A few words from the fringes of fitness

Jun 15, 2010

The Concept2 Indoor Rower has recently seen success amongst athletes in motocross and off-road racing. I am lucky to be able to work with these athletes that I feel deserve a lot of respect but sometimes can be misunderstood.  I tend to gravitate towards sports where true fitness means more than just an increase in physical well-being and where lack of fitness has definite consequences.

The big misconception about racing dirt bikes is that the motor does all of the work. In fact, it has been reported that motocross racers have some of the highest VO2 max scores recorded in sport today. It is not uncommon for off-road racers to have heart rates of 160-180 bpm (beats per minute) for 2-3 hours. Riders tend to have a very high strength-to-weight ratio because any extra weight on the rider or the bike means a need for more horsepower.

WORCS off-road rider Destry Abbot

Road cycling has been a staple of training for years but it is quickly being replaced with the indoor rower because of the need for muscular endurance in the upper body. Also, the sport has become so competitive that the riders have less time to train because of all the time testing on the track. Rowing on the erg solves this time dilemma with efficiency of movement.

The best way to explain the negative consequence of poor fitness I mentioned earlier:  picture yourself wrestling a 215-pound dirt bike jumping 30-40 feet into the air at super high heart rates and having the mental clarity and skill to land the bike in a rut that is six inches wide. That would be hard enough to do once, but now do it for 35+ minutes!

Greg with his nephew, Alex (age 12) racing in the family sport

I am sure all of us know the “foggy” feeling of oxygen dept and fatigue, but what if making a wrong decision resulted in bodily harm or worse. If you are a runner and have a bad race you lose, but you can walk back to the car.  If you are a soccer player and run out of steam on the pitch, the coach puts someone else in. No such luck in motocross or off-road racing. These riders know their nutrition and physical training have to be spot on at all times.

I am glad to work with these athletes, and hope others who watch races consider and respect these athletes’ physical demands. Love Sport!

Tags: Training

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