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The secret to training and performance for motocross

The secret to training and performance for motocross

Solutions to stop fatigue in your 3rd race and increase performance!

It’s very rare that I go into the science of reasoning when it comes to training. After all what looks good on paper is very rarely implemented to a training program. I’ve been involved in elite, professional and recreational sports strength and conditioning for the past 20+ years and still today in 90% of all gyms, clubs, sporting complexes and institutes I still witness Coaches, Trainers and so called specialists to allow their clients / athletes to perform incorrect technique in their training sessions.

Yes that’s right, 90% of all athletes train with poor form and technique which leads to incorrect Positioning!

I continually see Coaches post on facebook their training sessions with poor technique. It may be a 1RM (rep max), an Olympic Lift, a Bench Press or even a simple Push Up. All these performed with poor form.

How you train and prepare in the gym I can guarantee is how you will perform on the track.

So how do you correct this? First of all motocross athletes training seriously for motocross would be performing various types of training anywhere from CrossFit, F45, Circuit training, Functional Training types of workouts and god forbid and why the hell I still don’t know why they ride a Road Bike (which is the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen) to train for motocross.

Let’s look at what is actually happening in these types of workouts.


Position is defined as where you are placing your body in the prescribed movement. Not only in the gym, but you as a rider should know the importance of position on a motorbike. As you know a lap around a motocross track requires your body to be in a lot a different positions. Cornering, braking bumps, ruts, straights and jumping all require different body positions to be able to execute the required task. This also relates to how you train in the gym.

One of the simplest ways to replicate and improve your riding is to train under load.


Load is typically what we know as making it heavier. It’s the easiest way to challenge the robustness of position. As long as you are in a safe position, you will be able to fail safely. Load is the easiest way to challenge position in the gym. But if we want to challenge this training and make it functional to motocross and make it a better reality to your sport you introduce Cardio Respiratory Demand.

Cardio Respiratory Demand

What ends up happening to make a strong person and any person in this case to make them look weak is you get them breathing hard whilst under load. When you are breathing hard that suddenly impacts the ability to maintain effective position. If you translate this to the track you start to get an understanding of the requirements of the body. Load (requiring strength) mixed with Cardio (heart rate elevation) will make it harder for you to maintain position on the bike. Translate this to on the bike and if you lose body positioning on the bike we all know where you will end up. On the ground! Or effectively you have to slow down. (Fatigue)

This is one the most effective way to assess an athlete who thinks they are fit for motocross!

It’s an excellent diagnostic of positioning and one of the reasons I assess athletes with breathing hard under load. The tools for diagnostics is also the stimulus for adaptation so the reason you’re training in the first place is to become faster, more conditioned and stronger.

This is as far as I would focus initially with new clients. As I said earlier 90% of every athlete / client I’ve seen in gyms cannot lift correctly under load. So that’s the first thing that needs addressing. Then you introduce Cardio Respiratory Demand.

To take it to the next level I would then introduce Metabolic Load.

Metabolic Load

Let’s do a heavy set of 5 reps followed by CRD (Cardio Respiratory Demand). Or even expend that out to 15 – 21 reps. Suddenly, you will see a lot of inefficiencies in the system.


Let’s throw in another demand. Stress. It doesn’t matter if it’s competition, life or even on the starting gate. Stress plays a huge part in how you perform.

A great reflection of Stress was the year I trained Pro Open Riders- Louis Calvin, Dean Porter, Luke Davis, Craig Bolton all together at the same time, same days, doing the same workouts. Some very interesting observations took place in relation to stress in a lot of the workouts, especially when there was competition involved in the workout, as well as the demands that I expected perfect technique in all movements. Now that was fun… for me! Some of the riders excelled in that environment, some didn’t due to the stress. But then again, motocross is a stressful sport.

Psychological stress will affect physical performance!

Then let’s change movements to reconstitute a new motor control program movement whilst under load mixed in with CRD and Metabolic Load whilst under stress in the gym and constitute exactly what a motocross race feels like and you will learn adaptation in the gym in relation to on the track in a race.

With all the above components of exercise relating to position now comes down to the individual and who can pick up this skill the fastest to improve performance.

So one of the things that happen when I see training now is a component of exercise. Let’s look at an athlete who looks good under a really heavy load (LOAD) but start to break down when they’re tired (CARDIO RESPIRATORY DEMAND), when they have to do more than one (METABOLIC CONDITIONING) at the end of a long day (STRESS) and do you have richness.

What I look for is an athlete who can pick up the skill the fastest. Whose skill maintains robust during the course of the session. This is when I see athletes who are not strong enough or fit enough start failing to maintain position under demands. My goal is to expose or become aware of most of the training I’m doing is challenging these demands.

This is what Motocross is all about! There’s no other sport like it!

If we go back to the very start of the article you will see why people are failing on the track and in the gym. People are not executing the first and what should be the simplest movement. Load!

Learn to perform the technique perfect first under load before you go and try any of the other demands on the body to effectively increase your performance on the bike.

Comment 1

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    November 15, 2016

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