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"Training for
REAL Athletes"
           Functional Training Part 2:
Importance of Training the Neck and Midsection

Thank you for subscribing to the Moto X Fitness Newsletter.  Our mailing list is growing daily, and I want to
encourage everyone to spread the word to your MX friends about, our fitness information
products, and free newsletter.  

I want to help as many people as I can to improve their fitness, strength, conditioning, flexibility, and endurance for
motocross, so let everyone know about
Moto X Fitness where they can learn more about MX fitness when they
order the training manual -
Motocross Fitness.

What kind of strength do you need for motocross?  Weightlifting or powerlifting strength is not required.  You need
a combination of strength, endurance, flexibility, reflexes, and coordination through total body training or functional
training.  If all you do is run long distance and / or lift weights, you are not getting total body training.   

That is the purpose of functional training – train the entire body to work together as a unit (see newsletter #1).  
This is important for motocross.  Last week I talked about upper body exercises that you can do at home, and I
gave you some pushup exercises to work on.  Today’s topic is the importance of training the often neglected
muscles of the neck and midsection (or core).


When training the entire body the midsection and neck are extremely important.  But, midsection and neck
exercises are the most overlooked areas in most training programs despite the fact that they are very important.  

At some point in your life you may have lower back or neck pain.  This is common for many people whether they
are athletes or not.  Personally, I have problems with both because of a genetic problem in my lower back.  

But, I have discovered some exercises that have helped me strengthen my back and neck, and have lowered the
frequency with which I have pain.  The exercises that I use address the abdominal area, lower and upper back,
and neck.  

Now, you’re probably wondering why a motocross racer should develop their neck muscles.  To me, this is
important for safety reasons as well as to help you improve your overall strength and fitness.  Neck and spinal
injuries are the greatest fear for any racer, and the thought of spending your life in a wheelchair is not pleasant.  

Therefore, I would strongly encourage
ALL ATHLETES to spend time strengthening their neck and spinal column
muscles.  If you can prevent or lessen the severity of these types of injuries through strength training, then it is
well worth the time that you put into it.  

I’m sure that many people who have suffered through this type of injury wish they would have worked on their
strength and flexibility in these areas.  Of course, there are no guarantees that it will prevent any injury because of
the violence that is present in many crashes. But, much like your protective gear, it may improve your chances of
walking away.  

Again, most training programs do not address flexibility and / or muscle development of the neck and spinal
column.  A few exercises here and there may work these muscles in some way, but they need to be developed as
a whole unit that works together.

The midsection connects the upper and lower body and stabilizes the entire body, and it needs to be trained
appropriately. A few crunches every week is not going to cut it when training the abdominal muscles.

I’m not a big supporter of crunches because I think that there are many other exercises that are superior for
training the midsection such as full sit-ups, leg raises, or hanging leg raises as an example.  These exercises not
only work the abs, but many of the surrounding muscles also.  Again, I’ll use the phrase “Kill two birds with one
stone” to describe the effect of these types of exercises.

People argue that crunches isolate the abs and these other exercises don’t, but in functional training you train the
entire body to work as a unit not as a collection of muscles that are trained independently.  Motocross racers
should strive for a body that is coordinated with strong muscles that are able to work together efficiently.

How often do you perform any movement in your sport where the only muscle group you use is your abdomen?  
You don’t.  Now, if you cannot do a full sit-up, then start with crunches and work your way up.

For lower back training people often do hyperextensions or use a weight machine.  If you don’t have access to
those types of benches or machines there are alternatives that you can do at home like hyperextensions on the
floor or exercises using a stability ball.

How do most people work on their neck?  Most don’t, but if they do, they might use a neck machine, a neck
harness with weights, or partner assisted isometrics.  There may be a little value in some of these movements, but
there is a better way.  

There are exercises that work on the neck, lower back, and abdominal muscles as well as the hips and legs all at
the same time.  And, you can do these exercises at home without any weights or special equipment.  

What are these exercises?  Unfortunately I’m out of time, so you’re going to have to wait until next week’s
newsletter to find out the answer.      


If you want to learn more, go to the
MXF Store and order my training manual, Motocross Fitness.  It includes
descriptions and photographs of many exercises that you can add to your MX fitness program. In addition, there
are weekly workouts designed for all levels of athletes.  Also be sure to check out the Moto X Fitness Training
Journal which is on sale right now.  FREE SHIPPING and TWO FREE REPORTS  - Hand and Forearm Stretching  
and My Secret Workout - are currently available if you order either or both books.


That’s it for Newsletter #2.  Stay tuned for more training information.  If you have any questions email me at   I’ll be happy to help you out.  

Good Luck and Train Hard,

Rodney C. Womack III

Owner of
Moto X Fitness Newsletter #2 - 2004
Copyright 2004-2012 by RW3 Enterprises.  All rights reserved.