Article Posted 3/17/05

Pre-Season Training Revisited
By Tim Crytser
Workout by Jeff MacDonald
 
 
 
 
 
 
Virtual Trainer has now been on the air for a little over a year with virtually little or no repeats. When I first started the column, I wasn’t really sure how I was going to come up with enough ideas to fill a years worth of articles, and now I can’t seem to find the time to put into words all the things that I have to say about MX fitness. My main objective in writing the articles has always been to help out the weekend warriors by providing good solid advice on how to train for MX. I wanted to dispel the myth that the pros are doing some type of voodoo magic to get into the type shape that they are in, when really all they are doing is working harder than the rest of us. We have touched on many things over the past year covering everything from training schedules, complete pre, during, and post season workouts, tips on hydration and diet, heard from other leading experts in the field and have even thrown in a few interviews with the pros. Now that winter time is drawing to a close, lets take a look back at a topic that we covered just about this time last year, pre-season training. It’s been a long and dark winter for those of us in the North East and elsewhere I’m sure, but the weather man says that spring is here and the air will soon be filled with premix. Will you be ready….inhale deeply…..can you smell it!

With the season about to start in some locations and already underway in others, it is time (and for you Loretta Lynn hopefuls, past time) to start your pre-season training program. Your winter schedule should have been spent doing the post-season workout that I laid out for you back in November. As I have said many times before, to properly train for MX, you should be incorporating three separate programs; off-season, pre-season, and in-season programs. If your post-season training was a success, you should be fully recovered from any nagging injuries and stronger than ever and ready to attack the upcoming season. With the post-season behind us, it is time to move into the all important pre-season training phase.

The pre-season workout involves exercises that are sport specific. This phase of conditioning will shift emphasis to speed training, interval weight training and interval cardiovascular training. Speed training conditions the neuromuscular system, developing balance, reflexes and coordination, while interval training increases cardiovascular and muscular endurance, and establishes fast recovery from heavy bouts of exercise. This program is the most intense of the three phases and is generally considered the meat-and-potatoes portion of your training. Sport specific exercises are very important in the pre-season to get your body ready to get back on the bike. The sport specific exercises we will use mimic the motions and positions your body goes through while riding. In these exercises, we will overload the body by training interval style. Interval style training is necessary in order to push yourself past your normal fitness levels. By overloading the muscles, you force your body to adapt and become stronger and attain higher and higher levels of muscular endurance. This will pay dividends during race day, allowing you to push harder for longer periods of time without tiring.

There are two energy systems at work when riding MX; the aerobic and anaerobic systems. Since MX is mostly aerobic, it is very important to broaden your aerobic threshold. By broadening your aerobic threshold, your body will be able to remain in the aerobic zone longer before entering an anaerobic state. The aerobic system requires much less energy to sustain for long periods of time than the anaerobic. For this reason, we want to stay in the aerobic zone for as long as possible when riding. Otherwise, you will enter the anaerobic zone and burn more energy. This is where interval training comes into play. By overloading your body and utilizing both the aerobic and anaerobic systems, your body will become more efficient at utilizing blood and oxygen and remain in the aerobic zone longer.

The following exercise program was developed by Jeff MacDonald of Motosport Training . Jeff has several years under his belt training many top professionals and currently trains top privateer, Tiger Lacey, and has worked with other top names such as Travis Pastrana, Robbie Reynard, Kelly Smith, Scott Plessinger and many others. Jeff is also a former Pro Motocrosser himself and worked as a strength and conditioning coach at Oregon State University . This program should be used in the pre-season, but can also be use during the season to supplement your weaker areas. When doing this program, stick to the following guidelines to attain peak results;

· Warm-up and stretch before your training session.
· Always do vertical and lateral jump training first.
· Follow training format in the order prescribed for best results.
· In phases I and II give one (1) day rest between training days.
· Use "off days" for riding practice.
· If not riding, use off days for interval cardio.

    Stretch at the end of exercise to reduce muscle soreness and speed recovery.


