How Do I Train My Legs for Motocross? - Risk Racing

December 30, 2021 5 min read

Riding a dirt bike may seem as simple as driving a motorcycle, but this off-road riding requires a lot of physical work.

If you are set to race in a motocross competition, you don’t simply work on your pace, control, and technique.

Of course, there’s also the added training for your body coordination and fitness that will ensure the quality of your performance. Naturally, this includes preparing your legs to withstand the intensity of the sport.   

Training your legs for motocross involves routine exercises, weightlifting, and other forms of fitness training that specifically target leg strength and endurance. While many exercises improve your body’s resistance to strenuous activities, not all can improve particular muscle functions involved in motocross.

So, if you’re aiming to have a holistic preparation for an upcoming motocross competition, here’s your chance to learn which exercises and physical training styles can help you win the gold.

Read on and find out.

Motocross exercises

Do You Have To Be Strong To Ride a Dirt Bike?

Yes, physical strength is necessary for riding a dirt bike. It requires a firm and consistent strength to operate a dirt bike.

Dirt bikes weigh more than 200 pounds making it almost impossible to be driven without a considerable amount of force.

Furthermore, developing adequate body strength for motocross is a great way to prevent injuries. Muscle strength and endurance will give you more power and allow you to have more control on the track or trails.

Nonetheless, you don’t necessarily have to go overboard with becoming strong for motocross. This means you don’t have to bulk up and be muscular. Instead, the strength you need concentrates on proper form and endurance.

Naturally, you will have to train leg muscles to pull it off with little to zero struggle, especially during a motocross race.

What Are the Best Exercises for Motocross?

When it comes to motocross training, calf and quad endurance and strength are not optional. In some degrees, they are mandatory. You will have to aim for a strong core and legs that can control the heavy machine.

While riding your dirt bike regularly can improve the physical requirement needed for motocross, it may not be enough to guarantee a high caliber of performance. These can be met with cardio, endurance, strength, and flexibility training.

Therefore, it’s always best to follow a strict routine or consistent training, which includes the following exercises.

1. Rowing

Once you hit the gym, don’t forget to check out the rowing machine.

Although it may seem like rowing is more of upper bodywork, it requires more force from the lower body. According to the American Fitness Professional Association, rowing is about 65 to 75% leg work.  

As a result, rowing improves muscular strength targeting the calves, glutes, and quadriceps.

motocross exercises

2. Running

Running is perhaps the easiest exercise you can perform simply because it doesn’t require any equipment.

You can simply set a time and find a good place to run on. Plus, you have the liberty to control your speed.

In the case of motocross leg training, running significantly improves lower-body muscles, particularly your calves and glutes.

On top of that, it stimulates your hamstrings and hip flexors when you speed up your pace. 

Motocross exercises  

3. Cycling

Cycling is the closest activity you can associate with dirt bike riding.

For one, they both require immense lower body strength, especially in traversing uneven terrain. Furthermore, it provides leg strength benefits without overstressing your muscles.

Nevertheless, having a regular cycling schedule can improve your calves, hamstrings, glutes, and quads.

Mountain Biking

4. Squats

Squats are a great way to strengthen your lower body tendons, ligaments, bone, and muscles.

You can include many variations of squats in your leg training for a motocross race, such as bodyweight squat, weighted squat, and plyometric squats.

You can start with the basic bodyweight squats that do not need any equipment. Mastering this form of training like wall squat, side squat, and prisoner squat can set the foundation for more elaborate leg work.

If you’re aiming for more resistance, you can move to weighted squats. With this training, you will be lifting or holding weights like a barbell, kettlebell, and dumbbells.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for more intense squat exercises, the plyometric squats are right up your alley. These squats require maximum force and speed. As a result, you’ll gain more power and resistance.  

Squats

5. Leg Press

Leg press machines focus on strengthening your leg quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, and glutes.

Basically, you will be pushing a weighted platform while on your back at a 45-degree angle. This exercise is endurance training that engages your glutes for stability. Moreover, your hamstrings are firmly shaped while your quadriceps and calves are strengthened.   

Training with a leg press machine is designed for holistic leg development and better balance acquisition.

6. Deadlift

Although it may seem as if deadlift is intended to improve upper body strength and form, several weighted pieces of training can increase the muscle mass of the legs.

For example, you can perform the Romanian deadlift or stiff leg deadlift to train your hamstrings. A variation of deadlift exercises can also strengthen your core as well as your glutes and quadriceps.

7. Lunges

Lunges are easy to execute, yet they are highly beneficial for the core strength of your legs. Likewise, they also tone your leg muscles giving them optimum shape for dirt bike riding.

When you regularly make lunges, you improve your gluteal muscles along with your hamstrings, calves, quadriceps, back muscles, and abdominal muscles.

What Muscles Are Used Most in Motocross?

Many people don’t actually know that motocross or dirt bike riding requires plenty of muscle work from the upper body to the lower body. This is because it’s a physically demanding sport and so strength is a strict requirement.

The Core muscles involved in motocross are the following:

  • Spinal erectors
  • Hip flexors
  • Rectus abdominus
  • Obliques

These muscles maintain posture and balance, and the rider operates and lifts the dirt bike over the challenging terrain.

 On the other hand, here are the Upper Body Muscles used in motocross:

  • Biceps
  • Triceps
  • Deltoids

These are the muscles you use in maneuvering the dirt bike. If your upper body does not develop vital strength and resistance, you will have trouble controlling the heavy vehicle.

Finally, let’s get to the Lower Body Muscles you used when riding a dirt bike:

  • Quads
  • Hamstrings
  • Calves
  • Glutes

Operating your ride will need a lot of leg force and endurance. So, you will have to strengthen your leg muscles as well as your joints and tendons.

Motocross riding

How Do You Get in Shape for Motocross?

It’s no secret that to become a professional dirt bike rider, you need to develop fitness and strength. So naturally, you can achieve these by undergoing consistent training focusing on your core as well as your upper and lower body muscles.

However, physical training should be accompanied by a proper diet and the right mindset. If you are actively looking for ways to stay in shape for motocross, consider the following tips:

  1.      Designate a schedule for motocross practice on the field
  2.      Spend some time doing physical training or workout
  3.      Add more protein to your diet to improve muscle mass
  4.      Maintain adequate fruits and vegetables in your meals
  5.      Recognize small improvements in your training

Conclusion

Motocross is not for the faint-hearted, and it’s definitely not for people with weak legs.

Nevertheless, if you still lack the muscle strength and endurance required for riding a dirt bike, it doesn’t mean that all is lost.

You can work your way up to improve your leg muscles along with your entire physical capacity. Simply adopt a workout routine that works best with your ability.

If you’re a beginner, start with simple exercises like squats, lunges, sprints, or cycling. Likewise, keep a tab on your nutrition as it also plays a critical role in your motocross fitness.


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