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Posts Tagged ‘rollers’

7 Ways to Make Your Motocross Training More Effective

Floyd Landis knows how to train effectively, and you should too!

Floyd Landis knows how to train effectively, and you should too! Photo by Whileseated on Flickr

Training is a crucial part of motocross racing. It is impossible to be successful in motocross without a vigorous and effective training routine. Being fit allows you to push harder and last longer which can be extremely beneficial at rough tracks such as Southwick. Motocross is a physically demanding sport and being in excellent shape can have lasting effects on your performance.

However, most motocross athletes are novices to training. They are unaware of how to workout and how to make it as affective as possible. Here are seven ways to make your motocross training more effective.

Eat Right

Eating right is crucial to effective training. Drawing by Timothy Pearson.

Eating right is crucial to effective training. Drawing by Timothy Pearson.

I have found that most amateur motocross are notoriously bad eaters. Maybe this is as a result of the heavy influence of the energy drink market, or maybe it is due to the nutritionally lacking food sold by vendors at the races, or maybe it is a result of the fact that many motocross riders are teenagers, who also, notoriously eat badly. Regardless of the reason though, many motocross riders eat poorly, which has a significant negative impact on our training.

As a result, if you want to maximize the effect your training has on your fitness, eat right. Eating right can be an incredible task, and I am not going to begin to cover it all here, but there are some tips which should get you on the right path to eating healthier.

  • Go Organic: Organic foods contain less chemicals, more nutrients and are ultimately better for your body. They allow you to maximize the nutritional value from your food and minimize the damaging chemicals found in many of todays foods. Thankfully, organic foods are clearly labeled and can be found at many big grocery stores including Wal-Mart, Stop and Shop and, obviously, Whole Foods.
  • Eat a Big Breakfast: Eating a big breakfast prevents mid morning snacks and helps to carry you throughout your entire day nutritionally. Don’t skimp on breakfast, its an important nutritional step in your day.
  • Don’t drink your calories: Calories in a liquid format go down much easier than in solid food. Furthermore, sugary drinks such as soda contain incredible amounts of sugar and calories an considerable decrease the effectiveness of your training.

These are just a few of the ways to help improve your eating habits. In the future, I will go over the many other ways, but those are a few tips to help you get started improving your diet.

Recover After Hard Workouts

Recovery is crucial after hard workouts. Photo by danya.

Recovery is very important to maximize the effects of a hard workout. Photo by danya. on Flickr.

There is no way around it, intense workouts take a toll on your body. Whether cycling, running or lifting, exercising puts a toll on your muslces, your bones, your joints, and ultimately your mind. Almost as important as actually working out is the recovery days in between tough work outs. Whether you choose to take a day off to recover, or simply take it easy, recovery days can do wonders for your fitness.
Recovery days allow your your muscles to rest and repair themselves for another hard day. In addition, they allow your mind to rest and get recharged for another hard day in the gym or on the bike. Finally, taking an occasional day off gives you time to do other things that are crucial to your motocross success.

Take a day off from cycling to work on your bike, do a few extra laps at the practice track, get organized for the weekend or spend some time resting your mind and getting yourself in a good mental position to perform at your best during the race weekend.

Recovery is almost as important as actually exercising and without it your training routine is simply doing harm to your body and is not actually allowing your fitness to improve.

Take Your Training Indoors

Taking your training indoors can maximize your available time to train. Photo by Velo Steve.

Taking your training indoors can maximize your available time to train. Photo by Velo Steve on Flickr.

We all love sunny weather. It makes running and cycling much more enjoyable and ultimately motivates us more to get out there and exercise. However, it is not always sunny out. Whether rain, snow, ice, or wind, in New England adverse weather is unavoidable.

But, this does not mean that your training routine must be put on hold while the weather is holding you up indoors. There are a number of ways to continue training inside your home. Even if you cannot get to the gym, the show much go on as far as your training goes, here are a few ways to go that.

  • Rollers or a trainer: Rollers and trainers are excellent ways to take your cycling training indoors. Rollers help to increase your straight line stability and trainers can significantly increase the overall power of your pedal stroke. Both devices can easily be used indoors, regardless of the weather.
  • Push Ups and Sit Ups: Most people who spend a lot of time in the gym overlook push ups and sit ups as a waste of time because the effects are not as noticeable and they obviously put much less resistance on your muscles. However, the fact is that when done right, they can be very beneficial to your overall fitness. In order to maximize the effect, do many sets of many reps, do your reps slow, and don’t allow too much recovery time in between sets. While push ups and sit ups will never be as effective as lifting, they can be a great alternative if you are stuck inside.
  • Recover: I just went over how beneficial recovery is to your training. So, if your stuck inside due to inclement weather, take a day to recover so you can come back rested and recharged when the weather improves.

