You can ride a dirt bike or you can ride a dirt bike.
The difference depends on your level of fitness and desire to experience everything a dirt bike offers. With minimal effort, just about anyone can ride a dirt bike which requires little else than an ability to balance on two-wheels, roll the throttle and brake.
But if you want to rise to the level of ripping laps on a track or hitting off-road trails with gusto you need not only proficiency but enough stamina to handle the demands that come with dirt bike riding. Pro Motocross riders spend a lot of time off the dirt bike working on their fitness to handle the demands of 30 minutes plus two.
But, if you consider yourself an amateur racer or even a weekend warrior don't mistake strenuous workouts something just for the pros. Laziness and exhaustion leads to crashes therefore working on your body and getting yourself in shape goes a long ways towards enjoying the ride and besting the competition on race day.
Just as in other sports and recreational vigorous hobbies, athletes don't spend all their time invested in the "sport" played. Instead, practice consists of other means of exercise to raise their level of endurance and skill. Therefore, if you want to improve your level of fitness on a dirt bike consider including the following when not seated:
1. Endurance Exercises
Just as some riders find success on a specific manufacturer's dirt bike you might find certain exercises work best so you have some options. Under endurance exercises we include:
Any repetitive activity that builds stamina and allows you to push yourself a little more each day works. Most pros take up cycling which makes perfect sense considering a road or mountain bike more or less represents a dirt bike without an engine. Riding a bicycle requires a keen sense of balance and works the legs you use to grip the motorcycle.
If running or swimming appeal to you more then try those exercises to build up your heart rate and lung capacity to match the cardio output you get when riding a dirt bike.
2. Weight Training
Hit the gym! Good riders work with the bike not against it and more muscles mean more strength to leverage a 250 pound dirt bike around the track or trails. But ease up on the curls. If you ride with the correct technique all of your strength and power comes from your core (abdominal and lower back muscles) and legs. Arm strength isn't that important.
You will use muscles you didn't know existed when riding and building a strong upper body prevents fatigue and gives you leverage over the weight of the bike you otherwise would not have. Strong legs allow you to grip the bike effectively and release pressure off your arms thereby preventing arm pump.
Nothing beats seat time, so don't get too caught up in off the bike physical fitness. You need to ride and ride a lot. If you could only do one thing, we'd say ride the dirt bike. Practice full Motos, race against friends and work on technique. Riding represents the largest piece of the dirt bike fitness puzzle.
4. Stretching and/or Yoga
You don't open the throttle seconds after turning on the engine, nor should you vigorously ride a dirt bike without a proper stretching and warm-up routine. Many riders now incorporate yoga into their fitness regiments which incorporates stretching with learning how to focus. Regardless of sport, all athletes spend time stretching which gets muscles ready to work, flex better and prevents injury.
5. Rest and Recovery
Take a day off. Sometimes the best exercise means not exercising at all. If you don't give your body downtown to rest and repair itself you won't get better, will constantly fight fatigue and put yourself at unnecessary risk for injury. Get adequate sleep and at least one day off during the week.
Rest and recovery also includes proper nutrition, hydration and eating the right foods. Most riders, especially racers who regularly hit local gate drops use some type of nutritional supplement for before, during and after riding and exercising. We carry a wide selection of the most popular fitness supplements that help build energy and repair spent muscles.
Repetitive exercise gets boring so feel free to mix it up or if you absolutely hate one routine over another stick with those exercises that work best and keeps you training. If you hit a wall in your fitness, consider hiring a training coach or attend riding classes that incorporate the overall big picture to effective dirt bike riding.