CrossFit for Motocross and Action Sports
by Chris Worden
Quick, pick one of these 10 general physical skills that aren’t necessary to a motocrosser: Cardiovascular Endurance, Stamina, Strength, Flexibility, Power, Speed, Coordination, Accuracy, Agility or Balance. Come on, isn’t there something in there that doesn’t matter to the motocross rider or racer? I didn’t think so.
Let me propose something here, then I’ll get on with my point: the fittest people on earth are those who are well balanced at all of those 10 general physical skills. Further, the fittest motocrosser on the track is probably more balanced in them than is the rest of the pack finishing behind him. But what can one do to improve his or her fitness to balance these general physical skills out?
You could move to Southern California and hire some of the industries highest paid trainers, or you could simply do CrossFit.
CrossFit has received a bit of bad press in recent months within the action sports business, and as a trainer, athlete and journalist I feel it’s my duty to step up to the mic and defend a training protocol I believe to be the best method to prepare for the demands of action sport.
First, let me introduce a term into the conversation that hasn’t seen any press yet: general physical preparedness (GPP). GPP is not a training protocol, like periodization or the conjugate method, it is a state we are trying to train the body towards; it’s putting your body in a ‘ready state’. This is the missing link for an athlete like you, the motocrosser/snowboarder/skater. I can tell you with absolute certainty, after personally training hundreds of athletes and spending my whole life on boards and bikes that most of us would benefit more from chasing GPP than anything else.
But how does one maximize GPP?
Fundamentally, you cannot improve your GPP without stepping out of your comfort zone. Think of that zone as all the movements you do in the gym because you’re either good at them, or they make you feel good (think jogging, cycling, bicep curls). Barrel chested dudes who love to bench press continue to do so because it makes them feel good, forget the fact that they couldn’t run a mile in under 12 minutes. Then there’s the long distance runner, or cyclist. Ask that person to press half their bodyweight overhead for reps or jump on a 36-inch plyobox, they’d probably fall pretty short of either of those tasks.
Enter CrossFit’s number one goal: improving GPP.
CrossFit utilizes a number of time-tested, functional movements that are scientifically proven to improve your fitness (see list below). Bicep curls, useless machines (elliptical, stair stepper) and hours spent on a bicycle have no place in this training protocol because regardless of what you’ve been told, they aren’t serving to make you a better athlete. Further, CrossFit’s programming is by definition highly varied, you’re doing some strength work one day, running the next, then the following your doing some mixed modality workout for time. The next week will look completely different. This is how GPP is improved. This is how you become a better athlete.
Take a look at the training program of any successful athlete with a high level of fitness (sans those in skill sports relying on talent) these days and you’ll find the following movements being done to prepare for their sport:
Rowing (most likely on a Concept 2 rower)
Running (mixed speeds and distances, not just jogging)
All those movements listed above are part of the foundation of CrossFit’s training program and this is why you as an action sports athlete should consider joining an affiliate. In short order you will find yourself doing exercising you may be avoiding, and forgetting about the hours you’ve wasted doing work that haven’t paid dividends.
It’s time to start training like an athlete.
For more information on CrossFit, or to find an affiliate in your area visit CrossFit.com
About the Author
Chris Worden has raced motorcycles, bicycles, played tennis, football and kicked around on boards his whole life. The results he’s seen in his previous attempts at achieving a high level of fitness were marginal. Running, cycling and the rest of the steady-state cardio never did him much good athletically, but it took about 10 years to figure that out. Then he found CrossFit. He is currently the Editor of Motocross.com & GrindTV.com/moto as well as a personal and group trainer at CrossFit Costa Mesa.
His desk is made of used dirt bike tires.
E-mail Chris at firstname.lastname@example.org
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.