BMX racing and with a back ground of Martial Arts

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    Hi Ash

    I have recently taken up BMX racing and with a back ground of Martial Arts and Triathlon I have found the sport to be quite antiquated regarding training methods. This year is the first year that BMX is an Olympic sport so the sport is on the up.

    Our Club, Park Orchards Panthers here in Melbourne has grown from 40 members to 140 in 18 months. I have just started doing a weekly fitness training session and I stumbled across the Strong Man techniques. I think that some of these may be of great help in the sport. We now do some plyometrics, general weights and sprints on the bike that all all working well, but I want to find an edge.

    BMX uses explosive fast twitch muscles. Getting out of the start gate in front is paramount and it set you up for the hole shot in the first corner making passing difficult.You also need to be strong over the bike to muscle the bike around the track with total control. What do you suggest I focus on with the Strong Man techniques that will have the greatest impact on the riders Ash?

    I know on the internet is mentions Rugby questions but when I sore this line “”My specialty area is the development of speed, strength and power” this is exactly what I am looking for.

    I really look forward to your feedback.

    Kind Regards,



    Hey Simon and thanks for the letter,it is nice to think outside the box every now and again and what we do in rugby would have a positive effect on your power development on the bike, many of th estrongman techniques are real good for strenght and strength endurance, they also build tremndous grip strength which I would think would be a distinct advantage in your sport as well, with your plyometrics it is best to build a base of double leg (jumps) before moving onto more specific single leg (hops), so some of the following would be a good start:

    Knees to feet jumps
    – use of arms
    – hands on hips
    – prisoner style hands behind neck
    – holding dumbbells
    – jumping up onto a mat

    Double leg jumps over smal hurdles

    Tuck Jumps

    Jumps Squats

    Jumps up onto a box

    With all of these we try and minimise the time on the ground to optimise the rate of force development (RFD), read my article on jump progressions on this web site for more details.

    As for strongman, the Farmer’s Walk is outstanding, simply squat down and pick up 2 heavy DB’s and go for a walk with them, either for maximum distance or for time, also the tyre flip is another all over strongman exercise that is a great movement, I have an articel on Strongman Training for Sport on this web site as well.

    You can contrast the strongman with the plyometrics with good effect, My artilce More Power to You looks at some of these concepts as well, all the best, ashley

    Avatar photoGetstrength

    thanks Ashley

    I really appreciate your feedback, we’ll get started on these tomorrow night.

    In your wealth of knowledge being that we race all year round, what type of weight training would you focus on. I am OK with the muscle groups but what do you think as far as sets, reps and weights go.

    I have always been curious to know the answer to this and I know it varies with different disciplines. Any advice would be appreciated, even if you have a reference chart or web I could go to.

    Thanks again,



    Hi Simon, sets, reps and loading are very complex issue, and you may find what works for someone else does not work for you, it is really a try it and see situation but to give you a starting point, when you are racing, I would focus on 2 workouts a week leading into a weekend race, and would work heavier on the monday or tuesday, around 70 – 80% of maximum load and perform 6 sets x 3 reps with attempted acceleration, a controlled lowering and then attempting to lift the weight as fast as possible even if it does not appear to move quickly the attempt will preferentially recruit the fast twitch fibers, then on the thursday I would work the opposite end of the spectrum and perform 3 sets x 6 reps with a load between 25 – 40%, moving the bar very quickly, in the off season I would be looking at loads cycled over a 3 week period attempting to get as strong as you can, reps less than 6 for 3 – 6 sets, concentrating on compound movements.

    We have had a lot of success by contrasting our weight room work with our speed work on the field as per below:

    F1. Dynamic Movement Warm up

    Micro Fastfoot Ladders and Quicken Micro and Mini hurdle sequences

    F2. Medicine Ball throws and acceleration sprints over 10 – 15 metres

    G1. Depth or Box Jumps in gym

    F3. Assisted sprints utilizing short (mini slingshot overspeed trainers)and/or long (slingshot overspeed trainers)

    G2. Power Snatch from blocks set at knee height, Block Cleans or Jump Squats (3 sets of 6 reps at 30 – 40%)

    F4. Maximal velocity work over 30 – 60 metres

    G3. Clean or Snatch Pulls from the floor or Band Box Squats (6 sets of 3 reps at 60 – 80%)

    F5. Resisted speed efforts utilizing either pro power speed resistors, power speed chutes, power speed sleds, these are often performed with a contrast sprint after the loaded sprint

    G4. Trap Bar Dead lifts or Front or Back Squats (6sets of 3 reps at > 90% 1RM loading)

    The F refers to field and the G to the gym, possibly you could do something similar in your sport of BMX, by practicing the start and exploding out of the blocks for say 15 seconds and then doing a weight room exercise or something similar, another method in the gym when working with a partner would be the “I go you Go” method which you can read on this web site or the full body circuit as outlined below:

    Full Body Power Circuit (5 sets x 3 – 5 reps – @60 – 80%)

    Warm up with KB swings and skipping

    1/4 Explosive Squat or Jump Squat or Band Box Squat or BW Jumps

    Clean Push Press from Blocks or Snatch from Blocks

    Jammer or Push Press or Band Bench Press

    Dominator or Hammer Push/Pull

    5 times through 3 – 5 reps per exercise

    Best wishes, ashley

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