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Building your Off-Season Training Plan with Kyle Zelazny, CSCS, Owner of Chicago Family Fit

Updated: Apr 3, 2018

Unlike most traditional sports (Football, Basketball, Baseball), motocross training is much more “on your own”. 

As most of us are quickly approaching the dreaded off-season, this is the most important time to build your foundation for next year. For a competitive athlete, the off-season is an essential time to improve and prepare, not drink beer and party on the weekends.  Today I want to go over a few tips on designing your fitness program going into next spring.

The first and most important tip is to set a goal. It can be anything from competing in your first race to winning Loretta’s, but you have to have at least one. Then pick when you need to be in “race shape”, what date is your first race? By doing this, you now can develop a comprehensive strategy for training. Let’s say you have 4 months until the big area qualifier, we now can break up the 16 weeks into smaller training cycles to address different areas of weakness. Developing a plan is much more effective than just randomly winging it when you walk in the gym.

The next thing to do is to look in the mirror and be honest with yourself. What areas of fitness did you struggle with last year? Maybe it was an injury that never healed all the way, did you get too tired in the last lap to finish strong? Maybe your overall strength is holding you back to really command the bike, or you can’t pick up the bike because it’s too heavy.  I would start by addressing the biggest weakness first and really focus on improving that in your first training stage of training during the initial 6-8 weeks.

Third is program design. This should be tailored around the biggest areas of need. Since you need to maintain a base of cardiovascular conditioning, I would focus 2 days per week of cardio, and 2 days focusing more in the gym.  Cardio days can be a combination of running, swimming, elliptical, rower, cycling, etc. Just make sure that you are training with intensity (upwards to race heart rate/breathing rate). If you are just puttering around the gym, you are wasting your time.  Weight lifting should include major exercises to improve total body strength and coordination. Think Squats, Lunges, Dead Lifts, Push-Ups, Pull-Ups, and Rows as main lifts while adding supplementary exercises to rehab previous injuries, core work, balance training, and flexibility. Depending on how many weeks you have, you should start to transition to more sport specific training the last 6 weeks before racing starts.

Once you spent some time developing a good training plan, STICK TO IT! So many times people start off strong (Think New Years Resolutions) and then peter out after a couple weeks. If your plan is to hit the gym 4x per week, then make sure it happens every week.  Missed training sessions will equal less than desirable results when it comes time to get back on the bike. If possible, find some riding buddies to train with or sign up with a fitness trainer to help you stay accountable.

Finally, and the last big area that is often overlooked is recovery.  In order to keep making gains in the gym, a good recovery strategy is essential outside the gym. This includes eating a healthy diet, getting enough rest, stretching, massage therapy, while staying away from the pizza, beer, and junk food. Nothing will ruin your training faster than a terrible diet and not enough rest. Make sure to listen to your body, if your body is feeling tired and worn down, make sure to put some extra effort to stay healthy.  Overtraining will eventually lead to injuries, excessive fatigue, and loss of motivation.

If you would like help on designing a training program, email me at and I can help you get heading in the right direction.

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