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Training Camp

by Clint Friesen


Training for Motocross is tough. Like all the other endurance sports, it requires an enormous amount of time and know-how to be successful. It’s a delicate balance between riding time, bike setup, cardio, strength, flexibility, proper nutrition, hydration, rest, etc. Ultimately, developing a plan that will help you get the most out of each of those categories is the main goal. For any athlete, in any sport, camps are an opportunity to learn from your favorite pro’s or coaches, which may do more for your speed than a new titanium exhaust system, for around the same price.

Ken Roczen now trains under the watchfull eye of Ricky Carmichael and trainer Clint Friesen

Photo: Clint Friesen

First and foremost, safety is the number one priority for a young rider getting into the sport. It is not unusual for new riders to come to a camp without knee braces, or even knee pads. For athletes and their parents to hear the basics on safety gear, as well as on track tips that will help keep you off the ground, camps are priceless. Nobody has fun when they’re hurt. Proper form and technique are paramount when it comes to safety.

"I love when people come out to the Farm, in our environment, where we can control it and make it a great experience for riders and their families. It’s a lot of fun." - Ricky Carmichael


The second thing that usually comes as a surprise to most families is the silver lining of hearing a pro rider tell you their opinion of what’s right and wrong. It makes it much easier for dad to say “Carmichael told us to do it this way” which can really help diffuse some stressful situations between rider and parent. After all, it’s hard enough to be a parent, it’s even harder to find the right balance between being a parent and a coach at the same time.

Besides the more common things you’ll learn at most camps, there are also a few things that may really come as a surprise. What I try to share with the athletes that come to the Carmichael Farm are things that are 99.9% of the time a sure bet. Also things that may not be so clear cut and dry. There are problems that may be more like 50/50 or even 30/30/30. For instance, if a rider is getting tired and struggling with endurance, cycling or doing more cardio may not be the solution. When athletes struggle with endurance we do a very specific type of testing that reveals how the heart, lungs, and muscles are performing during exercise. Rider number 1 may be struggling with his lungs and breathing. Then, like a clogged air filter on a factory bike, the engine and chassis/suspension are performing we but the clogged air filter is holding everything back. It works much the same with the human body. Meanwhile, riders #2 and #3 may be having issues with the heart, or muscles that is preventing them from going to the next level. Learning more about these issues will help you maximize your time and hopefully prevent you from wasting your effort doing something wrong. Nothing is more frustrating than struggling to find answers and putting in time plus hard work for a lost cause.

When the GOAT speaks, everyone listens including the author Clint Friesen.

Photo: Josh Rudd

Ultimately, all pro athletes are well versed when it comes to time and experience in the respective sports. Years of trial and error that can be condensed then shared with you in a relatively short amount of time. That’s the real value of going to a camp. There are lots of camps for motocross, so pick the one that’s right for you and have fun learning. Besides, sometimes it’s just fun to go and spend some time with one of your favorite riders and get a chance to tell a few stories or share a few laughs.

The Carmichael Camps out at Ricky’s Farm are an opportunity to come and see how the Carmichaels do things. Jeannie and Ricky do all of the on track training (and don’t be surprised when Ricky throws the gear on and shows you how it’s done). I do the off track program. Big Rick and Rion Baker build and maintain all of the tracks.

Ricky Carmichael: “The reason I like doing camps is because it’s an opportunity to share my experience with riders and their parents, which will hopefully help them become more successful. From what’s happening on the track, and off track, in all aspects of preparation. I love when people come out to the Farm, in our environment, where we can control it and make it a great experience for riders and their families. It’s a lot of fun.”

That’s it for now. Thanks, and if you guys have any questions please post them up in the comment section below.

About the Author: Professional trainer Clint Friesen has been on the motocross scene his entire life. He grew up racing and riding and eventually ended up studying sports medicine and exercise science at Florida State University. Clint helps guide many NFL, NBA, Olympic, and Division 1 Collegiate programs in testing and training their athletes. He also works closely with Per Lundstam and the RedBull High Performance Department. Clint trains riders Joey Savatgy, Ken Roczen, Gavin Faith, and Austin Forkner to name a few.  Any questions or positive comments can  be directed by email to:

Remove the Guesswork

At Virtual Trainer, we believe there is a right way to train for motocross. It starts with having a clear goal, finding expert instruction (on and off the bike), performing structured training and receiving immediate feedback throughout the process. Coach Seiji (Andrew Short's longtime trainer) has teamed up with Virtual Trainer to offer our audience an exclusive motocross community geared towards improving your performance on and off the track. The community offers motocross specific training plans designed by one of the best – to help you achieve your best performance. This is literally a one-of-a-kind training and conditioning experience for you, the motocross athlete.

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
    Mark September 17, 2015 at 2:56 pm

    I think it is great to have these camps for the younger riders as it will give them the mind set they will need. As important as training is I wonder if they are stressing that not only good technique is important when riding but to be as relaxed as they can be while riding. The very top guys like Dungey don't come off the tracks looking they were out for a joy ride just because they train a lot are in great shape but because the know how much effort to use. Why squeeze the bike with your legs with 30 Lbs of pressure when you rally only need to use 5 lbs. The more relaxed you are the less effort you need to ride and that translates into less fatigue.

  2. Gravatar
    Clint Friesen September 18, 2015 at 1:44 pm

    Mark, thanks... I agree the camps are important for teaching and establishing proper form and technique. I think lots of people would be surprised to see how many successful pro riders still struggle with that. However, just because you're relaxed doesn't mean you're going fast, or not going to get tired. Quite often going fast translates into being more tense and working a little bit harder to gain the advantage. Very seldom does just relaxing translate into faster lap times.
    Finding the balance for each individual rider is the key. Also finding a balanced bike setup will help reduce the amount the rider has to fight the bike. Which results in using wasted energy on a problem that could be solved by some chassis or suspension changes.
    Thanks for the comment Mark

  3. Gravatar
    Daniel Loub October 05, 2015 at 6:17 pm

    Dear Clint Friesen,
    My name is Daniel Loub. I am currently a sophomore in college and 19 years old. I am also currently chasing a dream and goal. I have a goal of becoming a personal trainer for professional motocross and supercross racers. I am enrolled in the exercise science program here at Bowling Green State University. I was hoping that you could possibly call or contact me in regards to possibly helping me out. I am a young kid that is determined with a dream. Hopefully you get a chance to see this and if you do hopefully you are able to contact me. I have been in contact with some pro riders and trainers before so hopefully i get a chance to talk with you as well. My number is 1-440-463-8063. Thank you for your time.

  4. Gravatar
    Racer X Virtual Trainer October 08, 2015 at 8:51 am

    Daniel - Clint's email is at the end of the article. I suggest sending him an email. Thanks!

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