Foot Work: ClubMX Style
by Brandon Haas
|Club MX features one of the best training facilities anywhere in the country!|
As with athletes of any other sport, a motocross rider’s movement starts from the ground up. To the untrained eye it may appear that motocross simply consists of a rider turning the throttle and holding on with their upper body. Unfortunately, for some riders this may be the case. If you neglect to incorporate proper foot work as a regular part of your training, you are missing one of the basic elements of proper motocross technique.
Why is proper footwork so important?
The foot pegs on your bike were placed in a specific location by the manufacturers for a reason; this is the area where your bike was designed to carry its load and support the rider. At ClubMX, we train our riders to control their bike with their lower body rather than the upper body. This is done by shifting and transitioning a rider’s body weight with their legs and feet. You should start off by shifting the placement of your feet on the pegs from the middle of the soles to the balls of your feet. You should feel the flex in your boot when you are riding. Once you get properly adjusted to riding on the balls of your feet, you will be able to focus more easily on proper movement when you are in racing situations.
Example 1: Cornering
If you are coming into a corner standing up while applying the brakes, you should transition into the turn by getting off the brakes and sitting down while shifting your weight forward on the bike by applying pressure to your outside foot. Next, you should begin rolling on the throttle when you hit the apex of the corner all the way through the exit. Instead of controlling the bike with your hands and upper body, as you twist the throttle you should lean your head and torso forward by applying pressure to the outside foot peg with your foot. You should feel your boot flex as you are pushing your body forward on the bike. Keep your body low and control your bike by using your core and hip adductor muscles (inner thighs). As you are exiting the corner, your inside leg should be kept tucked in close to the bike, helping you with stability and balance. When exiting the corner you should bring the same foot back to your pegs on the balls of your feet, instead of your arches or heels. Continue applying pressure with the outside foot until you start shifting through the gears. This approach will allow you to relax your upper body, and help you feel more controlled, especially on rough tracks. When your upper body is relaxed, it alleviates the majority of arm pump issues and helps your body absorb impacts more efficiently. This method also allows your front forks to work in unison with your rear shock and soak up some of the impacts because you are transitioning more weight to the front of the bike. When a rider relies on his upper body too much to control the bike it typically leads to him being more upright which will place more weight to the shock which, in turn, will result in less traction and will not allow the suspension to work the way it was designed to on rough tracks.
Example 2: Whoops
If you are entering a set of supercross whoops on your heals you will start hitting the tops of the whoops which will begin jarring your body, bouncing you away from the bike with each hit. This happens because there is nothing to absorb the impact between the foot peg and heel. This places all of the workload on your suspension. In order to fix this problem, you should immediately go back to the balls of your feet after you shift into gear before entering the set of whoops. As you hit the top of each whoop, your ankles will flex and absorb a portion of the impact rather than your suspension. This small adjustment will allow a smoother transition from whoop to whoop. You have approximately 2-3 inches of suspension in the flex of your ankles that should always be taken advantage of!
These were only two examples of proper footwork, but we could continue to discuss each area of the track and different conditions which may arise. In short, your legs are much stronger than your arms, and centering your weight on the bike helps both forks and shock work more efficiently together. This allows you to relax more on the bike and will help raise your confidence level and reduce arm pump. Whether you are focusing on starts, corners, scrubbing, or whoops, riding on the balls of your feet will help you become much more comfortable on the bike. At the end of the day, “speed” is how comfortable and confident you are on your machine.
About the Author - Brandon Haas is the owner and head trainer at the ClubMX training facility, located in Chesterfield, South Carolina. He has held a pro license and raced as a professional since 2005 and continues to race in his free time. Along the way, Brandon found his true passion of training up and coming riders and has been steadily building his roster of racers who are among some of the fastest in the nation. His roots began in Minnesota where he operated his first training facility while still racing professionally full time. After meeting Zach Osborne and discussing their common interest in building a training facility in 2009, Brandon moved to South Carolina and created ClubMX. His passion for finding ways to improve his racers’ training programs is what makes him one of the top trainers in the nation. ClubMX@live.com 843-623-3409
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.