Basic exercises to improve bike fitness

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1/13/2021 2:51 PM

After many years of riding and never really training much, just having youth and general fitness on my side to get me through, I'm now 38 and age has finally caught up with me. It's about time I start helping my body prepare for a day's riding or racing at the weekend!

What are the best basic exercises to improve cardio, core strength, and improve recovery?

I'm in good shape, 6ft 4 and 175lb with almost zero fat, but I'm puffing like crazy after 3 laps and my body hurts for days after riding unsure

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UK Vet rider - 2020 KX450

1/13/2021 2:53 PM
Edited Date/Time: 1/13/2021 2:53 PM

At your (and my) age, yoga

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Make sure you downvote!

1/13/2021 2:54 PM

Ride more

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1/13/2021 2:58 PM

1. Cardio. Do at least 3 - 30+ minutes sessions of cardio (running, biking,rowing, etc) with your heartrate elevated around 70-80% of max

2. strength training - do 3-4 sessions of strength training. does need to be brutal or heavy. body weight is fine. pushups, crunches, planks, pull-ups, etc.

3. stretching - can be static or more active like yoga but stretch.

biggest thing is consistency. more so then killing any one workout.

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human/kind ... be both

1/13/2021 3:09 PM

Kevin852 is pretty spot on. Rowing machine and Ski Urg is great for getting your arms used to pumping blood and functioning. Mainly just riding the longer motos each time you ride helps the most. Try doing a 15-30 min moto every time you ride at whatever pace you can maintain and you'll start to notice how you can wick it up and push harder the longer you do that. It'll be tough at first, but you'll start to feel much better each time.

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1/13/2021 3:13 PM
Edited Date/Time: 1/13/2021 3:21 PM

The best way to get fitter for riding motocross...is by riding motocross! You can be super fit in other ways and it sure does help but you still need bike time to get "bike fit".

However, there is plenty you can do to supplement your riding and overall general fitness. I have been big into running in the past but I don't believe it to be the best cardio exercise for motocross due to the high-impact nature of the activity. If you don't have any knee problems and want a quick workout in 20-30 minutes then it's still good though.

I am a believer that motocross is enough high-impact activity for your joints/body, so why do more during the week when you can do low-impact exercise such as cycling, rowing, swimming or elliptical? I love cycling - MTB, road, turbo trainer, I do and love it all. Get yourself a heart rate monitor if you can and firstly find your maximum heart rate then calculate your zones (usually 1-6) based off this. There are plenty of articles online just a Google search away. I often ride in zone 2 which is 60-70% of your max HR, for an hour (barely feels like you're working out) and this builds a great base. It almost feels like cheating because you don't need to enter beast mode every workout to get fit! Up the pace if you only have a short time to workout with a 10 min warmup, 20 minutes of high-intensity intervals then 10 min cooldown. I prefer this style of workout during the season and longer base rides during the off-season. Doing HIIT year round will demotivate you for sure. Cycling builds similar muscle groups in your legs to motocross, and the great benefit over running is that you can do it for much longer as your body won't fail you as quickly due to it's low-impact nature.

Recovery rides are zone 1 - just 30 minutes of very light spinning to get the flood flowing and aid recovery. These are almost impossible to do running, but you could do them on other low-impact machines such as the rower, elliptical or an easy swim. In fact you can even promote recovery with a 20 minute walk around the block.

If cycling isn't your thing, rowing would be as good (if not even better) for getting in shape for motocross. Build strong legs, core and upper body all in one exercise? Tick. Work your body and lungs in a way very similar to motocross? Tick. (A killer row feels like I've just ridden the MX bike). I prefer cycling but I personally think rowing is the ticket.

To improve core strength and full-body strength in general you have various options. In the off-season I do a lot of heavier full-body workouts where I aim for 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps to improve muscle size and strength. I generally use dumbbells for these although a barbell is very useful too. During the season I switch to more circuit-style high rep, low weight workouts. I enjoy using kettlebells for these and following the "Kettlebell" app which consist of 30 secs exercising followed by 10 sec rest. It can be brutal but it's also over in as little as 15 minutes. Look into bodyweight exercises also, and don't believe the myth of "if you lift big you'll get arm pump". It's good to have a bit of muscle to protect your bones in the event of a crash!

