A Good Workout for Dirt Bike Riders

By Michelle Dawn

When you ride a dirt bike, you utilize nearly all of the muscles in your body, but some more than others. When you stand up, you use the muscles in your lower body, and you rely on your arms and shoulders for gripping the handles and cranking the clutch. Strong core muscles are also important, providing your body with the strength and balance it needs to maintain balance on your bike as you ride over hills.

Build Your Lower Body

The quadriceps and hamstrings in the upper legs are heavily relied on for dirt biking. Squats, lunges and step-ups are some of the best exercises for targeting these muscles. Include variations of these exercises in your workout for more variety, such as hack squats, full squats, side lunges and rear lunges. For the basic squat, stand with your feet hip-width apart, squat down until your thighs are parallel to the floor, keeping your back straight, then return to your starting position. Use your own body weight as resistance for step-ups or hold dumbbells at your sides to up the difficulty. Including a variety of exercises is important for your mind and body, preventing a plateau.

Strengthen Your Core

Strong core muscles are essential for dirt biking. Since the sport uses almost all of the muscles in your body, often requiring multiple movements at the same time, a strong core helps you maintain the balance and coordination you need while riding. Some of the most effective exercises for building a strong core include Spiderman plank crunches, cable rotations and cross crunches. For the Spiderman plank crunches, start in a standard plank position, your body forming a straight line from head to toe. Engage your core, bring your right knee toward your right elbow. Return to your starting position, then repeat on the other side.

Arms and Shoulders

The biceps and triceps in your arms, as well as the deltoid muscles in your shoulders, are primarily relied on for controlling your bike. To work these areas, include barbell curls, dumbbell Arnold presses and front raises. For the front raise, hold your arms down at your sides, a dumbbell in each hand. Move your arms up together until they're straight out in front of you, just above parallel to the floor.

Cardio is King

Cardio is an important part of your total workout plan for several reasons. It helps keep your fat-to-muscle ratio low, revealing the strong, defined muscles underneath, but it also improves your cardiovascular health. You need stamina to make it around the track, especially if you're racing and need to make it around multiple times. Focus on exercises such as swimming, bicycling and rowing to keep up your cardiovascular endurance.

Plan Your Workout Properly

Cardio and strength-training workouts are both important as part of a dirt biker's total workout routine. Aim to include at least four to five 30- to 45-minute sessions of cardio each week, along with three to four strength-training workouts. Start with a single set of 12 to 15 reps and gradually work up to a full three sets. You can get your strength workout in on the same day as your cardio, but it's best to work your muscle groups on different days to ensure all muscles have at least a day in between workouts to recover. Include a five- to 10-minute warm-up of light cardio first to prepare your body for the workout.

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