As a trainer this is the question I’m asked constantly. I’ve heard it all from : running is the key to more speed on the bike to weights will make you bulky and slow out on track.
There’s no secret method or ‘one fits all’ that will help everyone the same as I will explain.
I’d like to use this article to set a few things strait… firstly, yes cardio, it’s essential to maximising your lung capacity and overall fitness. Controversially I’d argue losing that extra weight is more important than hammering yourself out on the roadie or treadmill at the gym. Think you’ll move more easily and manoeuvre around the motorcycle far freer without that extra tyre around the midriff…
Weights will make you bulky and give you the dreaded arm pump !! Well no, not exactly. Eat masses of food in a calorie surplus and lift ridiculously heavy weights for few reps then yes, you will gain muscle, bulk and likely not improve your speed or worse, slow down. Eat correctly in a calorie maintenance and lift smaller weights for higher reps, you’ll build some muscle but more importantly strength that’ll you’ll find ever useful when aboard your trusty steed. This strength comes into play mid way or towards the end of a moto where you’re starting to blow and literally hang on. Strong legs and a stable set of shoulders will allow you to stay in control and safely finish the moto.
Cycling is better than running is better than hiit… The argument surrounding the numerous forms of cardio will rage on forever between the elitists who support each discipline. The absolute truth is the cardio that YOU enjoy the most and are more likely to undertake more frequently is the one that will benefit you the greatest. What’s the point in running when you’ll only go on a run once a moth because you hate it so much, and only choose it over cycling because you think it’s more beneficial ? They’ll all vary slightly in performance giving but if you enjoy cycling then go cycling, you’ll go far more often than another form of cardio that you dread, frequency will always trump irregular intensity when it comes to cardio.
What weights program should you choose ?
When we’re talking moto, focusing on compound lifts will always be king for two reasons. One: you can hit more muscle groups in less time and thus more often. Two: compound moves are more full body incorporating than targeted muscle training, motocross is pretty damn full body so it’s naturally the go to when it comes to resistance work.