Biggest thing is diet though. Plenty of protein, veg and monitor the carbs unless you're working out later that day. Drink 2L of water and try to keep the intake as clean as possible!

If you want a couple of strength training workouts just send me a PM and I'll let you know what I do specifically.

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1/13/2021 3:29 PM

Peloton
Concept 2 rowing machine
Photo

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1/13/2021 3:58 PM

I do Squash for Cardio (Squash is one of the most hardest games you can play, chasing the fucking small black ball lol but i am a pretty handy player), and some boxing from time to time (if i am pissed off about something, then boxing does it for me)

I do crossfit bootcamps for strength

Both work for me....

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Current rides: 2020 CRF450RWE and 2019 TC300
Occasional ride for VMX: 1985 CR500RF
Adventure/Road bike: CRF1000L

1/13/2021 4:14 PM

Zone 1/2 heart rate training for 1-2 hours (or longer). These heart rate zones are the only way to create more capillary beds which provide the transfer of blood from arteries to veins allowing more blood to become oxygenated at a faster rate. A plant based diet so your blood vessels can dilate properly increasing blood flow further. Thank me later.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6356661/

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1/13/2021 4:17 PM

Concept 2 for sure, row at least 20 minutes a day. I do 40-60 minutes atleast 3 times a week. No arm pump issues at all since i have started this program. Going to add a ski erg at some point also, cant hurt.

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1/13/2021 4:42 PM

Nike training app is free. Do all the “breakthrough” workouts.

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1/13/2021 4:48 PM
Edited Date/Time: 1/13/2021 4:50 PM

I'm in the same boat...38, family, career and found its super important to find some time to train otherwise riding gets tough!

I really like this guy's channel where he has a lot of moto and mountain bike specific workouts. He has a moto specific routine https://fit4racing.com/the-zone/mx-capacity-workout/ If you can do that, you'll be fine on the track smile

https://fit4racing.com/the-zone-mountain-bike-training-tips/

Here's another moto circuit:
https://fit4racing.com/the-zone/motocross-fitness/

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1/13/2021 4:49 PM
Edited Date/Time: 1/13/2021 4:51 PM

It sounds like your looking for one or two basic exercises to hit the whole body, simple, burpees and squats.

Three sets of squats and 3 sets of ten burpees to start will make a huge difference in your overall body strength in 4 weeks. Slowly growing burpee count as you go.

20-30 minutes a day and you’ll be a new man.

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1/13/2021 4:54 PM

racerx217 wrote:

Concept 2 for sure, row at least 20 minutes a day. I do 40-60 minutes atleast 3 times a week. No arm pump issues at all since ...more

what is so special about the rowing machines that help with riding compared to other exercising? Thanks.

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1/13/2021 4:59 PM

UpTiTe wrote:

It sounds like your looking for one or two basic exercises to hit the whole body, simple, burpees and squats.

Three sets of ...more

I agree with this.

Also, 100 push ups every other day builds your upper body and core strength over time and is good for defending off “Dad bod”. Simple and easy, just do sets of 10 if you have to throughout the day.

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1/13/2021 5:01 PM
Edited Date/Time: 1/13/2021 5:05 PM

racerx217 wrote:

Concept 2 for sure, row at least 20 minutes a day. I do 40-60 minutes atleast 3 times a week. No arm pump issues at all since ...more

This. I live in a part of the country where I can’t ride in the winter. If I stay on top of my rowing, I feel like I haven’t missed a beat when I start riding again in the spring. The rower just seems to use almost all of the same muscles you use when racing motocross. If you have limited time, this hits all the marks. It is probably my least favorite form of exercise because it is such a workout. The way the Concept 2 keeps time, by showing you your estimated finish time for the distance you selected, it keeps you racing yourself to get faster every time.

