyclists and runners than sprinters or bodybuilders. Endurance is the name of the game because if you are highly conditioned, you will have the energy to race lap after lap without getting too fatigued. The forgotten key to being in great shape is that the better conditioned you are, the fewer mistakes you will make. If your conditioning levels are low, you will fatigue quickly, lose focus and thus perform poorly.

With your sport, a lack of focus can get you seriously hurt, so buy a quality road bicycle and a mountain bicycle and ride them both to increase your endurance levels.

Mountain biking will be good for helping you get endurance training yet still allow you to keep your skills sharp by jumping stuff, avoiding obstacles and going around turns. The road cycling will help you build your core level of conditioning and increase your muscle burn threshold so that you can put in strong, solid laps on the motocross track.

If you are lifting weights, be sure to keep the weight moderate and repetitions high (15 to 20-plus) so that your muscles will be strong yet able to perform the same movements consistently.

There is a great Web site specifically for motocross riders at

Contact personal trainer Dave Patania by E-mail

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