What is the best type of cardio training for motocross?

We’ve had a ton of people ask us “What is the best type of cardio training for motocross?

It all depends on:

  • how much time you have to perform your cardio training
  • whether or not you have any injuries
  • your preference of riding a bike, running, rowing or swimming etc.
  • whether recovery is important

We usually recommend cycling (on the road, on a mountain or on a stationary bike) because:

  • it’s low impact
  • cycling helps build your lower leg muscles more-so than other cardio options
  • it can be done almost anywhere provided you have access to a road bike or spin bike
  • your heart rate is very easy to monitor and control
  • when riding on the road or on the mountain, athletes often find it the most enjoyable

The low impact nature of cycling provides a great method of cardio for motocross athletes. As most of you know riding a track can beat up your body pretty good. A gnarly, rutted-up track truly puts our bodies to the test. Motocross is classified as a high impact sport. It’s a good idea to give our bodies a rest from the high impact and train with methods that are more low impact in form. This lets our bodies recover even when we’re still training!

Our lower body strength is EXTREMELY important in moto. Cycling helps build those muscles more-so than other forms of cardio training like running, rowing and swimming.

Although we recommend cycling, we still encourage athletes to switch it up and try other forms of cardio. Confusing your muscles is an important aspect of training that can help you break out of a training rut. Just like strength training it’s a good idea to keep your training interesting.

What’s your favorite form of cardio? Why? Let us know your thoughts.

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3 Responses to “What is the best type of cardio training for motocross?”

  1. miki says:

    Certainly not swimming…I would rank as follows:
    1. Bike
    2. Row
    3. Run

  2. christine says:

    But doesn’t swimming help with lung capacity?

  3. tricia says:

    Yes swimming develops good lung capacity but it is very specific to swimming.

    There are many theories for the difference between heart rate, or HR, on land vs. water. According to Joanne Maybeck, who provides workshops on “Aquatic Heart Zone Training”, there are several factors. Buoyancy in the water reduces the effect of gravity. Therefore, it takes less effort for the heart to deliver oxygen to the rest of the body. Temperature may also be a factor. Compared to land-based activity, the heart doesn’t have to work as hard to cool the body. Another variable is the “Dive Reflex,” which is a neurological response that happens when the face is in the water. This triggers a reduction in heart rate and blood pressure. Some may even experience this dive reflex in chest-deep water

    According to an endurance test which read the lactic acid levels of olympic athletes in all sports, the two sports with the most aerobically fit athletes were rowing and cross country skiing. Swimming is an excellent workout, but is more of an upper body workout. Rowing is more of a lower body workout. Simply the fact that the leg muscles are the largest in the body means that you are burning more calories at the same heart rate if you use your legs more.

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