Strength Training for MX and OFFROAD

Will Strength Training give me Arm Pump?


I get this all the time… “Don’t you get heaps of Arm Pump now that you do so many weights??!!”


The short answer? NO, NO, NO!! LOL! ( I get Arm Pump when I don’t ride enough!!)


When most people think of Training for MX or OFFROAD they think endurance and aerobic capacity.


They think Cycling/Swimming/Running like most endurance athletes do.


Now Let’s just get this clear from the start, Cycling/Swimming/Running is Sport Specific Training if you happen to be a Cyclist/Swimmer/Runner!


But guess what? We are not.


The best Sport Specific Training you can do for MX and OFFROAD is ride your bike more! Simple.


But we don’t all have the time for mid week Moto’s so that’s where Strength Training comes in. Becoming Stronger not only Bulletproofs our body against injury, it makes everything we do on the bike easier and more efficient.


Our Sport is unique.


Cycling/Swimming/Running will build more Aerobic Endurance, Yes……. But that is only a small part of what we do on a Dirt Bike.


We are using all of our Energy Systems  quite often in unison whilst wrestling a 100 + Kg weapon around the track.


That takes Muscular Endurance. On top of Aerobic Endurance. (And always Remember, Muscular Endurance is Built on a foundation of Strength) Strength First. Muscular Endurance Second.


We are Producing Force (Strength) and Power (Force,Faster) Repeatedly for extended periods (Muscular Endurance).


When most people think Strength training, they think, bicep curls, bench press and lat pull down machines.


Yes, We need to be Strong.


No. We Do Not Need To Train Like Body Builders!


Train Movement patterns, Not Body parts. More on this below.




Check out THIS POST  from Ryan Hughes about his thoughts on Arm Pump.


Ryno is one of, if not the World’s Best MX Coach.


Everything he speaks about here in this video to reduce Arm Pump, requires one fundamental thing….




To actually do everything he is talking about here, you need a high level of Body awareness.


To ride with correct position and posture, you must have a solid Mind Body Connection.


This is a massive part of strength and mobility training. (and juggling LOL!)


Think Squats,DeadLift, Bent Over Row, Pull Ups, KB swings etc with a neutral spine.


Hello Strength.


Then think how you move around on the bike to and from various positions, and over obstacles, jumps etc…….


More like a Spinal Wave right! (Check out this Vid on Spinal Waves!)


Hello Mobility.


Bottom line is you can’t just be strong and stiff.


We need to be Strong, but We need to be able to move and bend and contort through various positions.


Ever since James Stewart did the first Scrub, we have been moving more creatively on the bike.


Efficient Movement Patterns are built on the foundation of Strength.


And Body Awareness is one of the most under rated gains of Strength training…….


Providing you have a Coach who is teaching you how to Create Tension through out your body and activate the correct muscle groups, so you are not just going through the motions with intentless reps.


Its all in the hips, and a deeper level of awareness of where your spine, your body and your limbs(and the bike) are in Space.


A quality Program should include Mobility and Movement Practice to enhance the benefits of Strength training and build an overall Bulletproof Body!




Having a Strong Posterior Chain, not only builds that mind body connection and awareness to ride with correct position, but when you are strong in that position also, you can give the arms a little rest and avoid Death Grip!


When we become dominated by our Anterior Chain (front body) Quads, Pecs, Biceps etc, we rely on them to do the work.


Simply, work mostly on what you can’t see in the mirror.


Master the Basics, with Squats, DeadLift (Hip Hinge Variations) Upper Body Push (Bench,Strict, Push Press), Upper Body Pull (Bent over Row, Pendlay Row, Pull/Chin Ups) and Uni Lateral work with Lunge Variations.


Aim for Body weight Reps for Squat and Bench as a minimum, and 2 x BW Deadlift.


When you reach these numbers with correct form, you will have gained a deeper level of Body Awareness, Strength and Confidence within your body.


It takes time.


It Takes Intent.


It takes Repetition


And the Arm Pump? Train Hard, Build a Stronger Posterior Chain, and Ride as much as you can!


Above all, BREATHE and maintain flow.


Forgetting to breathe and riding tight is a sure fire short cut to forget everything you know you should be doing and saying hello to Arm Pump!


Give it 100%