Find a Workout Buddy

Finding a workout buddy can make your exercise more fun and thus more effective. Photo by Adrià garcía.

Finding a workout buddy can make your training more fun and thus more effective. Photo by “Adrià garcía on Flickr.

One of the toughest parts about keeping your motocross training effective is working out when you plan to. There is no denying that some days, you just don’t feel like getting on the bike and putting in a hard 60 mile ride. This is where a workout buddy comes in. Having a friend to work out with is a great way to stay motivated.

Working out with a friend as opposed to doing your exercises solo can benefit your training in a number of ways. Not only does planning workouts with a buddy keep you on track and makes skipping a workout less convenient, but exercising with a friend can be incredibly motivating.

While running, riding, or lifting by yourself, it is too easy to give up when the going gets tough and let up while in the middle of a tough climb. I’m not saying everyone will give in, but the vast majority will, and this limits how effective your training can be. Thankfully, working out with a partner can help to eliminate this and as a pair you can push yourself to new levels and allow you to go further on the bike, running, or in the gym than you ever thought you could.

Develop a Schedule

Having a schedule can keep your training on track. Photo by roland.

Having a schedule can help keep your training on track. Photo by Roland on Flickr.

Another tip to help prevent missed workouts, developing a schedule can be infinitely useful in keeping your training on track. Formulating a set in stone schedule not only allows you to easily plan around when you will be working out, it also allows your body to adjust to your workout/recovery cycle. A predetermined schedule prevents you from the dangerous cycle of extremely hard periods of training followed by extended periods of rest. Instead, having a good schedule can ensure that you get a consistent amount of training in week in and week out.

Furthermore, having a schedule can make your life easier when it is time to increase your training regime. With a good solid schedule as a starting point, it is easier to add a number of miles to certain days when you know you feel the freshest in your week.

I strongly feel that most athletes do not plan their training regime enough and rather just train when they feel like it which is both inefficient and can be quite dangerous.

Push Yourself To the Edge

Pushing yourself to the edge can do wonders for your fitness. Photo by pl jakub.

Pushing yourself to the edge can do wonders for your fitness. Photo by pl jakub on Flickr.

While it is important to ensure that your training and your workouts are all done safely and within your own personal limits, it is equally important to take certain days out of your schedule and really push yourself to the bitter edge. It is almost impossible to ever improve in your fitness if you always ride within your comfort level. Instead, it is crucial to push yourself as far as you can, essentially to the verge of failure.

This will benefeit your training in a number of ways. Not only will it test your body so you know exactly how much your training has improved your fitness, but it also pushes your muslces to an area of fatigue that they are not adjusted too which makes it easier to go to that same level next time. Essentially, this will ultimately allow you to increase your lactate threshold which helps build stronger muscles and ultimately increases your fitness. Here are a few ways for you to push your training to a whole new level.

Cario Exercises (running/cycling):

  • Distance: Manny cardio athletes have a certain distance they are comfortable with. For me, this is about 60 miles cycling and 3 miles running (I don’t run a lot). One way to push yourself to the edge is to increase this distance. The key, however, is to not give up. Many people would be surprised to see how far they can actually ride/run, and the key is to push yourself up the last hill on your ride and push yourself to spring the last 100m after a long run. It is tough to do, and takes a certain amount of mental integrity, but can have an incredible effect on your fitness.
  • Hills: Every cyclist and running dreads hills. They take an incredible amout of extra energy and force your body to push it self beyond its comfort zone. However, as a result riding hills can increase your fitness far beyond the normal riding. Try to find a loop around your home with a number of long, steep hills in quick recession to really test and improve your fitness.
  • Workout with someone stronger: When your workout by yourself, you naturally get into a comfort level and it is very hard to push yourself past this. However, working out with a friend who is stronger and more fit than you can have great effects on your training intensity. Working out as a pair can help motivated you and help push yourself when you are struggling. As motocross racers, we are all incredibly competitive and mentally we have a hard time letting someone beat us up a hill or through a flat. There is almost no more affective way to push your training to a new level then training with someone who is stronger than you.

Strength Training (Lifting):

  • More weight: Obviously the more weight you lift, the stronger you get and the more you can push your body. However, you must be careful with this technique. It is easy to lift too much and severely hurt your muscles. So, if you choose to increase your weight in your weight training, please be sure not to push yourself too far or you could find yourself unable to ride motocross for weeks or even months.
  • More Reps: An extremely effective way to increase your fitness using weight training is to increase the number of reps you do with the same amount of weight. This is a very safe way to increase your fitness and can build strong, lean, and efficient muscles which can be very beneficial to your motocross riding.

Variety in Your Routine

It is both physically and mentally draining to do the same type of workouts day in and day out. It is hard to get motivated for a road bike ride when you know you’ll just have to climb the same hills, tuck in the same descents and deal with the same stoplights. It is much easier to get excited to workout for a new ride or run with new features to test your body in different ways. This is why it is almost crucial to build variety into your workout routine. Variety helps keeps you mentally and physically fresh and prevents you from burning out and abandoning your intense training schedule all together.