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1/13/2021 5:30 PM

Every sport/activity uses different muscles and or muscles in a different way. Think of what motions your body does while riding and mimic those movements. I keep it simple and vary my routine. I also do not race. I trail ride ( the fun "semi hard" stuff) the high desert usually multiple time a week. At age 62 with a previous lower back issue, I stretch every day (ok 6 days a week), push ups, variety of shoulder lifts, bicep curls and forearm curls with overhead lifts (as a single movement). The only two machines I've liked are rowing machines ( similar movements to riding) and the versa climber, a few years ago when rock climbing was my focus. The versa climber absolutely kicked my ass like no other machine. But it mimicked climbing movements. For me varying the routine a bit keeps it a little more interesting. Consistency is the key. Oh yeah, ride as much as possible!!

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1/13/2021 5:39 PM
Edited Date/Time: 1/13/2021 6:34 PM

Super easy Bro. Heavy bench press, superset with bicep curls, finished off with 315LB front squats. Done Bro.

Don't worry about thanking me.

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United States of America

1/13/2021 5:50 PM
Edited Date/Time: 1/13/2021 5:53 PM

racerx217 wrote:

Concept 2 for sure, row at least 20 minutes a day. I do 40-60 minutes atleast 3 times a week. No arm pump issues at all since ...more

kpiper wrote:

what is so special about the rowing machines that help with riding compared to other exercising? Thanks.

You are using very mx specific muscles. It also works both upper body and lower body muscles. You go through a pretty big range of motion so you stay somewhat limber. It uses your hands more than most other steady exercise. You could use an airdyne and get similar results but you don’t have the same range of motion.

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1/13/2021 5:55 PM

UpTiTe wrote:

It sounds like your looking for one or two basic exercises to hit the whole body, simple, burpees and squats.

Three sets of ...more

LungButter wrote:

I agree with this.

Also, 100 push ups every other day builds your upper body and core strength over time and is good for ...more

All of this and ride more. For now don’t pull of if you are only winded, just back it down and continue to make laps. Pick the sections of the track you like most and sprint those then rest the rest. Do this until your arms are tired or you feel you have made a good moto and need a rest.

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1/13/2021 5:58 PM

Run, run, run, run and then run some more.
Back in my prime I found this to be very gest way for me and I only ran about 5 miles per day 7 days a week.

Paw Paw

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1/13/2021 6:47 PM

UpTiTe wrote:

It sounds like your looking for one or two basic exercises to hit the whole body, simple, burpees and squats.

Three sets of ...more

LungButter wrote:

I agree with this.

Also, 100 push ups every other day builds your upper body and core strength over time and is good for ...more

brocster wrote:

All of this and ride more. For now don’t pull of if you are only winded, just back it down and continue to make laps. Pick the ...more

Agreed. I just started to get back into riding again. Riding about 2 times a week and noticing my stamina going way up.

Just ride until you can’t feel your hands or move your fingers lol. That’s what I do; when finally I have to pull off the track for a minute or 2 before finishing the 15-20 min moto grin

I’m noticing I’m not getting arm pump as quickly and my body is less sore after each time I ride. If I only ride once that week then I make sure to hit the gym twice that week hitting legs pretty hard and then shoulders/back/chest cool

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1/13/2021 7:29 PM

UpTiTe wrote:

It sounds like your looking for one or two basic exercises to hit the whole body, simple, burpees and squats.

Three sets of ...more

I have a love/hate relationship with Burpees, I love the rewards you get by doing a lot of them (done correctly) but hate doing them lol

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Current rides: 2020 CRF450RWE and 2019 TC300
Occasional ride for VMX: 1985 CR500RF
Adventure/Road bike: CRF1000L

1/13/2021 10:06 PM

kiwifan wrote:

I have a love/hate relationship with Burpees, I love the rewards you get by doing a lot of them (done correctly) but hate ...more

Man, no kidding!!

