The Importance of Cardiovascular Training in Motocross Athletes

We often receive funny looks when we tell people that we work with motorsports athletes. It isn’t something many would think about if they have never raced a motocross or ATV motocross event. It sounds simple, right? Twist the throttle, turn a couple of times, go through some rough stuff, and then over some jumps. So why would you need to be cardiovascularly fit? During a race, these athletes are not only taxing their bodies, maneuvering their bikes, and absorbing the roughness of the track, but their respiratory rate can be incredibly high, and their heart rate can see numbers in the upper 190s. If this were momentary, we would say that cardiovascular training is not as essential, but most motos can last 8-30minutes, making them the definition of an aerobic effort.

For a triathlete, cyclist, or runner, benefits are faster times, an improved FTP, or quicker pacing. For motorsport athletes, this improvement is slightly more difficult to quantify on the bike(motorcycle or ATV), but we see improvements in these four key areas:

  • Staying power: This is the most apparent result that athletes can see and quantify. They feel better during their Moto and most noticeably find that during their races, they become less fatigued in the final laps, ultimately allowing them to maintain more consistent lap times.
  • Mental clarity: When pushing your machine to its limits while your body is also near its limit, each decision you make is crucial. Being more cardiovascular fit has been shown to improve cognitive function. Whether passing a fellow racer, selecting a line, or even choosing when to brake, we want you to be at your best.
  • Reaction time: Riding at 50+ mph, side by side or wheel to wheel, a fraction of a second can be the difference between making a pass or being passed. Research repeatedly shows that athletes can work at a lower percentage of their VO2 max, and their response times are significantly better.
  • Heat acclimatization: A large number of races occur in the summer months. The benefits of cardiovascular training in the summer can include decreased time to onset of sweating, increased sweat rate, increased blood plasma volume, and much more.

All of these physical adaptations mean that you become more efficient at cooling, increasing your time to fatigue.

So, suppose you are a motocross athlete and are not focusing much on your cardiovascular fitness. In that case, we strongly encourage you to upgrade your engine to improve your race performance.

Maybe you are not sure how to do this correctly. We can help! Contact us to sign up for custom coaching with one of our experienced, professional coaches or sign up for our EDGE membership for motorsport-tailored training plans.