by Racer X Virtual Trainer
|Simple but effective agility drill with 4 cones.|
Most weekend warriors and even top level amateurs are into other sports besides motocross. Agility, like strength, endurance, and flexibility is a component of fitness that transfers from motocross to other sports. One great thing about motocross; if you are in shape to ride you will see some, if not all, of that physical aptitude carry over to other sports. Ok, so if you are a 300 pound lineman or Sumo wrestler, the cross over characteristics are slim but any other sport requiring speed, quickness, endurance, strength, and agility will have similar cross over traits. Most riders know how to train for strength, improve their cardio, increase their endurance, and understand the importance of flexibility. Unfortunately, agility has been overlooked and forgotten by a lot of riders and trainers, and that’s a shame. Agility is one of those traits that is not only vital to you as a motocross athlete but other activities as well. The mobility, balance, and stability it provides will help you stay on your feet throughout all aspects of your daily life and racing. People don’t think about it because developing agility isn’t quantifiable; you can’t measure it in terms of strength (how much more weight you can lift) or speed (how many seconds faster you can run). But without an agile body, you’re one swap, fall, or evasive maneuver away from serious injury.
Here’s the good news: Agility takes only a couple of minutes to develop and can easily be tacked onto the end of a row, run, bike ride, or strength workout. The square drill, for example is an easy way to get started. At first you’ll be shocked at how immobile you’ve become over the years compared to when you ran around as a kid in high-school or college. In fact, even the fit can lose their agility. Have you ever had the opportunity to play any other sport with a really fast rider? Well I have and I am always amazed at how un-athletic some of these guys are. Now imagine taking those same stumbling riders and turning them into good all-around athletes. Their speed on the track would surely benefit. I have even seen guys who aren't particularly fast on a bike but excel at road cycling, mountain biking and marathons, have trouble with athleticism. Presented with the square drill, many are surprised to find out that at first they can only walk their way through the drill—they don't have the stabilizer muscles or neuromuscular connections built up that will let them make sudden movements at full speed. Fortunately, it doesn't take long for their bodies to get the hang of it, and they can feel an improved sense of coordination and balance making them a more surefooted trail runner and smoother mountain biker. The same holds true for a racer.
As your agility improves, you’ll find out how much easier an exercise becomes, but more importantly the simple tasks in daily life, like bending to hoist a computer bag, getting out of a car, or maneuvering through doorways while balancing a briefcase, cell phone, and coffee will suddenly seem easier. Complete the square drill below three times a week. Do 3 circuits around the square as quickly as possible, catch your breath, and repeat for a total of 3 sets of 3 circuits. As you become more capable, shorten the time between each circuit by 15 seconds, until you can eventually run through 10 consecutive circuits.
- Place four cones (or piles of clothes, water bottles, etc) in a 5x5 foot square. Start by standing at one corner with cone (1) at your left foot, facing down one side of the square toward cone (2).
- Run forward to cone (2).
- Shuffle sideways to your left to cone (3).
- Run backward to cone (4).
- Shuffle sideways to your right to cone (1).
The Square Drill is just one of hundreds of drills that can be used to improve your agility. I recommend doing a Google search on "Agility Training Exercises" or "Agility Ladder Training" and check out some of the websites that are completely dedicated to Agility training. I have looked at most of them and the exercises presented are perfect for the motocross athlete for both the pre and in-season portions of their training. Don't feel like searching; then check out expertvillage.com for some great videos that you can add to any of your workouts or Sports Fitness Advisor for some agility ladder drills to get you started. So whether you decide to make an entire routine of nothing but agility drills or simply add a drill to the end of your workouts, agility should be a part of your motocross training.
That's it for now, until next time, good luck with your training and remember, if you have a question, log on to the Virtual Trainer Expert Forum and have your question answered by a panel of experts. In addition, be sure and check out the Racer X Virtual Trainer archive section. Your complete one-stop information zone for motocross fitness.