Apr 13 2010

High Intensity Circuit Training

At this point in the season, finding that right combo of strength training and cardio training can be tricky.  Keep in mind that strength training should be taking a back seat and some kind of interval training should be your main source of cardio.  However, you can combine both weights and cardio in order to hit both spectrums at once; and still hit them effectively.  The best way to achieve this is to do circuit training.

In order to keep your heart rate up and the blood flowing, performing 15 – 20 reps will ensure that you are using the muscle till complete failure.  You can do 3 to 5 lifting exercises followed by a brief stint of intervals.  For the intervals, it does not have to be more than 5 minutes.  You can do 1 minute low intensity and 1 high intensity or 30 seconds low and 30 seconds high.

Here’s a sample workout to try:

Push Ups

Dead Lift

Pull Ups

5 minutes of interval training followed by 90 seconds rest

Clean and Press


Hanging Leg Raises

5 minutes of interval training followed by 90 seconds rest

Pull Ups


Russian Twists

5 minutes of interval training followed by 90 seconds rest

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Apr 09 2010

Training Issues: Back Pain

Training hard makes you better.  Plain and simple.  Training smart also works as well.  The two go hand and hand to make the saying, “No pain no gain” a little easier to deal with.  However, injuries do occur from training and it can be frustrating.  This just happened recently to me and my back is making me pay for lifting the wrong way.  Although, I should have known better, it is an opportunity for me to look at back injuries.  Stephan Roncada and most recently, Davi Millsaps and Josh Hill, have all had back pain to deal with.  It can make the easiest tasks a tough challenge.

Most of the time, when you have back pain, it is due to some distortion of the spine.  It is divided up into the three sections: cervical, thoracic and lumbar.  Cervical vertebra make up your neck, thoracic is your mid back and lumbar is your lower back.  The vertebrae are formed so they stack on top of one another and is held together by muscle fibers and ligaments.  When either the muscles or ligaments are stretched, torn and ruptured, it produces the distortion of the spine.  In addition, when the vertebrae move, this is referred to as a slipped disk.  This causes the nerves in the spine to get pinched or aggravated.

When performing strength training exercises like dead lifts, bench press or barbell rows, it is important to keep your back straight.  When you arch your back, the spine is compressing itself as it curves.  As it curves, the force strains the muscles and pinches the nerves in your back.  That’s why they say to lift with your legs, not your back.

The hardest thing for me, or any younger person, is to rest.  Any kind of inflammation will subside and give your back a chance to recover.  It is like recovering from any kind of hard training; your body needs to repair and rebuild itself.  Once most of the pain is gone, you can begin to do some light stretching.  The traditional toe touches are great from lower back injuries.  The hamstrings can get tight and pull on the lower back muscles, causing a stiff and painful back.  Hip twists help tremendously, allowing the spine to slowly warm up and get your back aligned.  Remember, give it some time and your body will eventually fix the problem.  Do some light stretching and you should be good in a few days.

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Apr 07 2010

Rough Jump Faces

For the most part, a rough track doesn’t bother me.  In fact, it makes riding better because it challenges you at a higher level.  Sure, that sounds pretty corny, but it is true.  As you ride more and more on rough tracks, you start to get into a flow that just keeps you going.  However, the only downside, for me anyway, is rough jump faces.  Give me fast rollers, destroyed turns and braking bumps, but chewed up jumps make my skin crawl.  However, just like the rest of the track, if you keep the fundamentals in mind, you should be fine.

First of all, body position is pretty important.  Normally, I like to keep a pretty neutral position over the seat.  The attack position is a sure way to get over an obstacle cleanly and jump faces are no different.  As the track gets rougher and rougher, you need to put more emphasis on squeezing the bike with your legs.  You are probably pretty sick of hearing that, but it helps a ton.  If you hit something that throws your tire out, you will be in more control of the bike’s rear end.

Another aspect is power.  When the track is smooth, you can get away with letting off on the face of a jump.  But, when that same face gets chewed up, letting off the gas is bad.  When there is no drive from the rear wheel, the bike has a tendency (especially four strokes) to throw all the weight forward.  If you hit a kicker or a rock, you could be on the ground before you know what happened.  Keeping the bike in the right gear helps tremendously as well.  I always like to hit rough faces with a smooth, hearty dose of throttle.  Cracking the gas open just spins the rear wheel and chews up the face even more.  However, when you put the power to the ground effectively and tract through everything, you prevent the rear wheel from any kind of hopping or something going wrong.

Trusting your ability and remembering the fundamentals are the best ways to get through anything.  As with most rough tracks, hitting the sides or any line other than the main helps keep you away from the hole, bumps and kickers.  Keeping the power to the ground is important takes a little bit to get used to, especially in wet conditions.  But like I said, keep yourself in the attack position and squeezing the bike will keep you on two wheels and ahead of everyone else.

Apr 02 2010

Heart of Racing

Since I don’t have Speed Channel at my apartment, I am forced to read about the race results online and catch up in “racing marathon” when I get to my parents house.  I am now caught up all the way to Jacksonville and the past few weeks have just been insane!  The two races that really caught my eye were a) Blake Baggett’s first win and b) Villopoto’s win.  Now they weren’t “stick out” races because the two won, it’s because they show ridiculous amounts of resilience.

First let’s start off with Baggett’s race.  The kid came out in the heat, had some bad luck and had to go to the LCQ.  From there, he lucked out and got a restart with a good jump.  He dodged a bullet again, avoiding a near wreck in a rhythm section; eventually grabbing the last qualifying position.  The planets aligned just in time for the main and the rookie took his first win.  Now, to go from the last qualifying position in the LCQ to winning the whole thing took amazing mental toughness.  Granted, he did get through the first turn mayhem pretty cleanly, he still rode like it was his last race regardless of how he got there.  He went out did what he had to do and blocked out the previous heat and LCQ.

Now for Villopoto.  He got hurt in the first practice and sat out the second.  He got through the heat and won the main.  Now, if I had torn something and chipped a bone in my foot, I would be done for the night.  However, Villopoto is a champion and did more than salvage the night.  To ride 20 laps under that amount of pain is something that most people should never experience, but because of his mental toughness, he prevailed with much needed points.

Both riders could have easily said to themselves, “my night is over.”  But they didn’t.  To know and consciously think that anything could happen can be an underdog’s best weapon.  Baggett is a rookie that looked like he wasn’t even going to get in the main.  And Villopoto could have easily called it quits for the night, but both knew that anything could happen and they have a chance to win.  And that is the main reason we race, anything can happen.

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