High/Low Training Model for Motocross - Part 2
by Joel Younkins
In my last article, High/Low Training Model for Motocross, I discussed the overview idea of the high/low model and how it can be implemented in a weekly motocross training schedule. In this article, my goal is to take this concept a step further and discuss a few important considerations that will need to be understood while using a model like this. Before I continue, I want to recap a few key points from the original article of what the high/low training model is.
Previously, I mentioned the late Olympic Sprinters Coach, Charlie Francis, who designed the concept of the high/low model by training his athletes based on the recovery and state of the athlete’s Central Nervous System. On a high day, the CNS will be stressed greatly. In the 48-72 hour period after the high training sessions, your body will need to undergo low intensity training in order to not only achieve different levels of work, but also promote recovery throughout the week. Here is a table from the last article to identify high CNS activities to low CNS activities in the sport of motocross:
|High Intensity||Low Intensity|
|Sprint Laps and Motos||Technical Skills, Sections, and Bike Testing|
|High Intensity Intervals||Low Intensity Tempo Intervals or LSD|
|Main Lifts and Explosive Training (Max Effort)
||Auxiliary and Core Work|
Now, that we have a simple understanding of the weekly training model, lets discuss different considerations on when, who, and the how someone should use this training model. Just like with all aspects of training, everything has a place and time, even the high/low model.
First, I will discuss the when. The high/low model can be implemented at any time of the year. However, I like to use the model while the rider is in a block of training and riding his or her bike (which in most cases should be majority of the year). So, when I am planning on helping improve both training and riding qualities, I can plan high days of both so they do not interfere with each other during the week of training. The same will go with the low days. If I am working with an athlete who is only focusing on just Strength & Conditioning at the moment and is off the bike, at that point, I may go into other training models like a 4 day split or another appropriate model. High/low can still be used through a Strength & Conditioning program by itself. I simply like the program the best when training and practicing are congruent to each other.
Next, I will discuss the who. This model will benefit more experienced athletes who can generate enough work to get the most out of their high days. If the racer is not capable of riding fast enough and long enough to stress the CNS or is not capable of handling a high intensity training session, then they will not get the most benefit of a high CNS day. At this point, the athlete must become a better rider and become better at training (force production, technique, and work load capacity) before they should begin a high/low training model. Therefore, a youth/mini rider will most likely not benefit from a week of this training until he or she is capable of this workload. A weekend warrior/amateur racer will also be unlikely to get a great benefit from this training where they will not be able to ride at a high enough level. However, I will identify someone with a work schedule that can still implement high/low into their training. At this point you probably now notice that it takes at least a somewhat talented (healthy) rider with a solid training base to use the high/low model most appropriately. However, those that will be searching for a systemized training plan throughout the week of training/practice will most likely fit the criteria of this training model in theory.
Lastly, I will discuss the how. I mentioned above in the last paragraph that competitive racers with a job during the week can benefit from this model as well. This is the feature athlete I would like to discuss in the how section. From the time you wake up, until the time you go to bed, your body will undergo stress from all levels of life. Physical, emotional, environmental, work related, and so on down the spectrum will stress the CNS. So training and riding is not the only element of stress (this is why the pros try to have everything handled for them). With a work schedule throughout the week, you can still use your job in the criteria of high stress days and low stress days. This is where I’m coming from…Let’s say you are a local pro or privateer who competes at a high level on the weekends but has a job during the week; let’s say construction for instance. If you are training throughout the week, play off of your work schedule. If it is a long hot day at work, then maybe you just go out and ride that afternoon/evening and put together a few decent sprints and call it a day. And the next day you will try and keep your stress and intensity to a low. A low day in this case could consist of a day of work, then a low intensity run or bicycle ride later. Obviously, this situation is not a one size fits all, just like how all aspects of training should be looked upon.
My main focus of these high/low articles is to emphasize the importance of your body’s physical state during a week of training. Going too “hard” or adding extra training volume is not always a good thing. Sometimes less is more. When training goes too far, you can result in overtraining, injury, illness, and a decrease in performance. These are just a few effects to name. Plan your training accordingly to let your program help you instead of damage your abilities. The high/low model is not for every athlete, but what it does consider is the state of readiness of how the athlete is able to train. My goal for a part 3 of this model will be to introduce signs of CNS fatigued symptoms to help recognize when an athlete should focus on high intensity days and low intensity days.
About the Author: Joel Younkins Training is dedicated to training and improving performance in not only motocross racers but in all action sport athletes as well. After ending his college football career early with a back injury, Joel returned to the sport of racing where his father Gary Younkins (Multiple 6 Days Gold Winner) created Joel's passion for the sport. Joel is now involved in training athlete's to help improve performance. His professional athletes include: Pro National Racer Mike McDade, GNCC Racer Jason Thomas (XC2 Pro Lites), and ATV GNCC Racer Mark Notman (XC1 Pro) on the racing front as well as action sport athletes Anthony Napolitan (Professional BMX Red Bull Athlete), Monster Jam Driver Joe Sylvester (Bad Habit Motorsports), and Pro MMA Fighter Joey Holt.
|Joel's Website||Joel on Facebook||Joel on Twitter|
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.