Off-Season Training

By Tim Crytser
 
 
 
  
 

Check Out Other Workout Articles in the  Archive Section

In an effort to bring the best information available regarding MX fitness to the Racer X Virtual Trainer website, postings are open to anyone with a specific and proven expertise in the fitness field. Jeff Macdonald of Motosport training certainly has the qualifications and desire and has written the following article. Jeff has been riding since age 9 and is an Alaska State Motocross Champion. He has a degree in Exercise and Sports Science from Oregon State University where he also worked to design and implement sport specific conditioning programs. Currently, Jeff trains professional motocross athletes and owns and manages Motosport Training, a company dedicated to motocross specific training services. Jeff has worked with such pros as Travis Pastrana, Robbie Reynard, Tiger Lacey, Lance Smail, Kelly Smith, Tim Ferry and many more. But that's all we really know about the guy - Virtual Trainer

Time for a Break
When the season is over and all the tracks are switching over to their winter schedules, it is time to start thinking about how you are going to do better next year. If you plan on getting a new race bike, you better make sure your physical potential can put the bike to use. How do we train in the off-season when there are no races all winter? By deciding what is most important. If the big summer series Championship is what you want to compete in, then you need to cycle your conditioning to be in the best shape (motocross specific) for that series. Even if your goals are a little less ambitious and you just want to be in better shape this spring when the tracks open back up, you need to start your conditioning now.  Preparing for the next season of riding can start as early as 3-4 weeks after your last race. Take this time off to give your joints and other skeletal structure a brake from all the hard work. Once you've had a brake, start your off-season with strength/endurance training along with aerobic based cardiovascular training. Strength is the "nucleus" for all other conditioning. Higher levels of strength will ultimately yield higher levels of cardiovascular and muscular endurance in the pre-season. Strength training should start with low to medium intensity and high repetitions, and gradually shift to high intensity and lower repetitions as the off-season training progresses. The emphasis is on strength, not mass or size. After several weeks of conditioning at the beginning level (high reps of 10-12), exercise intensity should be increased. Increasing the weight that you are working with can do this. This segment of training should consist of "multiple joint" exercises. These types of exercises are: squats, lunges, incline press, pull-downs, shoulder press, and seated row. For mid-torso strengthening use these exercises: abdominal crunches, side (oblique) crunches, leg lifts and back extensions (Also, check out this ab article ).

Exercises should be performed in a full range of motion. This means when performing an exercise, the muscles should travel through their full length; from shortest to longest. This makes certain that you are maintaining joint/ligament flexibility, while increasing muscular strength and endurance. After the first week or two of introductory conditioning, the exercise sets and repetitions should be 3 sets of 6-8 reps combined with 30 minutes of aerobic cardiovascular activity 3-5 times a week. Cardiovascular activity should be total body, such as a rowing machine, Versa-climber, Schwinn Airdyne or group exercise class. The cardio machines listed above use all four limbs of the body and train the body more completely for motocross by emphasizing upper body endurance than say a stair master machine which only works your lower body. Spend plenty of time stretching before and after your workout.

The Musculoskeletal System
The off-season is a time for doing what we call "conditioning lifting", allowing the muscles and joints to recover and prepare for next year. Off-season training not only increases your base level of strength, but also decreases the chance of in-season injuries by strengthening the musculoskeletal structure. This training, although not as sport specific as pre-season or in-season training, is a necessary segment of a good year-round physical conditioning program for motocross.
 
The off-season training program should be performed for 4-6 weeks to establish a core strength base. It is very important that the last 4 to 5 weeks of training be performed at a much more intense level than the first few weeks both in the weight lifting portion and the cardio portion. In the weight lifting phase, in order to gain the desired musculoskeletal strength, training should be progressively increased by adding resistance and decreasing repetitions. In the cardio phase, in order to gain the desired aerobic base, the cardio effort must be broadened by increasing time and exertion level.

These are just some of the training techniques recommended by Virtual Trainer. There is still pre-season and in-season training, which becomes much more sport specific. Off-season training should not be discounted as a time to take it easy; instead it should be about getting stronger in your weak areas and gaining the upper hand on the competition!

Off-Season Training Program
Perform 3 to 5 days a week with a day off in between workouts.
Warm-up and stretch 5 minutes on a bicycle/rower or any other cardio machine you have available.

OFF-SEASON STRENGTH

Sets

Repetitions

   Warm-up, stretch

At least 10 minutes

 Rowing machine or other cardio equipment

   Lunges with Weights

 3

8-10 Reps; Weeks 1 & 2      4-6 Reps; Weeks 3 thru 6

   Leg Press

  3

8-10 Weeks 1 & 2      4-6 Weeks 3 thru 6

   Hamstring Curls

 3

8-10 Weeks 1 & 2      4-6 Weeks 3 thru 6

   Bench Press

  3

8-10 Weeks 1 & 2      4-6 Weeks 3 thru 6

   One Arm Rows on Bench

 3

8-10 Weeks 1 & 2      4-6 Weeks 3 thru 6

   Military Press

3

8-10 Weeks 1 & 2      4-6 Weeks 3 thru 6

   Power Cleans

3

8-10 Weeks 1 & 2      4-6 Weeks 3 thru 6

   Dead Lift

3

8-10 Weeks 1 & 2      4-6 Weeks 3 thru 6

   Weighted Ab Crunches

3

8-10 Weeks 1 & 2      4-6 Weeks 3 thru 6

   Back Extensions

3

8-10 Weeks 1 & 2      4-6 Weeks 3 thru 6

   Incline Situps

3

8-10 Weeks 1 & 2      4-6 Weeks 3 thru 6

  Cardio Activity

20-45 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) or 70-80% of age adjusted maximum heart rate.

  Cool Down and Stretch

At least 10 minutes


For the above exercises, perform 8-10 repetitions for weeks 1 and 2 and then progress to 4-6 repetitions for weeks 3 through 6. Perform all sets of one exercise before moving on to the next. Take a 1 minute break between sets.

For proper form on the above exercises, be sure to consult with a fitness professional at your gym. If that doesn't work, email
 me and I will point you in the right direction.

After completing the weight lifting phase, perform 20-45 minutes of cardiovascular activity on a rowing machine at 70-80% of age adjusted maximum heart rate (total body endurance).

MOST IMPORTANT INFORMATION OF ALL
In this phase of your cardio training,  DO NOT do intervals. The goal in this phase of your training is to broaden your aerobic base. In order to accomplish this, you need to train in the aerobic zone for a continuous length of time. This is necessary so that when the season roles around and you begin riding again, you can push your body further before entering the more exhaustive anaerobic state. Interval training will become important in the pre-season training program.

Good luck with your off-season training and remember, if you want to be successful this season, the preparation for that success starts now. Take a short break so that you don't get burned out and come back in a few weeks with a new found fire and determination that will help you dominate your respective class. 
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.  
 
 

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