Archive for August, 2009:
Most of the movement you make with your upper body requires some assistance from your back muscles. The back promotes good form like keeping your elbows up and not slouching. It can be an easy muscle to work if you know how. Once you have worked on your back, your form and riding will improve drastically.
Whenever you hit your back muscles, you have to really concentrate. If you aren’t careful, you will work more of your shoulders and arms, rather than your back. The best way to get a moto ready back are pull ups and chin ups…and off course, some good ole’ fashion iron pumping.
Wide Grip: Works the outside of the back and helps develop the whole shoulder girdle. This can help prevent some shoulder injuries as well.
Medium Grip pull ups: Hits more of the inside of the back. This is a good exercise for motocross because your hands should be positioned about handle bar width. Palms should be facing away from you.
Close Grip pull ups: Gets the latissimus dorsi worked out. This comes in handy when you are standing up in turns. Your lats do most of the work for the upper body in this situation.
Close Grip chin up: Palms are facing away from you. This is a variation of the one above, except the middle of the back is hit a bit more.
Bent Over Rows: Hits the upper back and a little bit of the lower back. Make sure your feet are about shoulder width apart and your back is straight. This exercise was made for motocross.
I love doing pull ups and chin ups because they hit one part of the back hard, but still work on the rest of the back a little. They add overall strength and add a little variety to the mundane workout. Also, the bent over rows are perfect for motocross. If you are feeling crazy, you could get an old pair of handle bars and tie some weight to it. This will make things a lot easier when the track gets rough and you will be able to keep your form good. These are just a few things to do for your back, as these will get you started and a feel for training your back muscles.
I know I talk a lot about “remembering the basics.” I have implied that everyone knows the proper form to keep at all times. So I thought I would go over a few of the things to remember when you are riding. These go for any type of riding and they are the foundation to go fast. Learn these first, then go fast or you’ll be spending more time with an EMT than your bike.
Always, always keep your head up. You want to be looking at the next obstacle so you can choose lines, spot kickers or see downed riders. This is especially useful in rutted up situations. If you are looking down at your fender, you’re going to get cross rutted, let off the gas and lose momentum. You need to look at the end of the rut and be smooth with the throttle.
Smooth is always better
A smooth throttle application is always better than just stabbing the gas. You get more traction, which equals more drive and you don’t get yourself out of rhythm when the power hits abruptly. You can get on the gas harder in softer soil, but for the most part, keep your speed up so you don’t have to kill your clutch.
Keep your elbows up
This is a big thing with beginners. Keeping your elbows up helps you control the bike to prevent head shake, for instance. Also, in turns it provides more traction on the front wheel. For example, if you drop your elbow when exiting a turn, you don’t have that control needed to keep your line and you will drift out…possibly into a slow line.
Grip with your legs
This goes along with your elbows up. By gripping with your legs, you keep the bike from swapping out and getting out from under you. This is probably the biggest thing to remember. Your leg muscles are larger than your upper body muscles, so they can take more stress. Therefore, gripping with your legs allows your arms to last longer in the moto without pumping up.
These are the main techniques to remember. They are the foundation of any good rider. If you watch pros, they have good form in almost any picture. If you are having trouble with getting faster, try working on these. After a while you will make these techniques habits and it will just be part of your style.
It’s Friday. You might be done with training for the week and you are getting the bike prepped for tomorrow’s ride. After all the hard work you put in during the week, you’re ready to chill. You are starving and you want a lot of food. That sounds like me! What are you going to do? Order Chinese food or heat up some frozen dinner? If you are a normal human being (just kidding), you want pizza. I’m not talking about Dominos or Papa John’s; I’m talking about a homemade pizza that can actually be good for you.
Crust and Sauce
First things first, the crust needs to be whole wheat. The standard flour crust that the big pizza chains use is not good. I don’t mean to sound like a middle aged woman going through menopause, but the flour crust is just a bunch of empty carbs. If you think that you can “carb load” for tomorrow’s ride, think again. Whole wheat provides more fiber, which will keep you fuller, longer and it is packed with antioxidants. Make sure you use plenty of tomato sauce. If you can make your own sauce, that would be even better. Tomatoes are full of lycopene, which is another great antioxidant. Even the canned sauce is good for you.
