By Tim Crytser
10 Questions With ..... John Louch
A few weeks ago, we gave Racer X online readers an all-access pass to one of the top trainers in our sport, by giving them a chance to ask him any question they wanted regarding MX fitness and training. John is a busy guy training top riders like Grant Langston and John Hopkins, who races the moto GP tour, all the while keeping a close eye on his gym, Evolution Fitness in Southern California. That is where we tracked John down to ask him your 10 questions.
What is your take on Jeff Emig winning the 1997 supercross and motocross championship while drinking and partying throughout the season.
Dion Harnishfeger. Covina, Ca
Dion: Back in "the day" of 1997, all of the top riders were pretty much close friends and had a lot of fun together. They did train back then, just not like today. Jeff even admits in his interview with Racer X that no matter how hard he partied the night before, he always got his training in the next day. Things pretty much changed with Ricky Carmichael setting the standard higher. What worked then, no longer worked. Back in the day, the guys used to "sprint" the first five or six laps, then get into a comfortable pace. Now, the entire race can become a sprint to the finish.
What is the best way to limit arm pump? Weight routine? Aspirin? Stretches?
Eric O'Harra. San Diego, CA
Eric: There are many things you can do to reduce arm pump, ranging from complicated to simple. Basic things like bike setup, properly warming up before getting on your bike, and riding relaxed are simple but crucial. If I knew the cure to arm pump, I’d be rich by now. There are many things that are contributing factors. One no one ever really talks about is to get your eyes tested. Believe it or not, there have been some links between being nearsighted (not seeing well into the distance) and arm pump. Another factor is breathing and using more of your legs and less of your upper body. The reason you don’t get arm pump when you're younger is that your arm muscles aren’t as developed. Arm-pump surgery is one of the more complicated solutions and is more successful now than in the past, but it depends on the doctor. I know of some riders in Europe who have had the surgery and have never battled with arm pump again. Weight training and stretching are also contributing factors, but I don’t believe aspirin will have anything to do with it. Check out this article
on Arm Pump in the Racer X archives.
I've been looking for a training activity that can give me upper body as well as leg work similar to riding and came up with rowing. Have you had any experience with rowing as a training activity for motocross?
Ryan. Pittsburgh, PA
Ryan: Rowing is a great cardio and good upper-and-lower-body workout. I believe the best workout for the upper body is swimming and for the lower body it’s cycling. Combining swimming and cycling is the best for a full body workout. Both exercises have no impact on the joints, which can give your body time to recover after riding MX. But, I would definitely recommend rowing if you don’t have access to a pool or bike.
What, if anything, can a rider safely do to prepare himself for racing in a warmer climate (i.e.: someone from relatively cool upstate NY preparing for the heat/humidity of Loretta Lynn's)? [Ed note – Loretta’s is over but the heat is still on]
Joe Celso. Walworth, NY
Joe: The best way to prepare for racing is, of course, to train. I would have to say to refer to the answer given to Chris about swimming, etc. In regards to preparing yourself for a warmer climate, ideally, you should train in that kind of weather. Being that you are from upstate NY, I would say you would have to be diligent with hydrating yourself when racing in the warmer climate. Remember, the fitter you are, and stronger you are, the better your body can handle the elements. This is why you need to be fit if racing. I don’t recommend anything like wearing sweat suits, jogging pants, and heavy sweatshirts to simulate higher outdoor temperatures. This can be very dangerous and should NOT be done.
Becoming a Motocross trainer is my goal in life, working out and helping people workout is a way of life for me. Can you tell me how you got into the motocross training business and can you make a great living doing it, while doing what you love?
TJ Bradley. Johnson City, TN
TJ (nice name, that’s my nickname): I got involved because I grew up racing BMX and MX in South Africa. I’ve always been addicted to training. Even when I was 11, I used to go cycling at 5 a.m. before school. I became a trainer in a gym first, before taking it outside to the MX industry. I was already involved in the industry through growing up with Greg Albertyn. I really got into it when Roger DeCoster approached me about training Travis Pastrana. His mom came to the gym to talk to me about training Travis, and that’s how it started. You can make a great living, and here’s how I would recommend you begin. Start with your local market before moving on. There must be some amateurs in your area that could use a workout partner as no one likes to train by him or herself. Be prepared to work for free to prove yourself. Being paid to be at the races and also travel the world really is a dream job. Good luck!
I wore my heart rate monitor while I was riding motos once and I was wondering what are some guidelines in regards to heart-rate training? I try to train at least 85% of my maximum heart rate (higher for intervals), is this safe?
Travis: It all depends on what you are training for, SX or MX. It also depends on how long you have been training (years). You first want to create a base and then increase your intensity so you do not get burned out. You want to train during the week at lower heart rates for recovery, and then depending on if you are racing, to train one day during the week at your max heart rate for short periods of time for interval training. This depends again on if you are training for MX or SX. For MX you want to train for long periods of time with your heart rate at a comfortable pace. For SX it’s more interval training but then you have to have recovery training at a low heart rate. This is tough question to answer in general because heart rates are so specific to each individual and I don’t know what your heart rate is at resting and at max, and what you are training for. To be more thorough for you, contact Tim at firstname.lastname@example.org
and he can forward you my contact info so we can talk about what would work for you.