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1/13/2021 10:21 PM

Nate_Z wrote:

I'm in the same boat...38, family, career and found its super important to find some time to train otherwise riding gets ...more

I've found his YouTube page to be very useful too. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCm4DUAs5Woj9c8LBzJVwWuw

A more recent find for me was Jacob Pennisi. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHXRUZJMQrf_76romS-Enew

Besides what has already been mentioned I get in two days a week of boxing. Either heavy bag or double-end ball. I'm in my 40s and boxing has been incredibly helpful for keeping me fit for the weekend.

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1/14/2021 4:03 AM

If you have a place to ride I would definitely look into a mountain bike. For me it became almost as fun as dirtbikes and it was a lot cheaper and way more convenient. I took my kid to the mountain bike trails yesterday for an hour or so and we were just playing around on one small trail. My watch said I burned 600 calories. MT bikes also just about directly transfer over to dirtbikes, body position, muscles used and it helps with my reaction as well since you use your reaction and eyesight to navigate the trees or trail. I work out ina gym when I have to but I’d much rather be outside, some people will say “but we can’t ride when it’s cold”. I came from northern New England and we would ride all year round. Obviously if there is a bunch of snow and ice it’s a bit harder but if it’s just cold use the 20° rule and you’ll be fine. A lot of people ride fat bikes in the snow so there really were no excuses up there.

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1/14/2021 5:07 AM

Whatever fitness plan you follow, consistency is going to be key. At 38, most of the guys I still race against (AA) are half my age. I don't have the outright speed that some of them have but my fitness is much better, especially deep into a 3+hr offroad race. I can generally come off the couch and do well.

I've traded 'some' muscle endurance for outright strength over the last year which had definitely seen a slight decrease in overall performance in the bike (mostly because I lift more then a ride).

Strict gym routines are excellent but if you are still riding and trying to get better at riding, IMO limit them to a day or two a week. As someone mentioned, Yoga is a great training tool.

Leading a healthy lifestyle is going to benefit you the most. Limit smoking and alcohol, eat less processed food and keep your protein intake high to maintain muscle size and strength.

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1/14/2021 5:25 AM

I like to kick my own ass on a stair climber, then a rower, and I mountain bike as much as I can... Then I show up at the track and still get tired too quick until I loosen up and get my flow back on the bike. I think leg strength and leg endurance are key. Standing up on the bike as much as possible keeps my lower back from objecting to the impact tired me puts it through from sitting too much.

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1/14/2021 5:52 AM

Fast approaching 69 here, I have a Concept, Spin bike, kettle and dumb bells, lots of stretching. mtn bike, road bike.....I ride a lot of anything anytime. Always can be more......Eat healthy and get plenty of sleep plus a positive attitude. Looking forward to riding in my 70's. Bought a shifter kart last summer and there is workout!!

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Germany 1975 250 CZ Centerport, laydown shocks, mikuni with reed valve, Marzocchi forks with me as the motopilot

1/14/2021 6:00 AM

There are hundreds of movements that can be done at home to improve overall performance.
As mentioned by a couple people, HR training in zone 1 is important and training in zone 2 will come as zone 1 improves.
A must and I mean must, is to warm up for 5 mins or so before getting on the bike. Stretch, jumping jacks, running in place, mountain climbers to name a few.
The exercises that can be done with no weight and still have a significant impact, once again, monitor your heart rate
Jumping Jacks, Jump rope, burpee, planks, forward and reverse lunges, squats, jump squats, single leg squats (advance movement if not using a suspension rope to balance), wall sit (1 minute intervals), push ups, wall crawls (plank position, feet against wall, then start walking up wall with your feet and following with our hands)-done properly, your shoulders will burn), Box Jumps-use anything that you can jump on with out breaking it, stack things up. 24 inch height is a good number for beginners.

Start out slow, form is key ingredient, in time you can pick 3 and AMRAP (As Many Reps As Possible) 20 minutes time limit. 10 reps for each exercise, harder exercise you can lower to 5 reps.(burpees for example)

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