Phase I

-Speed Training-

Sets

Repetitions

    Warm-up, stretch

      At least 10 minutes

 
    Vertical jump (Pic )

3

       10 (jump in place, 100% effort)

    Lateral jump (Pic )

3

       10 (jump side to side, 1 each way=1)  
    Push-up/clap

3

       10 (push-up, clap hands together)
    Lunges (Pic )

3

       10 (each leg)
    Bent over row (Pic )

3

       10
    Shoulder Press (Pic )

3

       10
    Cardio Activity

15-20 minutes cardiovascular activity on the Schwinn Air Dyne or rowing machine.   This should be performed at an exertion level of 6 or 7 on a scale of 1 to 10 (i.e. work pretty hard, but not as hard as you can)


Note: When performing these exercises allow 1 minute rest between sets.
Give 100% effort on all jump training, using legs, hips and arms.
Perform all sets of one exercise before moving on to the next.
Cool down; stretch after you complete cardio activity.
Variations of the pushup can be seen
here .

-INTERVAL WEIGHT TRAINING-

Time (Reps)

   Interval 1  
   Warm-up, stretch

At least 10 minutes

   Squat/Press (Pic )

45 sec. (18 – 20 reps)  

   Bent over row (Pic )

45 sec. (18 – 20 reps)

   Crunches (Or other ab work)

45 sec. (18 – 20 reps)

   Rower or bike

3 minutes

   
   Interval 2  
   Lunges (Pic )

45 sec. (18-20 reps)

   Upright Row (Pic )

45 sec. (18-20 reps)

   Incline press (Pic )

45 sec. (18-20 reps)

   Rower or bike

3 minutes


Note: Do not stop between exercises (Go from one exercise to the next).
Lift weights as fast as you can for 45 seconds (approximately 18 to 20 reps.)
DO NOT SACRAFICE FORM FOR SPEED. Use controlled motions at all times.
Perform rowing or bike at an exertion level of 5 or 6 on a scale of 1 to 10 (i.e. medium speed).
Make sure to lift weight using full range of motion.
90 second rest at end of interval 2
Complete both intervals 3 times.
Cool down, stretch

PHASE II

-INTERVAL CARDIOVASCULAR TRAINING-

Interval cardiovascular training is performed using intervals.  Intervals are perfromed by alternating between low intensity (aerobic) exercise and high intensity (anaerobic) exercise. Once warmed up and stretched, exercise at the low intensity for a period of two minutes, then increase intensity to an all-out pace for one minute. This is continued for 20 minutes of training, low, high, low etc.  Low interval training intensity will be a 5 or 6 on a scale of 1 to 10. High interval intensity will be 8 or 9 on a scale of 1 to 10. Interval cardiovascular training is to be performed 2-3 times per week on a rowing machine (Concept2) or similar piece of equipment that requires the use of both the upper and lower body. This will ensure total body conditioning.

Example Schedule 

Monday – Speed training
Tuesday – Ride or Interval Cardio Training
Wednesday – Interval Weight training
Thursday – Ride or Interval Cardio Training
Friday – Ride or Interval Cardio Training
Saturday – Rest
Sunday – Race or Ride

This schedule will vary greatly depending on your own needs. As you train you should become more accustom to what your needs are and adjust your schedule accordingly. If you feel like you need more muscular endurance, then add a day of interval weight training. Getting winded on lap 3, then add more speed or interval cardio training. You must learn to become in tune with your body and adjust this schedule to suit your needs. And remember, a day of rest is a good thing. Don’t over train.

Good luck adding this pre-season training program to your workouts. Remember, depending on where you are in your training program, this workout may or may not apply to you all season long. Evaluate where you currently stand fitness wise, and use the pre-season workout accordingly.  Until next time, good luck with your training and, as always, VT can be reached anytime at crytset@comcast.net .  In addition, be sure and check out the Racer X Virtual Trainer archive section , your complete  one-stop  information  zone  for  motocross  fitness.