Dirt Bike riding is much more fun when you are fit…
by David Segal
CPFT., ACE., AFAA., PFIT
This column places a lot of emphasis on being in good physical condition. As someone once said “fatigue makes cowards of us all”. Your off-road riding can be much more rewarding when your body is finely tuned to handle the extreme stresses of top-flight effort and performance.
Beginning a regular weight training and cardio program can take some effort. No matter what your age, weight training will fuel a lasting lifestyle and add years to your life and life to your years.
If you have only been riding and not focusing on the specifics of strength training or building your endurance then how do you get started? The simplest way is to join a gym and sign up with a personal trainer. Gym memberships can be expensive as the sales guys will try to sign you up for the longest period of time. However, the monthly dues will be lower the longer your contract runs. Sometimes the larger clubs have special deals on-line that are not available when you are face-to-face with the sales personnel.
Always read and understand the contract before you sign. They are almost impossible to cancel unless you die or move to a desert island. If you see a clause you do not like, tell the sales person that you will sign if the offending clause is removed.
A certified personal trainer can be a real help when getting started. Plan on paying anywhere from $35-$65 an hour depending on where you live. A good trainer will plan your exercise program for when you are at the gym and when you are exercising alone. He can also give you some guidelines on eating healthily along with ideas on eliminating some of the less desirable foods in you current eating habits.
It is important that you get weighed, have your body fat measured and have your body measurements recorded. In this way you will have a baseline to measure your improvements against as the weeks pass in your exercise program.
Discuss with the trainer why you have joined the gym and what goals you want to attain with his/her help. Be realistic. If you weigh 220 and you are 5 feet 6 inches tall, it is not realistic to get down to 165 in a month. Reckon on losing one to one-and-a-half pounds a week with a combination of exercise and sensible eating.
And that’s the expensive route.
If you have space in your house or garage and are handy with a hammer and saw, then for a minimal investment you can set up your own gym.
As a starter go to ‘craigslist.com’ or e-bay and look under the headings of exercise equipment or weightlifting equipment. You will need to find some dumbbells and a bench (which you can also build yourself). A good idea is to get a free tour of several of your local gyms to see the type of equipment they have and how some similar but less elaborate equipment will suffice for your home gym. While on craigslist look for exercise and weightlifting videos or if you do not want to spend the money on videos, check on your TV programming for a health channel and fitness channel. FIT TV is a nationwide channel on some cable systems. Call your provider and see if they have suggestions. For less than $200 you can get all the equipment you need.
The following is an exercise program to do twice a week. You will need a sturdy bench about 36 inches long and 15 -18 inches high and a thick carpet or mat.
We’ll call this the “Off-Road Circuit”.
Each exercise is done one after the other without a rest in-between.
A. 2 foot squat thrusts 20 repetitions (get down on hands and knees and thrust both legs out behind you then bring them into your chest – that’s one repetition and repeat 20 times)
B. Step on and off the bench 20 times
C. Extra wide arm push ups. 15 repetitions
D. Place a line on the ground – a piece of rope or three foot long skinny stick and hop with both feet together on each side of the marker. Hopping to each side counts as one time. Repeat 24 times.
E. Lying sit up crunches with knees bent feet flat on floor and hands at the side of head. Repeat 30 times
F. Step on and off bench as before
G. Lunges – take a long step forward. Front leg is bent at 90 degrees and rear knee is almost touching the ground. Do the same with the other leg. Repeat each leg 10 times.
H. Hop each side of the marker as before
I. Normal push-ups. Arms shoulder width apart. Repeat 20 times
J. Step on and off bench as before
K. Lying on floor, hands at side of head legs up in the air moving as if on a pedal bicycle and twist upper body side-to-side trying to touch knees of opposite leg with opposite arm. Repeat touching each with elbow 20 times.
M. Hop each side of the marker as before
N. Alternate leg squat thrusts – same as very first exercise but instead of two feet together, repeat with alternate legs. Repeat 15 times for each leg.
O. Step on and off bench as before
P. Narrow push-ups with hands no more than 6 inches apart. Repeat 15 times
Q. Hop each side of marker as before
R. Lying on back. Legs straight up in the air and reach forward with hands to alternate feet. Repeat 15 times to each foot
S. Step on and off bench as before.
And now you are finished. You’ve just done a strength training and cardio program. Well done!