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If you have followed an effective off-season training program since last year’s season ended, you should now be
in good physical condition and ready to go racing. If your season has already started, then your strength and
conditioning should be much improved from what it was in January or February. Now, at this point in your training,
your focus should change from just improving your fitness to assessing your weaknesses. This is how you fine
tune your training program. Once you start racing on a consistent basis this process will continue. In fact, the
focus of your in-season training should constantly be on finding your weaknesses and working to improve them.
Obviously, once your season starts, your main focus should be on your riding. In order to improve your skills and
riding endurance, you should be riding as much as you can during the week before the weekend’s race.
However, you still need to maintain a regular strength and conditioning program. This is especially important if
you do not get to ride much during the week.
Of course the obvious question is – What type of workout should I do? In my book (Motocross Fitness), I outline
several different sample weeks (examples) of possible workouts. In addition to your riding time during the week,
you still need to include some endurance, flexibility, strength, and quickness training. This is a tall order when
you are already spending time practicing your riding.
As previously mentioned, your in-season fitness program should focus on correcting your weaknesses. In
essence, you need to fine tune your workouts to fit your needs. For example, if you are struggling with your
endurance, you should do more running, biking, jump rope, or similar activity. You can either, increase the
number of times per week, or up the distance and / or time. The intensity of the exercise may need to be
increased also to achieve the desired result.
If you find that specific muscles or muscle groups are tiring prematurely or are excessively sore after a race, then
you probably need to work on those areas some more in your strength and flexibility program. For example, if
your back is sore then you may need some more stretching of the muscles in the area and / or some more
strength work there.
These are just some common sense ideas, but if you haven’t had a consistent training program up until now, you
may not have thought much about them. However, the question of training time can also be a problem. Not
everyone has several hours a day to devote to riding or training. Therefore, it is imperative that you use your
For the average amateur racer I would recommend that you do some physical activity 4-5 days during the week.
For example, if you are able to ride two days during the week then it would benefit you to train at least two other
(three if possible) days during the week. Forty-five to sixty minutes of hard work on these days is enough to get
the job done. But, if you are strapped for time, you can still put in an intense 20-30 minute workout and get some
positive benefits from it. Do this several times a week and you will maintain the higher level of strength and
conditioning that you achieved during the off-season. In fact, if your goal is to just maintain, rather than improve,
your current fitness level, it probably won’t take much more that a couple of days per week of a good workout
What kind of program should I do during my racing season? You need to put together a total body program that
that stresses working your body as a unit, often called “functional training”. This type of training focuses on
training “movements” more than individual muscles, or working the entire body as one coordinated unit.
This is the type of program that I recommend over just lifting weights or endurance work alone. If you train at
home without weights you can do exercises such as pushups (different kinds), pullups, situps, and squats. You
can also include sprints, cycling, and jump rope to get your heart rate up. These are all great exercises that will
improve your fitness, but, of course, there are tons more that you can utilize if you have the time and equipment
(see Motocross Fitness).
Circuit training is also a fantastic way to maintain (and even improve) your strength and conditioning during the
racing season. And, it is a great time-saver because you minimize the rest times between sets and exercises.
Just be sure to mix up the workouts every couple of weeks to avoid boredom and / or burnout on the same
exercises and training program.
The main thing to remember during your racing season is to continue to train outside of your riding at least a
couple of days a week. And, be sure to cover all of your bases with endurance work as well as flexibility and
strength training. It is important to train the entire body to work efficiently as a coordinated unit to insure that you
are improving your physical fitness in addition to your riding ability. Not only will this approach make you a better
athlete, but it will also make riding safer for you.
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