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Race and Train

by Racer X Virtual Trainer

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Summer is here and most of us are in the heart of our race season. I love this time of year as we dig deep into point battles and really start to look forward to series championships and big races. How you did last year is in the past and how you perform the remainder of the season will largely depend on three things. How well you prepared during the off-season. How much time you get to ride your motorcycle during the in-season. And lastly how good your in-season off-the-bike program integrates with riding.

The goal of the in-season training program is to develop the highest level of racing skills while maintaining physical condition.

To properly train for motocross, you should be incorporating three separate phases to your training program. Namely the off-season, pre-season, and in-season periods. The off-season is the time period immediately after a long season of riding. This time should have been spent doing strength training, recovering from injury, and building a solid aerobic base. The pre-season is the time period of 6 to 8 weeks prior to the start of the season. Even though pre-season workouts closely resemble in-season routines, the major difference will be in the timing and intensity of the workouts. During the pre-season, if you are unable to ride due to the weather, intense workouts throughout the week are used to mimic the intensity required to race. I call these "Motocross Replacement Workouts."

This photo just makes you want to go ride, doesn't it?!?!

Photo: Cudby

The in-season phase consists of maintenance routines that will help maintain your fitness level throughout the season. These workouts rely on the assumption that most of your conditioning will come from riding throughout the week and that you did your homework in previous phases of training. If you don’t get to ride 4 to 5 times a week then you will still need to supplement your training with the Motocross Replacement Workouts listed here. The goal of the in-season training program is to develop the highest level of racing skills while maintaining physical condition. To avoid overtraining during the in-season program, training sessions will have the highest volume early in the week (Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday) with Thursday and Friday reserved for tapering with workouts devoted to riding practice or lower volume cardio activities. Saturday is for rest and hydrating the body before race day. To be successful as a weekend warrior, you have to train hard but more importantly you have to train smart.

The following routines contain exercises and schedules that I typically use with riders. The programs are set up with three groups of people in mind. The lucky few who have access to a practice track and can ride all week, the people that get to ride 1 to 2 times per week and the rest of us who only see the inside of a race track on Sunday.

The schedule that you end up with will of course depend on how much time you can devote to training. The less you get to ride during the week the more time you'll need to spend at the gym or on a road bike or rowing machine.


....or maybe this photo does it for you!

Photo: Cudby

Monday - Always reserved as a recovery day (assuming you race on Sunday). Recovery days are not intended to sit around and do nothing unless you suffered an injury on Sunday. A good recovery day would be a 1-hour "light" bike ride, 30-minute run, or 30-minute row. You want to use this day to let your body recover by doing some type of light exercise. Heart rates should be no higher than 60-70% max heart rate or a high 2 on a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being the easiest and 5 being 100% max'ed out effort). For those of you using heart rate monitor, recovery workouts are always zone 1-2. Heart Rate Calculator.

Tuesday - Tuesday and Wednesday are the two hardest days with the most volume and moderate intensity. If you can ride, spend at least one to two hours on the bike followed by good strength maintenance session at the gym. If you cannot ride and are tight on time substitute riding time with a Motocross Replacement Workout or use Workout #1 below. You can also incorporate higher intensity bike rides or other forms of cardio like rowing or running. Heart rates are generally in the zones 3 and 4.

Wednesday - Same as Tuesday.

Thursday - Ride if you can followed by a recovery workout. If you cannot ride substitute a tempo cardio workout of 45-minutes. Tempo cardio is zone 3.

Friday - Ride if you can followed by a light road ride or similar. If you cannot ride substitute a tempo cardio workout of 45-minutes. If you are feeling tired, take Friday off! You can also do a high intensity interval type workout (depending on how you feel) that is very short in duration; maybe 20-minutes max.

Saturday - Use this day to rest and hydrate. A recovery workout is highly recommended the day before a race. If you are feeling extremely tired, then take the day off completely. Otherwise get a good 30-minutes of recovery in on Saturday.

Sunday - Race and finish on the podium!

Workout #1 (High Intensity Interval Workout)

Start out with a 10-minute warmup doing any form of cardio.

When performing the strength training exercises, use enough weight to be completely exhausted at the end of 45-second period. This is usually 17 to 20 repetitions. If you can do more than 20 reps, add weight. 100% max effort is required for all weighted exercises. Perform 3 sets of each circuit before moving on to the next circuit.

Circuit 1
3-minutes of cardio (rowing machine, treadmill, etc.) at 70-80% max heart rate (Effort of 3 on a scale of 1 to 5)
Rest 2-minutes
Repeat 3 times

Circuit 2
3-minutes of cardio (rowing machine, treadmill, etc.) at 70-80% max heart rate (Effort of 3 on a scale of 1 to 5)
Rest 2-minutes
Repeat 3 times

Circuit 3
3-minutes of cardio (rowing machine, treadmill, etc.) at 70-80% max heart rate (Effort of 3 on a scale of 1 to 5)
Rest 2-minutes
Repeat 3 times

Cool down and stretch.


Workout #2 (High Intensity Interval Workout)

Start out with a 10-minute warmup by doing any form of cardio.

When performing the strength training exercises, use enough weight to be completely exhausted at the end of 45-second period. This is usually 17 to 20 repetitions. If you can do more than 20 reps, add weight. 100% max effort is required for all weighted exercises. Perform 3 sets of each circuit before moving on to the next circuit.

Circuit 1
3-minutes of cardio (rowing machine, treadmill, etc.) at 70-80% max heart rate (Effort of 3 on a scale of 1 to 5)
Rest 2-minutes
Repeat 3 times

Circuit 2
Hammer Throws (or Kettle Bell Throws) You can also use dumbbells for this exercise.
Ladders (Push-ups and Pull-ups combined)
3-minutes of cardio (rowing machine, treadmill, etc.) at 70-80% max heart rate (Effort of 3 on a scale of 1 to 5)
Rest 2-minutes
Repeat 3 times

Circuit 3
3-minutes of cardio (rowing machine, treadmill, etc.) at 70-80% max heart rate (Effort of 3 on a scale of 1 to 5)
Rest 2-minutes
Repeat 3 times

Cool down and stretch.

Good luck with your in-season training. How you balance training and recovery is the key to success during long season. Train hard but train smart!

Remove the Guesswork

At Virtual Trainer, we believe there is a right way to train for motocross. It starts with having a clear goal, finding expert instruction (on and off the bike), performing structured training and receiving immediate feedback throughout the process. Coach Seiji (Andrew Short's longtime trainer) has teamed up with Virtual Trainer to offer our audience an exclusive motocross community geared towards improving your performance on and off the track. The community offers motocross specific training plans designed by one of the best – to help you achieve your best performance. This is literally a one-of-a-kind training and conditioning experience for you, the motocross athlete.

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. VT Signature

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Discussion

  1. Gravatar
    Jack Stanford June 10, 2016 at 2:20 am

    Hi I'm 12 and race an 85 would this be a good workout for me I'm pretty athletic

  2. Gravatar
    Racer X Virtual Trainer June 10, 2016 at 8:33 am

    Yes, but make sure you have someone who knows what they are doing show you how to do the strength training properly. Thanks!

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