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Virtual Trainer: Christmas List

‘Tis the season for something new under the Christmas tree and a brand-new set of New Year’s resolutions spinning around in your head. It’s that time of year when the racer in all of us starts to come back to life with the start of the SX season. After seeing the reemergence of James Stewart in Canada, many of us are all suddenly motivated to be the one handing out ass-whippings at our local track. You say to yourself things like, “This year I’ll start training in December,” or “This year I really am going to use that gym membership that my wife bought me last year!” Talk is cheap and hard work has its price. Making the resolution is the easy part; actually doing something about it is a whole other story.
    Well, never fear, Virtual Trainer is here to help with a Christmas list of sorts to make sure those resolutions don’t end up as just another set of faded dreams. The list is not only made up of a few cool gadgets that will help get you into those new racing pants, but also a couple new exercises that will be perfect for the long, cold winter to come.

Apple iPod

Since Christmas comes before the official start of Resolution season, you should start by treating yourself to a cool gift. The iPod is the perfect fix for the gadget freak in all of us. Everyone has an iPod, and this year so should you. Even if you are not a huge music aficionado, an iPod is the perfect tool for making those training sessions go by in a flash. Do yourself a favor and buy the biggest iPod on the market. These little gadgets are perfect for backing up your computer system and great for traveling. The newest iPod even has an optional Camera Connector that lets you shoot with your digital camera all day, then transfer the pictures from your camera to your iPod, where you can view them immediately. iPods range in cost from the $99 Shuffle, which holds 120 songs, to the 60 GB, 15,000-song iPod, which will set you back about $400.  

Start Bars

I vaguely remember an electronic game I had growing up that was a little red box with hand grips on each side, a drag-strip Christmas tree in the center, and funky sounds effects as you raced down the imaginary track. The throttle was a little button under your right thumb and the gear shifter was a button under your left. The goal was to see how fast you could shift the gears and get down the track without getting the dreaded false start. Well, Alan Gerkey, owner and proprietor of All Pro MX Performance in Menifee, CA, has reinvented that little game in the form of a product called Start Bars. Start Bars are a reaction trainer intended to assist racers in refining their starting skills. The product is an actual set of handlebars, complete with a clutch and digital readout. They cost $149.95 and can be purchased at www.motocrosstrainer.com.

Motostik

When I first saw this product at the Racer X office, I was a bit skeptical. How could jumping up and down on a pogo stick get me in shape for riding my bike? Armed with nothing more than my skepticism and Dell computer, I took to the Motostik website to see if they could erase my doubt. Sure enough, after surfing the site a bit, I decided that the Motostik would be a great addition to my bag of fitness goodies. The extreme videos and cool photos had me wishing the guys at Motostik had sent me a free Stik instead of the boys at the office. The Motostik comes in two different sizes and five different colors and is made of high-quality Hi-Strength 6061-T6 Alloy with quiet-spring technology. It is also adjustable for weight and skill and has forged alloy MX handlebars, cast alloy MX style footpegs, and a replaceable knobby foot. Get yours at www.motostik.com.

Moto-X-Trainer

Arm pump is a menacing condition that affects riders of all abilities at some point in their riding life. Some like to think that the condition can be resolved with pills and surgery; however, like most things in life, the only sure way to eliminate the beast is through hard work, in the form of training. Jeff MacDonald of MotoSport Training has developed a product that takes handlebar technology and applies "rotational grip training,” which offers the most advanced upper body and forearm conditioning available for motocross and off-road racing. By attaching the Moto-X-Trainer to a rowing machine, you transform a good total body exercise into a sport specific motocross training machine that is extremely effective in reducing arm pump. A key factor in eliminating arm pump is to work the muscles of the forearm at the same time as the cardiovascular system. The exclusive rotational grips activate the upper and lower forearm muscles, which trains forearm muscular endurance at the same time as cardiovascular conditioning, giving the most sport specific conditioning available for motocross. Get yours at www.motosport-training.com.

Specialized Bike

In a recent interview with Aldon Baker, Ricky Carmichael’s trainer, he discussed how he uses cycling as a key component in RC’s training. If you can’t seem to muster the energy to strap on your Nikes and go for another mind-numbing run, or if your knees just can’t take the pounding anymore, try cycling for a change. I recommend a Specialized bike, basically because they have enough sense to help out two of our sport’s finest, Carmichael and Chad Reed. Along with being bicycle fanatics, they are way into MX too. That’s good enough for me. Visit www.specialized.com for a dealer near you.

Stationary Bike

Stationary bikes are a great way to warm up at the track or get a little cardio in while watching TV or talking on the phone. Consider getting a bike that makes use of both the upper and lower body, like the Schwinn Airdyne. A quick check on Ebay shows 36 Schwinn Airdyne’s for sale—and Trixter X-Bikes are practically built for motocrossers. With all the used exercise equipment lying around in people’s basements, finding a stationary bike should be a snap. If you are more into brand-new stuff, check out www.nautilus.com or www.workoutideas.com/trixter.html.

Motocross Training Book or CD

Okay, so you want to get into better shape, but you just aren’t sure how to get there on your own. If the articles and workouts on Virtual Trainer aren’t enough, then maybe you need some personal attention, like a CD or training manual. Two such CDs that I highly recommend are Gary Semics’ MX Conditioning: Training and Diet as well as Jeff MacDonald’s Total Body Training CD. Both are high-quality products that will give you that personal-trainer feel without the personal-trainer price. (Semics’ stuff can be found at: www.sportsflicks.com/motocross/instructional.htm; McDonald’s at www.motosport-training.com).

Gym Membership

If you have tried in vain to motivate yourself to work out in your garage, basement, or even your own personal gym, then a membership to a fitness club may be the answer. At first glance, training at home seems to be a great idea. However, if you have ever gone this route, you soon realize that no matter how hard you try, you just can’t match what the local gym has. Most well-equipped gyms have a multitude of equipment and classes that are perfect for MX training. If you have never tried a group exercise class like yoga (RC does yoga), kickboxing, spinning, and yes, even step aerobics, then you are missing the boat when it comes to great cross-training exercises for MX. How do I know this? I teach all of them except yoga! So get over your bad self and get into a class.

So there you have it, eight new ways to get your butt into gear and into shape for next season. Resolutions are good, but only if you actually keep your resolutions. If you know of any cool gadgets or MX-specific training tools, let me know and I’ll spread the word to the rest of the readers. Until then, happy shopping, and as always, VT can be reached anytime at crytset@comcast.net. In addition, be sure and check out the Racer X archives section, your complete one-stop information zone for motocross fitness. Archives before November 2005 can be found here.

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