Physical condition for off-road riding

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by Keithert, Apr 1, 2013.

  1. Foot dragger

    Foot dragger singletracker

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2006
    Oddometer:
    12,961
    Location:
    chico,just below rag dump(nor-cal)
    He was on his very first dirtride ever in his life,never done it before. People get tense doing something they have never done and it will be easier next time.
    #21
  2. Dan-M

    Dan-M Long timer

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,171
    Location:
    Westbound
    I'm 54 now. I got back to off road riding at about your age after being primarily a street rider since my teenage years. Until I get out several times in a season I feel it especially in my legs. The best thing for me is to ride more and get used to it. It is a great work out.
    #22
  3. corndog67

    corndog67 Banned

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,281
    Location:
    Santa Maria, CA
    Check this out Keith.

    I'm 51 now. From the time I was 10, I was riding minibikes off road. When I was about 19, I bought a real dirtbike (RM400 Suzook), and for probably 3 times a week, until I was about 40, I rode dirt bikes. I could more or less keep up with any group, from fast fireroads to tight technical trails, no problems. Then I stopped for a few years, at about 44, I bought another YZ250, did OK, but at nowhere near the level I was at before. Must have been the bike. I bought a brand new YZ450F. And I was even slower than with the YZ250. I would be a half step behind what the bike was doing. Then a whole step, then a whole turn, etc., etc. Just a big crash waiting to happen. My reflexes had slowed, and I couldn't take the beatings any more (conditioning). I believe that last ride I went on with that bike, I ended up puking my guts out, halfway into the ride. I sold the bike shortly after that.

    Just recently, I started getting the itch again. I'm looking at a KX250. 2 stroke. I'm talking to a trainer now about getting some conditioning and strength back, in addition to lowering my blood pressure and blood sugar. I don't know if I'll get back anywhere near where I was as far as stamina and endurance goes, but we'll see.

    Getting old sucks.
    #23
  4. Keithert

    Keithert Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2013
    Oddometer:
    964
    Well that's depressing!
    #24
  5. Lion BR

    Lion BR I'd rather be riding

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2005
    Oddometer:
    4,336
    Location:
    Oregon
    I want to bet it was not physical exertion from what the ride demanded from you. The physical exertion was from being tense. Once you get good at riding on dirt, and you are relaxed when riding, and it is second nature to you, you are not going to get this tired. To get to that better state of mind, you need to practice and you need to believe it can be done (and it can).
    #25
  6. BillMoore

    BillMoore Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2011
    Oddometer:
    268
    Location:
    Snohomish, WA
    I'm 51, my wife is 50, and 2 years ago we both just started back riding, 20 years after selling the little Kawasaki KE100 we originally learned to ride on. We both took the BRC and got our endorsement, and we've been slowly working up to more difficult offroad stuff. We actually are in Moab, UT this week on vacation, and rode 2.5 hours on dirt yesterday, and 6 hours today. Yeah I'm a little bit worn out tonight, but I will be right back on the bike in the morning.

    Today we did Hurrah Pass and Chicken Corners, which I know a lot of you guys would think is too easy, but for newbies like us it was challenging and just incredibly fun and awesome scenery, etc, etc.

    My advice would be to start slow, get comfortable with the bike, and gradually work up to more difficult terrain. Today for me several things really started to click. Early in the day when we would hit deep sandy sections, I would be super cautious, almost duck walking through it, but by the end of the day coming out through the same sections, I was having no problem keeping both feet on the pegs and maintaining considerably higher speeds.

    Edit: Also, we've been ATVers for years, still have them, and love them for terrain like the Oregon Dunes. But an ATV is a totally different animal than a bike. On the stuff we were riding today, I would have been hating it if I was following ATVs, because the pace would have been too slow, but on the dunes I'd much rather be on my TRX450R, and there is no way my bike could keep up with it.
    #26
  7. KX50002

    KX50002 NooB, my ass

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,850
    Location:
    NEPA
    But it beats the alternative!:deal
    #27
  8. Hawk62cj5

