Building Endurance

by David Segal
CPFT., ACE., AFAA., PFIT.

Endurance results from both physical and mental conditioning. Not only must you be strong in your muscular body, you must also train your mind to drive yourself beyond your limits. We see these traits in champion athletes who are able to excel at a level that ordinary people find difficult to comprehend. To do this these athletes have worked for hours repeatedly working themselves to exhaustion and still coming back for more physical punishment.

To quote Rudyard Kipling, a British poet and author from his poem ‘IF’. “If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew to serve their turn long after you are done…”

Let’s look at how to get strong physically: Whether you are riding 5 days a week or just as a weekend warrior, after a while fatigue sets in. That’s when you are forced to dig deep into your reserves of energy. Your entire body feels useless, your arms feel like lead and your inner thighs can barely hold you on your bike.

You are probably thinking… So what are some of the ways I can build endurance so it can be applied to motocross?

There are some exercises you can do that will strengthen you mind and body. These are called ‘Fifties’. As in 50 repetitions!

A typical program might look like this:

  • 50 push ups to strengthen your pecs and triceps
  • 50 abdominal crunches – lying down, feet against a wall, then raise your upper body
  • 50 squats – stand with your back to a wall and just go up and down bending your knees
  • 50 bike push ups – with your bike on a stand sit on it, hold the handlebars and row yourself back and forth.
  • 50 inner thigh ‘strentheners’. Lay on your side both legs out straight lift the upper leg about two feet from the ground. Hold it there and now raise and lower the other leg to meet it. Repeat 50 times and roll over on to the other side and repeat.

With all these exercises you will have to drive yourself to complete the 50. Your heart will be pounding, your muscles will be crying out for you to stop. But if you will push yourself until completed you will build your endurance. And now you will have started to train your mind as you fight to overcome fatigue. When you come to your competition (or a day out at the track/trails), the onset of fatigue will be delayed and you will be a better rider forcing ‘your heart and nerve and sinew to serve their turn long after they are done’