Agility Training for Motocross, Part 2
by Rob Styron
In this article I would like to supplement what was said in the first installment of Agility Training for Motocross. First let me start with my philosophy for training athletes, the term “sport specific training” is what I call, a marketing term. As strength coaches, we need to rename the term to “athlete specific training”. What does that mean? It means that athletes that come to me for training go through a Functional Movement Screen, and only then does a program become customized for their individual needs regardless of sport. With that being said, I could have collegiate golfer training with a professional motocross racer. As the program gets deeper into their cycle things do get a little bit more specific, such as specific metabolic conditioning training, but not by much. If you think about it, motocross athletes and golf athletes (or any other athletes of different disciplines) both need: flexibility, agility, strength & power in conjunction with a specific cardiovascular conditioning program. We use agility training for our motocross athletes more to train the central nervous system then for anything else. Why? The CNS is the control center for the body, as this system fatigues a hormonal imbalance occurs and muscle contraction diminishes. If there is a slower reaction response within the body, it could be the difference of a win or even worse a fall.
Where does agility training with my motocross athletes fit into our program? In the beginning of their training session. Why? In my opinion, the most taxing exercises to the central nervous system need to be programmed first. Remember, injury prevention is the number one reason for strength and conditioning followed by performance enhancement. If the athlete is hurt they cannot ride or play his/her sport. After our dynamic warm-up, the first agility exercise we use is the ladder. This is used during all phases of the program, 5-10 minutes maximum is spent performing about 4-5 different drills. This helps “wake up” the athlete’s brain, it gets them to connect the brain to the body and it usually gets their heart rate up pretty high. After that is completed, they will perform some type of 6-inch hurdle jumps in a linear or lateral movement. Single or double leg, rapid or stomp/stick all depends on the athlete’s progression with proper technique. We do these mostly during the offseason. Most of these kids have some prior knee issues so we are very cautious to explosive lateral movements. For upper body agility, we use a red laser pen, the athlete faces the wall and the trainer will flash the light in various locations on the wall while the athlete taps it as fast as possible. This can be done at the completion of a training session.
Remember, it is very important to properly program various exercises within a daily, weekly, monthly program. The central nervous system needs to be trained just like the cardiovascular system and musculoskeletal systems. As stated earlier, any exercise that is CNS intensive such as ladder, hurdle, or various cone drills & Olympic lifts (yes our motocross athlete’s Olympic lift!) NEEDS to be programmed in the beginning of the training session. Injury prevention is the strength coach’s number one goal.
About the Author: Rob Styron is the President and Founder of X-Factor Human Performance Training. Not only regarded by his peers, colleagues, and clients as being on the cutting edge of sports performance training, he is also recognized as the Temecula Valley’s most preferred Human Performance Specialist. Rob’s education, creative innovation, and intense training techniques have put him on the forefront of fitness technology. Rob has a Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology, with an emphasis in Fitness, Nutrition, and Health from San Diego State University. He is also a distinguished member of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, and the National Strength and Conditioning Association.
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.