Most people love pepperoni, but it is terrible for you. The massive amounts of grease can lead to heart disease, clogged arteries and can have you feeling like crap. If you like meat on your pizza, your best bet is chicken or lean beef, preferably chicken. It is a lean meat loaded with lean proteins and it tastes great with just about anything. Also, vegetables are a must! The more the merrier. Bell peppers, onions, spinach, and anything else green goes great. Dice them up and throw them on there to add some color and nutritional benefit. As far as cheese, go low fat. Mozzarella has a high amount of saturated fats and pizza requires a lot of cheese. So, go light on the cheese.
If you are smart about the preparation of your pizza, it can be a very good choice, instead of “Papa” John making it for you. You just have to be careful with the crust, cheese and toppings. If you like to dip pizza in ranch; go easy, ranch can turn this good meal into a bad one. If you make enough, you can even have some for the track!
Okay, okay. This is somewhat contradictory of what I say most of the time, but running can be a very effective way to get your cardio in. Throw in some stairs and you have a great workout. I normally don’t like to run, just because it is boring and redundant. However, stairs can make things a little interesting because it gives you a visual goal you can reach. It also provides interval training as well.
Since USF has a bunch of parking garages, I usually wait until everyone is done with class and then park at a floor I want to run to. For example, if I’m feeling good, I will park on the 6th floor. I will stretch for a few minutes. Once I’m stretched, I jog down the inclines to get warmed up. When I reach the bottom, I chill for a minute. Finally I jog a lap around the first floor, and then sprint up the ramp to the next floor. I repeat this process until I reach the 6th floor.
The total distance to the 6th floor is a little over a mile, so it’s a good workout. However, I’m not done yet. I still have the stairs! This is where the men are separated from the boys. After I get some water at my truck, I’ll go back down to the first floor and recover for a minute. Then, I start the torture. It’s not really torture, but it will burn. On the first 8 flights of stairs, I hit every step. This will hit your quads and calf muscles hard. You have to set a goal and be committed to it. If you can only do 4 flights of stairs, then stick with that until you feel you can step it up to 5.
The second time around, I skip a step. This works the hamstrings more and the calf muscles a little less. Either way, it burns. After every time I go up the stairs, I walk down for my cool down, wait for 1 minute, and then do it again. If you can’t find a tall set of stairs, run for a longer set of time with less rest between each ascent.
This is interval training at its best. You have high intensity with the sprints up the ramps and stairs and low intensity bouts with the jogging and rest. Remember that you only need to do this about 3 times week, no more. If you are trying to lose weight, this will burn fat quick! Just remember to warm up and stretch before and after this; you will feel this in the morning. And, more importantly, don’t do a leg work out within 24 hours of this. It is like doing squats 2 days in a row.
Check out Double Zero Productions. They are devoted to Florida Motocross. So if you ride in Florida or near it, you’ll want to check it out for sure.
After seeing pictures from Budds Creek, I thought it would be a perfect time to give out some mud riding tips. I have never been in a pro national where the ruts are swallowing bikes and the water is coming up to the engine cases, but I have raced in the mud. In Florida, it can rain a lot in the summer. The soil is soft enough as it is and it just turns into slop. Riding in the mud is not as bad as you might think; you don’t have to change your whole riding style for the wet stuff. If you remember the fundamentals of racing, you will be fine.
First of all, line selection is big. If you are using the main line, stop. This rut is going to get trenched out deep every lap. Stick to the sides of the track where weird lines aren’t taken that much so you don’t get stuck in the deep stuff. As any with any corner, keep your legs up; don’t drag them. You need as much momentum driving you through the slop and dragging your boot adds resistance. If there is water accumulating on the track, find the shallowest puddle. If you don’t believe me, just watch the 2008 Daytona Supercross.
Look ahead, far ahead. This ties in with line selection; if you look at where you are going, you are less likely to make mistakes and get cross-rutted. This is very important on jump faces. The softer soil and load from the suspension will eat the faces of jumps quick. Speaking of jumps, try your best to hit them. Any time you are out of the mud, the better. It gives you and your bike a break from the extra load. Plus, it helps you maintain momentum.
As I said before, don’t change your riding style. What I mean by this, is don’t bomb into a turn, lock your brakes up, pivot and dump the clutch. This is wrong in almost any turn. Arc through it with speed and drive because mud is like sand; let off the gas and you are going to get sucked down like you are braking.
Most importantly, have fun! If you look forward to getting drenched in mud and just having a blast on your bike, you won’t be as miserable and you will probably finish better. This is what makes our sport so awesome! If you look forward to wet weather, you will be more optimistic and you won’t fight everything, you’ll just flow. And that’s crucial to successful mud riding…flow.
Ricky Carmichael said it best, “Don’t complain about the track conditions and bitch and moan…everyone has to ride the same track.”