Riding Safer and Faster with Plyometrics

Fast and powerful reflexes are needed in motocross.  If you are committed to a set of high speed whoops and you feel your rear tire kick out, you need to muscle that bike back under you quickly.  This is where plyometrics come in.  What is plyometrics?  Plyometrics is a form of training that stretches your muscles out, and then contracts them quickly for more power.  It involves a series of drills that include hopping, jumps and bouncing.  This results in stronger and quicker movement, which is perfect for race situations.

Hopping over these hurdles is a great plyometric exercise.  You will quickly find out, it's not easy. The main goal of plyometrics is to achieve maximum force in the shortest time possible.  When you dip down for a squat and explode up into a leap, you stretch your muscle out to get the most movement and you use all of the muscle.  From stretch to full contraction, there are 3 phases.  The first stage is the pre-stretch.  For example, when you squat, you stretch the hamstrings and store elastic energy for the explosion.   The next stage is the time between the stretch and the contraction.  The shorter this phase is, the more powerful the actual contraction will be.  Finally, the contraction completes the cycle. 

This quick muscle contraction leads to a number of things.  First, when you are constantly forcing the muscle to contract quickly, you will get more power out of the muscle.  Combing plyometrics and your strength training program will benefit both areas of training faster than trying to concentrate on one at time.  Second, your reaction time will begin to decrease because your neurological system is being worked to the max during your training session.  When your muscles are needed to contract multiple times quickly, the brain sends a number of unorganized messages to your muscle to contract.  When training with plyometrics, you will eventually send one efficient, powerful message to your muscles.  Also, your agility is greatly improved from all of the jumping and footwork involved.  And you can’t forget the cardio.  Plyometrics may seem easy, but you WILL sweat.  If you push yourself hard, you will get a great cardio workout; usually the workouts are under an hour. 

There are a lot of different training techniques used for motocross.  This is one that will help you in so many areas training.  Explosive reactions and more agility can result less time on the ground and more time riding.  This could be the difference between a trip to the hospital and a trip to the podium.  Keep a look out for some training programs for plyometrics.

Posted on Aug 17 2009, under Training | No Comments »

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