    Hawk62cj5 2 Cheap 4 a KLR

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2010
    Oddometer:
    637
    Location:
    Southern Va
    OP I know the feeling I was a bit sore the other day from riding my sherpa which is similar to your XT . I ride by myself at my own pace so no pressure . I turned on a non maintained state road and figured Id explore it , about a 100 yards down I hit muddy ruts which were about knee deep . They kept going and going full of gummy red clay , every 50 feet or so I would have to lift the bike up and pull with it still in gear and running . I finally got to a spot that the ruts were shallow enough I could turn around so I did . I started back through it and noticed a deer path heading off in the direction of the main road so I pulled the bike out of the rut and took the deer paths back to the road .:lol3
    #28
  9. mikem9

    mikem9 Wanderer

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,251
    Location:
    North Georgia
    Keithert - I read some of your other posts when you were first asking questions about how to learn dirt riding after many years of riding street. Congratulations to you for jumping into something new that can be intimidating.

    First - riding off road is a very physical sport. A lot of people that don't ride can't believe it. "How is that physical? You have a motor and a throttle!" ha!
    As others have said, riding is the best physical training for riding. But, bicycles and higher paced circuit or functional type training at the gym seem to really help a lot.

    I find gym exercises like the following help prepare me for riding: light squats or leg presses, core and lower back exercises exercises, light dead lifts (these seem to really help), pulling exercises with cables and pushing exercises with cables (I do them standing which helps balance and core). I also ride a bicycle 3 - 5 times a week for 30 - 60 minutes each time.

    Second - when you are new, like others have said, you do tense up and/or use a lot of extra muscles because you aren't yet skilled at riding. As you get better you will be able to ride longer and at a more intense level, but you will probably still wear yourself out.

    I encourage you to keep at it. You will get better and better. And, stronger and stronger as a rider.

    All the best!

    PS - I'm 53.
    #29
  10. Keithert

    Keithert Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2013
    Oddometer:
    964
    Mikem9, thanks for the encouragement.
    #30
  11. GR0NK

    GR0NK Got some screws loose!

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,370
    Location:
    In the Valley of Bomb Runs...
    I'm 43 and I still race off-road in vet expert. KTM 525EXC and KTM 250 XCF-W depending on if it's a rally or Hare Scramble or Enduro. Other than riding, I have been staying in shape two ways.

    1. Cardio. For this I have a Concept2 rower. Nothing is better for building your cardio than doing intervals on an erg machine. The bonus is that it is NO-impact on your joints. The top athletes in all sports use these machines. Travis Pastrana drains his knees daily but still rows. Chuck Liddell once said that he's afraid of his. :D It uses every muscle in your body and has no equal IMO.
    I do 500 meter intervals in sets of four with one minute rest between each, and five minutes rest between sets. I will usually do four sets. This will take about an hour as I tend to keep my pace at just under two minutes per 500m. For those who have a C2, my best 500m sprint is 1:28.9

    2. Core Strength. Core strength is most important, without it you will hurt yourself. I suffered from lower-back pain in my 30s, it was bad enough that it kept me in bed on some days. I figured my core was ok and that it was an injury that I kept aggravating so I would rest until it got better and take meds to ride. I wasn't doing weights back then. Then I decided to get a personal trainer and things changed. He told me my core was weak and needed work. I'm a computer tech and sometimes moving a printer would set my back off so the last thing I thought would help were deadlifts among other core strength execices. Today I deadlift over 400lbs and I have been free from back pains for several years. Don't neglect your core strength.



    Sean :bmwrider
    #31
  12. NJ-Brett

    NJ-Brett Brett

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2010
    Oddometer:
    6,912
    Location:
    Southern New Jersey
    First ride, then yes, it can be very tense (and intense).
    But 10 miles?

    My friends and I started riding around age 14, and in summer we rode every day for most of the day, and weekends went better places and rode all day long. We also walked a LOT, and rode bicycles a LOT.

    I can still ride all day, but feel it the next day as I do not do it enough, but I am super relaxed when riding.
    Racing is different, and I was never more tired then after a 100 mile enduro on a poor bike.
    Arm cramps, then they just felt like rubber, and the last few miles of the race was big sandy whoops.

