Training Down Under Style
By Andy Cunningham


Andy Cunningham is a former runner up Mr. Universe and three time Mr. Australia. Having retired 10 years ago, he went back to the sport he did as a kid as his own son shared interest in it himself and is now on the National Circuit at home and is an up and coming Supercross gun. Andy owns a 10,000 sq ft fitness center in Brisbane, Australia and has over 50 riders within his care, however most of his time is spent with Daniel Reardon, the current SX Open 2006 Champion and hottest property in OZ after winning the lites only 1 year previous. Andy currently has offers on the table for 07' in OZ but would ultimately like to come to the USA to further his own ambitions as well as his sons. That's all we really know about the guy - Virtual trainer

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Any of Andy's programs are tried by himself first to make sure the exercises and intensity are adapt to the riders level of fitness. Hands on is the approach here!

Hello from Brisbane down under Australia! Training here has somewhat of a different meaning to those of the USA trainers. Trainers here tend to set a program and train the rider with weights and cardio then let the guys do their own thing on the bike. Much a different to the States were the trainer basically lives with the rider, goes cycling everyday, to the track and then to the gym. My own theory is a more professional eclectic approach. Firstly, I will meet the rider and see what his goals and work ethic are like whilst making a physiological assessment of the person. Then, if I feel he has the desire and heart, I may consider taking him on as it is not about money but results that count. From there, I will do a postural analysis to look for weaknesses within his/her body and structural imbalances, as all of this will allow me to design a program for injury prevention and work with current injuries.

Next, I will conduct a barrage of fitness tests testing for flexibility, agility, reaction time, lung capacity and body fat tests. I, like my fellow trainer Aldon Baker, am not big on the V02 max test as there are too many variables, although I do test for Lactate levels during tests on the treadmill and on bike training.

After all these tests, I will then test for muscle fibre types. With the results from the Muscle Fibre Test I can then design the rep range for each muscle group. Once all this is done I will have the client fill out a nutritional plan form and have a diet and supplementation program designed. I then train the rider and outline the program in a booklet so that they keep an active log of their resting heart rate, meals, temperature etc.

A daily cardio session is set with use of x-bike, road cycle, cross trainer, stepper, treadmill, rower, tread climber, swimming and mountain bike. I irregularly do intervals and HR training with bleachers, beach drills and have scheduled active rest periods throughout the year were we do rock-climbing, jet ski and table tennis activities. Finally, I sit down with my client every Monday and map out a plan for the coming week of training and work on whatever we feel are current weaknesses with sprint laps, corners, braking, moto's, intensity training etc. As normal, I adjust diet according to output to keep body fat at minimal levels and zigzag carbs to deplete early in week with high protein/low carbs, then load carbs and drop protein to taper for the weekend race.
Australian Dirt Bike Magazine's, Ben Dillaway recently did a 5 Minutes With feature on Andy.  VT will assume that most readers here in the States do not have a subscription to ADB Magazine, so with Andy;s permission we have reproduced the interview here.  Let's get to know a little more about the Trainer form Down Under.

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In any form of training we try to mimic the sport we do – Here Dan does a standing cable row on a wobble board whilst gripping a 4 kg medicine ball with his adductors

ADB Magazine: He’s a tough mean Bastard, but what he does works. Three-time Mr. Australia bodybuilder Andy Cunningham has switched from pumping iron to personal training, taking on two of the Country’s top off-road riders – Dan Reardon and Josh Strang. Outside these boys, more than 50 other riders train at his Brisbane-based Maximum Effort Fitness center. We caught up with Cunningham to find out how he churns out the champs…..

ADB: So mate, how do you go from being Mr. Australia to a motocross trainer?
Andy Cunningham:  I use to race Suzuki RM80’s as a kid, so I’ve always been involved. When I moved to Australia 25 years ago, I started weight training at a local gym, and enjoyed it. I did competitive bodybuilding for 15 years and won the Mr. Australia crown 3 times, but I gave it away when I had kids. My son, Matt showed an interest in bikes and it all started from there. I opened the gym a few years ago and met other riders at the track and they started asking if I could help them with their training.

Compared to other sports, what’s different about MX training?
It’s difficult because you need both aerobic and anaerobic exercise – cardiovascular and weight training – where most sports are either power-oriented or cardio-oriented. I think Dan’s (Reardon) is the perfect build; he just needs a couple more kilos. More people realize now that it’s a demanding sport, so it's starting to get the credit it deserves.

Is training just for the Pros or should everyone be doing it?
It can help everyone. By being a little bit more fit, you’re able to go for those longer rides without having to stop for a drink or gasp for air. Weekend warriors don’t even have to go to the gym for that. They can simply walk or jog 20-30 minutes a few times a week and it will improve their fitness greatly. A lot of guys have personal trainers these days, but the problem is they know nothing about MX. There are a few like Stephen Gall, Lee Hogan, Paul Broomfield, and Glen Ball, who are all respected in the industry. I’m kinda like this new guy on the scene, but I think I’ve upped the ante and taken it to the next level.

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Russian twists on the floor are a good exercise for torso flexibility and agility

Out of all Australian riders, who puts in the most work?
I’d say Dan without a doubt, and that’s not just because I train him. Everyone knows it and you can see it at the races. If he doesn’t get the starts, he’ll just charge them down and wear them out with his fitness. Someone who’s more talented on a bike, but doesn’t have a strong work ethic, won’t go as far as someone who’s not as talented but has determination, work ethic, and tunnel vision.

What are your plans for the future?
I’ve been working with Dan for 4 years and with Josh for 2, and I’ve just started with Brenden Harrison. I don’t want to take any more on because my hands are full right now. I’d like to eventually go to the States with Dan and continue training hiom over there. That would be my ultimate goal in two years time.


That's it 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 archive section , your complete one-stop information zone for motocross fitness.

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