Here are a few ways to build variety into your workout schedule:

  • Different exercises: Mix it up. Lift one day, cycle the next and run on the others. Depending on what you enjoy doing, favor your schedule to that activity, but always be sure to do a little bit of what you don’t enjoy as much. Not only will it make your favored activity even better but it will help to build different muscles which otherwise would go ignored.
  • Different routes: Map out a number of routes on Google Maps and print them out. Cycle them throughout your training schedule to keep it fresh and exciting.
  • Different time of day: Depending on your schedule, this method may or may not be possible, however, riding/running/lifting at different times of day can add a ton of variety to your training. Cycling/running in the morning is a totally different experience than in the evening and can make your training unique even if the route and intensity are exactly the same.
  • Recover: I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again and again, because it is incredibly important. Recovery is crucial in your training routine and your hard work is wasted if you don’t give your muscles time to re-grow, get stronger and prepare themselves for the next days workout. Make sure to include one or two days a week for recovery so that you are not constantly beating your body into the ground.

Training for motocross can be monotonous, painful, and sometimes ineffective if done incorrectly. However, there are a number of tips to help make your motocross training not only more effective, but more importantly more enjoyable which will help motivate you to train more, preventing burnout and maximizing your results to have the largest effect on the motocross track.

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Tips for Using Bicycle Rollers Indoor as a Part of Winter Cross-Training

In one of my past posts, I highlighted why I believe using rollers as a part of your winter training program is crucial. However, there are a number of tips, tricks, and methods which can make training indoors on a set of rollers much more enjoyable.

Rollers+Doorframe=Heaven

Many cyclists shy away from using rollers. They have the reputation of being very dangerous, and hard to use. Fortunately, this is extremely far from the truth. When used alone, rollers are very daunting, as the prospect of staying in a 1 or 2 foot wide path while cycling, drinking, or sprinting through intervals is daunting to say the least. Thankfully, a door frame is about the perfect width for you to use your rollers in. If you position the roller frame so that your elbows line up with the edges of the doorframe, the chances of you falling off the rollers is slim to none. You can simply stick out your elbows and block yourself from moving off the side. Another useful tip to prevent falling while on rollers is to remember not to turn the handlebars. Instead, lean from side to side while keeping your handlebars perfectly straight. This makes it much easier to stay upright and prevents the dreaded front-wheel roll-off that many new roller users experience.

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What are Bicycle Rollers?

I prefer using rollers as opposed to a standard bicycle trainer for indoor training.

In my previous post on winter cross-training, I mentioned that I enjoy using bicycle rollers as a form on indoor training. However, after posting that article it occurred to me that some of you motocross-minded readers may not be entirely sure what bicycle rollers are.

Roller Basics

Essentially, bicycle rollers are a form of bicycle trainer used for indoor training by cyclists. However, unlike the standard bicycle trainer where the rear wheel is fixed into a frame, on rollers the bike is completely free to move. Rollers are made up of a metal rectangular frame holding three metal (they can also be wood or plastic) cylinders. Two of the cylinders are close together at one end of the frame while the third is on the other end of the frame. The rear wheel of the bike is placed in between the two close cylinders while the front wheel is placed on the front single cylinder. The front roller and the front roller of the back pair are connected by a (normally rubber) belt which causes the front wheel to spin as you pedal the back wheel. Because there is nothing holding the bike laterally, you are free to move from side to side, and possibly, right off the side of the rollers. Normally, the front cylinder has the ability to be adjusted from front to back in order to accommodate a wide range of bike sizes and wheelbases.

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Planning for 2009 (Step 1): Winter Cross-Training

Note: This post is the first in a series following me as I prepare for 2009. Check back often or subscribe to the RSS Feed so you don't miss any of the following posts in the series.

Winter is quickly setting in. Photo by Swisscan on Flickr
-Photo by Swisscan.

The 2008 motocross season is over, as is summer, and it is time to start planning for 2009 as winter sets in.

Why Cross Train?

The winter off season provides the perfect time to cross train for motocross. A lot of riders ignore cross training as part of their motocross program, and I believe this is a mistake. Nothing can replace riding motocross in order to perfect your skills, however, being in good physical shape can do wonders for your riding. The winter off season is the perfect time to get this done because of the break from racing. The winter break gives riders time to take a needed mental break from riding in order to improve their physical condition. Come springtime, it is much easier to get back into the swing of motocross if you are in top physical condition as opposed to a lazy, out of shape lump after doing nothing all winter. This winter will be one of my first where I stick to a rigorous training schedule, and I am hoping that I will definitely notice a difference come February when I begin riding again.

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