    I do not see many really out of shape people dirt riding....
    #32
  13. BanjoBoy

    BanjoBoy Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2009
    Oddometer:
    878
    Location:
    Northern CA
    I fornicate with mah sister, try'in out many different positions fer lengthily periods of time. :lol3 Butt ride'in dirt still kicks mah arse every time!
    #33
  14. WeazyBuddha

    WeazyBuddha Carbon-Based Humanoid

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2008
    Oddometer:
    5,048
    Location:
    RGV Texas
    Gronk,

    Which Concept2 model did you go with?

    I've heard good things about them. May look around to see if someone has one I can try before shelling out the cash.

    Also, what do you do for core?
    #34
  15. GR0NK

    GR0NK Got some screws loose!

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,370
    Location:
    In the Valley of Bomb Runs...
    Model d with the PM3 computer.

    [​IMG]

    Most decent gyms will have one, usually the burly model E, as these are the machines used in rowing competitions. Don't go all out until you have the motion down pat. There are many videos on proper technique on YouTube.
    There is a great thread over at KTMTalk that I started about it but the site isn't coming up because of firewall issues right now so I will post it up as soon as I can.

    For core I do weights like deadlifts where I start at 60% of max and get to max through five or six lifts. Currently I am at 435lbs and that is steadily improving. My trainer oversees me whenever I am working at 90% and up so that I don't lose form. When he sees that I can't hold my form he will tell me to drop it. Very important to have someone watching you for something like this.
    I do sled pulls and pushes, but in my case this ends up being a cardio exercise. LOL.
    TRX straps are killer. They hang from above (like the top bar of the squat rack) and you put your feet through them for support at the ankles while you are in a push up position. You are basically in a push-up with your feet hanging about a foot off the ground. Then you bring your knees into your chest (or try to) repeatedly until failure. From the same position another exercise is to swing your feet (together) as far to each side as possible without moving your upper body position.
    Face down on the bench my trainer will sit on my legs with my upper body hanging off the edge. He will have me do reverse sit-ups. (from the ground to vertical, not hyperextending the back) I also do these on my sides as well. Sometimes I will have a dumbell weight that I hold to my chest.
    The nastiest core exercise that I do is the power wheel.

    [​IMG]

    They come in different sizes and with one or two wheels but they will all make you cry. If you are frugal or poor and want core strength, get one of these. Or make your own from a couple of lawnmower wheels and steel rod. :D Of course it will work your arms and shoulders especially along with a bunch of other important ones for biking/motorcycling so I highly recommend it.



    Sean :bmwrider
    #35
  16. WeazyBuddha

    WeazyBuddha Carbon-Based Humanoid

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2008
    Oddometer:
    5,048
    Location:
    RGV Texas
    Dang, I got tired just reading about that workout. :lol3

    :thumb
    #36
  17. NJ-Brett

    NJ-Brett Brett

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2010
    Oddometer:
    6,912
    Location:
    Southern New Jersey
    Me too!
    I would rather go riding.
    #37
  18. Geddy

    Geddy Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2013
    Oddometer:
    15
    Everyone is very focused on the bicycling, but lots of us are stuck in an office most of the day. Presumably like a lot of you guys, I'm a weekend warrior too, so I don't get much riding time (usually 1 day per week, sometimes 2).

    Bicycling is obviously awesome but if you work out your legs separately, arm pump still gets pretty bad. I work out my forearms at work every day with a few hundred pulls on a GripMaster handgrip. Really helps with the narrow single-track stuff by keeping the arm pump at bay for longer. :D
    #38
  19. GR0NK

    GR0NK Got some screws loose!

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,370
    Location:
    In the Valley of Bomb Runs...
    LOL. Here is the link to the C2 thread at KTMTalk. There is a lot of great info in here along with input from a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (C3H6O3 ).

    I don't work core every day or even every second day. On average I will do some once or twice a week. Once your core is good, it doesn't take much to keep it there.



    Sean :bmwrider
    #39
  20. KX50002

    KX50002 NooB, my ass

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,850
    Location:
    NEPA
    The greatest piece of exercise/torture equipment ever devised.

    Just make sure you do it right or you can hurt your back, technique is important when rowing.

    I rowed for a few years (on water and with an erg) until I hurt my knee at the gym of all places. It's a great workout, and you know you're doing it right when you puke at the end of a hard row!

    And did I metion you should buy a KX500? nice and light and always in "the power band" No you can't have mine!
    #40