motocross bicycle

Motocross: A High-Octane Alternative to Bicycling

Fitness experts have long lauded bicycling as an exceptionally effective form of exercise. It is a full-body workout keeping the bike balanced, steering through obstacles and, of course, pedaling. Since motocross takes the most obvious lower-body work out of the equation, many people view it as more of an activity than a sport. The presence of a motor doesn’t remove the physical demands, though. In fact, it increases those demands.

Muscles required

From a spectator’s perspective, motocross athletes may look like they’re riding their bikes. In reality, it’s more like the bikes are riding them. They maneuver those bikes through bumps, jumps and turns of a race, both on the ground and through the air. Just holding on and maneuvering the bike requires immense amounts of strength and energy. Successful motocross riders are constantly in the weight room to stay on top.

Cardio health

During a race, motocross riders reach heart rates between 170 to 190 beats per minute and maintain those rates throughout the entirety of a roughly 20-minute race. To get a feel for what this is like, imagine sprinting for 20 minutes straight. Without proper cardio training, motocross riders struggle to complete races, which is why successful riders includes high-impact cardio as part of a daily fitness routine.


Steering a dirt bike is much like steering a bicycle, only faster and with considerably more weight to keep under control. Staying balanced on a bike requires a strong core, specifically when maneuvering through turns and in the air. Correcting a bike that’s about to go over demands quick reflexes, which is why riders need to be highly flexible.

Mobile, flexible joints are also essential to prevent injuries. Stretches and exercises that increase mobility prepare the entire body for the jolts of landings. Weak bones, muscles and ligaments make the potential for injury high, which is why exercises that stretch and strengthen simultaneously, such as yoga and Pilates, provide excellent conditioning for motocross riders.

Limiting shock to the body can also be as simple as keeping a dirt bike in optimal condition. Good shocks and dirt bike tires limit impact, keep the bike on course and reduce the physical strain on the body.


The motor on a dirt bike doesn’t eliminate the physical endurance, strength and mobility required to ride it. Proper fitness makes the difference between someone who endures a motocross event and someone who gets a thrill out of the sport. As one of the most physically-demanding sports, motocross is a fitness routine in and of itself, but those riders who go on to the greatest heights take fitness training in between races as seriously as their time spent on the track.

Armin Brott

View posts by Armin Brott
Armin Brott is the proud father of three, a former U.S. Marine, a best-selling author, radio host, speaker, and one of the country’s leading experts on fatherhood. He writes frequently about fatherhood, families, and men's health. Read more about Armin or visit his website, You can also connect via social media: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest,  and Linkedin.
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