Strong Knees for Motocross
by Racer X Virtual Trainer
This article comes from the TRX Fitness Anywhere Blog database. The relavance to motocross is obvious: the knee is one of the most injured body parts in motocross. Keeping the knee joint and leg strong is an essential ingredient to staying fit as a rider. The following article is built around utilizing the TRX, which I highly recommend; but with a little imagination the exercises can also be done sans TRX. So if you have injured a knee in the past, this article will help you strengthen your knee. If you have never had a knee injury, consider yourself lucky and use these exercises to keep from becoming a statistic. - Virtual Trainer
Single Leg Pistol Squat.
Alternate - See image at end of article.
"Your MRI looks worse than you do," my doctor said to me after a recent visit. After a torn ACL and cartilage damage I had suffered two decades ago, I was given a diagnosis of "early" (because I"m relatively young!) osteoarthritis. The effects of the degraded cartilage have begun to manifest. The doctor was essentially saying that my left knee MRI looks like it belongs to someone who is more limited physically. She was surprised by my level of sport play and by the muscle development I have in my legs. In fact, she surmised that the reason I"ve stayed so capable is my devotion to developing leg strength to support the knee.
What do you do when the knee breaks down? You can't stop squatting and lunging. If you do it in life, you need to train for it. Period. Over the years, I"ve worked with many people who have knee pain. After a trip to the doctor, they are often given glib, unhelpful advice like "don"t squat."
Maybe stacking hundreds of pounds on a barbell and vertically loading the legs in a barbell squat isn"t the best approach with knee issues. But we still need strong legs and stable knees.
TRX Single Leg Lunge.
Alternate - See image at end of article.
Enter the TRX. To strengthen the legs, there is no better exercise than a single leg squat. And with the TRX, it can truly be for everyone. Consider walking: you spend the majority of the time on a single leg! This means, with single leg training, you can provide a very "real world" leg exercise experience while at the same delivering a challenging load to the leg muscles with a resistance you are used to " your own bodyweight.
The depth and the speed of movement can be adjusted based on the appropriate skill and fitness level. And with the TRX, you get the right mix of balance help to allow better performance and stability if you need it. Single leg squat variations, such as the TRX Single Leg Squat (right, top image) and TRX Lunge (right, bottom image), are two terrific options for developing strong, capable leg muscles.
Another important part of healthy knees is stability. A major knee stabilizer is your hamstring muscles since they attach to the top of the lower leg bones. A hamstring that is strong while it is lengthening (eccentric contraction) is better able to keep the knee joint stable while performing a wide range of ground-based activities. I"ve created a great new TRX exercise to do just that.
The Swinging Hamstring Curl (see below) is a terrific exercise to keep the hamstrings strong when you need it most, which is while they are lengthening.
With injured knees (or to prevent injury), it is best to perform a variety of movements at a variety of angles and avoid excessive loads and/or repetitive motions. The many options provided by the TRX for leg training allow for maximum impact with minimum stress. I"ve used some of the same exercises with obese clients after knee replacements and athletes seeking better performance.
Don't have a TRX? Get yours here!
Alternate exercise for the TRX Pistol Squat
Alternate exercise for the TRX Lunge
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.