Do You Even Lift, Bro?

The age-old question has been asked time and time again: What’s the best way to train for racing? Repeatedly, I often see athletes being mislead into thinking that “cardio” is the ONLY way to train for the sport.  And yes, cardiovascular conditioning is most definitely important in being able to endure the length of races, but it is only one aspect of a complete strength and conditioning program. By only doing cardio you only engage in one component: cardiovascular endurance (the efficiency of the heart, lungs, and blood vessels to pump to muscles during physical activity). Still missing from the puzzle is muscle endurance and muscle strength (how long your muscles can hold a contraction in any given position and how strong will your muscles be). Only performing cardio weakens your body’s ability for strength and power. Have you ever been in a race and gotten arm pump? How about flipping your machine during a wreck and not being able to flip it back over? What about having your legs hurt so bad from having to sit, stand, sit, stand repeatedly on your machine? What about “pumping” on your machine? Or having your low back ache from hovering? Don’t neglect yourself from your potential to be great by thinking that being on a bicycle for 6 hours a day will get you race ready. I’ve listed some common areas of the body that the Pro’s(like GNCC’s ATV XC1 Pro Adam McGill and GNCC’s 4x4 Pro Landon Wolfe) say strength training really helped with and some exercises that focus on muscular strength and muscular endurance improvements for that area.


Lower Body

The powerhouse of your body during races and the connection to your machine. With leg/hip/butt strength and power YOU are able to control your machine, not the other way around. They also help to shift, brake, stabilize during a lean, provide balance, help you stand with control, and aid in getting you out of a stuck situation.

Best Exercises:

Power cleans, Power snatches, Squat and squat variations, lunges and lunge variations, Deadlifts and deadlift variations


Upper Body

The requirements of pushing, pulling, steering and stabilizing are so very important.  All of which that come from your grip on the handlebars. In addition, having arm pump can victimize a great rider and be a real hit on the ego.

Best Exercises:

Power snatch, Power clean, bench press and variations, Pullups, pushups and variations, Row and row variations, and literally ANYEXERCISES that requires a grip on a barbell or dumbbell (external resistance).



Comprising of not only abdominals but low back as well. Your core is defined as the “wrapping” around the midsection from front to back. This is your foundation and center of mass and gives you the posture you need to maintain during a race. It also provides the ability to lean, balance ,brace, and deliver force.

Best Exercises:
All Olympic lifts as well as core specific: ab crunch and crunch variations, plank and plank variations, bridges and bridge variations, bent-over exercises(i.e bent-over rows)

Other great training formats include: cycling and rowing (especially with Heart Rate Interval Training). Ultimately, creating a circuit style programming or interval training helps to build endurance for GNCC's (or any xc racing/harescramble series) and motocross.

For a more detailed workout, invest in yourself and purchase a 1 month training program with me. The program and workouts are catered specifically to powersport athletes and utilizes sport-specific exercises backed by research. Let me do the format and scheduling for you; all you have to do is SHOW UP!

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