What is the best kind of training a "weekend warrior" can do during the week, besides actually riding?
Chris Sexton. OKC, OK
Chris: My wife advocates cardio in the bedroom, but that’s her advice. But seriously, cycling, running, or swimming is the best. It depends on how much time you have available to train though. For example, swimming can be done in 20 minutes for a complete workout, and running takes about 45 minutes. Cycling is my favorite, except that takes 1 hour and 45 minutes. It depends on your time. If you can do these at least 3 times a week, then you are on the right track for being an epic weekend warrior.
In a recent Virtual Trainer interview, you advocated the use of "FreeMotion equipment like cables" over dumbbells and barbells. Could we get a better explanation on that? What does "FreeMotion" mean and why is such equipment better than dumbbells and barbells? This does not make sense to me and I'm wondering if this philosophy as stated is based on a set of assumptions I am not considering.
Joe Celso. Walworth, NY
Joe: Well, to quote Albee, When you make assumptions, you make an ass out of u and me. Kidding. The reason I prefer FreeMotion equipment is, it helps you keep your form when you are training. There is no jerking motion when you work out. It’s not that I do not like free weights, because I use them, it’s just that if you are using free weights, you really need to know what you are doing. FreeMotion equipment is more forgiving (www.freemotionfitness.com
I am a Vet Intermediate rider and out of shape. I am 37, 5'10", 200 lbs, work 40 to 60 hours a week and have a family. I usually only get to ride one day each week, 2 if I am lucky. Recently I have gotten in worse shape as time goes on and it is hard for me to ride and stay competitive. What would be the best and most effective training plan I could implement on a limited schedule.
Matt Davis. Rio Rancho, NM
Chris Blike. Macedonia, OH
Tim Finlayson. Paso Robles, CA
Alan Ledgerwood. Tulare, CA
To all the vet guys out there, your training will be quite a bit different than most of the younger guys. Most of us older guys have a full plate with kids, demanding mid-career jobs, and a wife. That can be a lot and can certainly interfere with a good workout program if you let it. But the key thing to remember is that it can only interfere if you let it. If you truly are that busy, schedule your workouts as part of your job. Put it in your day planner as you would a meeting and stick to it. The older we get, the more important our eating habits become. It takes a lot of effort on a busy schedule to eat right, but things that are worthwhile usually take more effort. If the kids are taking up time or you feel guilty not being with them all day, work out with them. Go on a bike ride, jog, go the gym, or just run around in the backyard with the kids. If you only have time for a 20-minute workout, then use those 20 minutes and work hard. At least you won’t have to worry about overtraining. Training at home is another great way to workout while spending time with the family. Get a stationary bike and ride while watching TV. Another great way of staying motivated and on track is to join a group fitness class at the gym (spinning, aerobics, kickboxing, yoga). Classes are scheduled and you don’t have to worry about what you are going to do before you get there. Just show up and exercise. And if you can afford it, hire a personal trainer (they are cheaper than you think). As for a schedule, try 45 minutes of cardio one day and weight train the next. Don’t get too hung up on whether or not something is specific to motocross; just train. I believe that if you want to train badly enough you will come up with something other than excuses and find a way.
Is it better to weight train first, then ride the bicycle or vice versa? Or alternate days. More often than not, I do both in the same evening. Is that ok and does it matter which one I do first?
Kevin Halverson (#99). Fairbanks, AK
If you are racing every week or even just once a month, how should you approach weight training for motocross? I know that the key is low weight/high rep but how frequently should the sessions be and what should the session timing between races be?
Bill Denise. Mobile, AL
My dad and I always argue over what type of workouts my brother and I should be doing for motocross. He thinks bulking up using heavy weight is the way to go while I say low weight and high reps for more of an aerobic workout is best. Who is right here? Also, what are some motocross specific workouts that some of the top pros do?
I would like to address all of the weight lifting questions together. See question and answer #8 for the FreeMotion equipment that I prefer to use. FreeMotion equipment is what I use to train my riders, but if you don’t have access to this type of equipment, then use free weights or Nautilus equipment. Remember, a proper warm up is always needed for all types of exercise. Riding a stationary bike is a great way of getting loose and warmed-up. You should split your cardio and strength training days up, but if you cannot, then I would recommend bike first, weights second. During the season, you want to do what I call maintenance strength train. That is, you want to maintain your current strength levels by using low weight high rep sets. In the off-season, you want to lift heavier weights with lower reps to increase your overall strength. If you race on Sunday, you should try not to weight train any later than Wednesday or Thursday of the week giving your body plenty of time to recover. And Drew, you would be right (sorry Dad). Check out the Racer X archives
section for several articles covering weight training, cardio, and flexibility along with pre, during and post-season specific workouts.
That's it from John for now. Until next time, good luck with your training and, as always, VT can be reached anytime at
. In addition, be sure and check out the Racer X Virtual Trainer
, your complete one-stop information zone for motocross fitness.
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