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Strengthen Your Moto Muscle - Stronger Legs

by Katie Jodscheidt, NASM-CPT


Racing motocross places a high physical demand on the body, especially on the legs. Adding lower body leg exercises two to three times a week to your training regimen will help increase overall leg stabilization, strength and power to help improve performance by reducing early exhaustion caused by under-developed leg muscles which are needed to stand up and conquer some tough parts of the track.

Remember, as with any resistance training routine, it is very important to warm up with 5-10 minutes of cardiorespiratory and stretching. Incorporating proper stretching will help enhance overall flexibility including corrective, active and functional. These three types of flexibility are ultimately responsible for change of muscle extensibility through manipulation of nervous system receptors.

Leg Training Exercises (2-3 times/week)

Choose two exercises from each category - Stabilization, Strength and Power.

  • Beginners: 2-3 sets for 30 seconds w/15 second rest
  • Advanced: 3-4 sets of 45 seconds w/15 second rest

Equipment Needed

  • Stability Ball
  • Step Up Box
  • Dumbbells
  • Barbell

Leg Stabilization Exercises

Ball Squat

  • Stand with your back facing a wall, feet shoulder with apart, toes facing forward.
  • Between your back and the wall, rest a stability ball centered in the middle of your back.
  • (Optional): Hold a dumbbell in each hand while performing the movement below.
  • Slow and controlled, lower your body into a squat position, making sure to bend at the knees while flexing the hips.
  • Lower until your legs reach a 90-degree angle.
  • Be sure to keep your toes forward, knees in line with your toes and keep your core tight.
  • As you lower your body, keep the pressure on your heels.
  • To get back up, activate your gluteal muscles and slowly push through your heels until your legs are fully extended.
Step up to Balance

Step up to Balance

  • Stand in front of a step up box with your toes pointing towards to box.
  • Hold a dumbbell in each arm.
  • With one leg, step onto the box keeping toes straight ahead.
  • Using your foot still on the ground, push through your heel and stand up balancing on the first leg while the other leg stays in the air at a 90-degree angle.
  • Hold for 2-3 seconds before returning the leg in the air back to the ground and stepping off with the other foot.
  • Alternate your starting legs.


  • Stand upright, shoulders back, activate the core.
  • Step forward with one leg as you lower your hips and bend both knees until they reach a 90-degree angle.
  • Be sure to keep your weight in your heels as you drive your body back into the starting position.
  • Alternate your starting leg.

Leg Strength Exercises

Wall Sit

Wall Sit – Quadriceps

  • Start with your back against the wall, feet shoulder with apart and approximately 1.5-2 feet away from the wall.
  • Slide your back down the wall until you make a 90- degree angle with your hips and knees while your thighs remain parallel to the ground.
  • Be sure to keep your back flat against the wall and knees in line with your ankles.

Barbell Squat

  • Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, toes facing forward.
  • Rest the barbell on your shoulders, behind your neck as you grasp the bar outside of shoulder-width.
  • The motion should be slow and controlled. Only squat down as far as you can without compensating form.
  • In a slow and controlled motion, squat down while bending the knees and flexing your hips. Be sure to keep your knees in line with your toes, inward movement of your knees should be avoided.
  • Be sure to keep your chest up and apply pressure through your heels.
  • When rising back up, put the pressure on the heels as you extend the knees and hips back to the starting position.

Romanian Deadlift

Romanian deadlift

  • Stand with feet shoulder width apart and toes pointing forward, knees slightly bent.
  • Starting with a barbell on a rack or from the ground, grip the barbell using an overhand grip at shoulder width apart or slightly wider increased overall range of motion.
  • Keeping your arms, back and hips straight, keep the barbell close to your body as you lift it by straightening your hips to a standing position.
  • When lowering the barbell back down, keep it close to your body (imagine that you are rolling it down your quads, past your knees and down to your toes) slowly lower your hips. Again, make sure you keep your back and arms straight throughout the movement.

Leg Power Exercises

Lunge Jumps

  • Start in a lunge position, one leg forward, one leg back keeping slightly forward, keeping your core tight.
  • Quick and controlled, lower your body down into a deep lunge position followed by an explosive upward motion forcing both feet off the ground, fully extending your knees and hips.
  • While in the air, switch the position of your feet and softly land in a balanced lunge position with opposite foot forward.
  • Repeat in a controlled manner as quickly as possible.

Squat Jumps
Squat Jumps
  • Stand straight ahead, feet shoulder width apart, arms down at your side.
  • Squat down, bringing your arms behind you to help with power on your way up.
  • Next, jump into the air while extending your arms up over your head.
  • Landing should be soft and controlled bringing your arms back down to your side.
  • Repeat in a controlled manner as quickly as possible.

Tuck Jumps

  • Stand straight ahead, feel shoulder width apart.
  • Squat down slightly and in an explosive but controlled manner, jump off the ground while bringing your knees up to your chest.
  • Landing should be soft and controlled on the midpoint of the feet.
  • On landing, keep feet straight and knees slightly bent over the middle of the foot.
  • Repeat in a controlled manner as quickly as possible.

Following your resistance training routine, you want to bring your body back to a state of rest that is accomplished through the cool-down portion of a workout. A common mistake many people make is to finish the last set of a training routine and call it a day. However, proper cool-down will ensure the muscles you worked can return to the optimal length-tension relationship which reducing your heart rate and cooling your overall body temperature.

About the Author: Katie Jodscheidt is the founder of Innerzyme and a Certified Personal Trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. She is a health and fitness enthusiast with a passion for helping athletes achieve their performance goals and improve their overall health through proper food intake, exercise and nutritional supplementation. Innerzyme currently sponsors over 400 motocross riders ranging from age 4 to 56 as well as Team BWR Brian White Racing. Visit: for more information.

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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  1. Gravatar
    jd805 May 09, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    Glute activation and core stabilization through good form is key in alot of these exercises. It will help lower back strength as well.

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