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Coach Seiji’s Favorite Motorsport Fitness Trends and Future Predictions

Coach Seiji’s Favorite Motorsports Fitness Trends and Future Predictions
2000-2009 was a great period in time in the training industry. I know we still have this current year to officially close out the decade but 2010 seems like a good time to review what I consider the most helpful and meaningful trends for training and performance. I have also included my personal predictions for the future.
  1. Safety gear: the neck brace was truly revolutionary for motocross and other two wheeled motorsports. The innovation is continuing as different versions of the original Leatt Brace are entering the market. Neck braces are truly becoming a normal addition to riding gear, embraced by even the occasional rider. Still a bit expensive, worth every penny, but still a financial hurdle to many.

    Future prediction: competition increases thus driving prices down thus increasing affordability to everyone that rides. Becomes as necessary as a helmet. Design cooperation with helmet manufacturers (maybe the helmet manufacturers make their own neck braces) and chest protector manufacturers to increase function and comfort. Continuing advancements in carbon fiber manufacture allows all braces (and other safety gear) to be constructed of this wonder material that allows the highest strength to weight ratio and tunable flex, bending, and energy absorbing characteristics.
     
  2.  Exercise performance monitoring. There have been huge increases in features and performance in exercise monitoring via heart rate monitors and power meters. Meanwhile the price has plummeted and the devices are now widely available making performance monitoring somewhat of a given for any structured training program. I know that most people that don’t train “a lot” or are just training to be weekend warriors don’t think that they need to go as far as recording and analyzing training data. The less time someone has for training, the more important it becomes to spend that valuable time doing exactly the right thing.

    Future prediction: GPS enabled monitors like those offered by Garmin become the standard for several reasons: no sensors needed as speed, direction, altitude gain, etc. can all be done via the motion based data gathering possible with GPS; ability to upload/download training maps combined with the current growth of social media makes route/training data sharing commonplace; combining these units with a small camera so you can have all the above with an accompanying video. Wow. Add the emerging and ever shrinking dual axis accelerometers and you have an amazing picture and exact measurement of human movement and athletic performance. Huh? Just know that tracking your physical movements and calculating any parameter and energy cost is on the way. Ah the future.
     
  3. Periodization. It has been widely used in endurance sports and power lifting but not so much if at all before this decade in motorsports training. It still has a long way to go in relation to those sports but it’s catching on. I think it will provide breakthroughs in single race performances but more so in the consistency of performances over the season and over a career. Onward with periodization!

    Future prediction: periodization slowly but steadily infiltrates pro and elite motorsports and in a time and galaxy far, far away, even the recreational weekend warrior commonly uses periodization techniques to make the most of their available training time. Hey, I can dream! It could happen.
     
  4. Sports psychology: the advantage of professional sports psychology services is currently limited to elite and professional athletes. Self help is being utilized by the serious amateur competitor and has been steadily on the rise. Motorsports athletes are realizing (especially at the elite level) that they spend 90% of their time on physical training and maybe 10% of their time on mental skills but at race time, mental skills plays a much higher role than 10%!

    Future prediction: the proportion of training time dedicated to mental skills rises to at least 30%, maybe more for professional motorsports racers. Niche businesses open up providing a lower cost solution to getting professional level mental skills training; maybe in a group training format. Greatly increased demand for mental skills programs being delivered online for Ipods, streaming video, online seminars, etc. due to the continued acceptance of the internet as a legitimate learning media.
     
  5. Physiological testing for the masses. What? What I mean is the increasing availability of testing once reserved for elite athletes or laboratories. Relatively inexpensive oxygen uptake analyzers make it possible for many more people to get VO2 max testing, metabolic rate testing, etc. and using these tests as definitive measurement of aerobic and anaerobic gains made via your periodized training program.

    Future prediction: the above analyzers combined with expanded use of currently available, relatively inexpensive and easy to use blood lactate analyzers make even more information available to the masses. Do you need this? Hey, knowledge is power.
     
  6. Active recovery methods: this is anything as simple as scheduled massages on your day off to high end treatments such as vitamin C infusions, hyperbaric chambers and other medical/holistic measures to aid the effectiveness and speed of recovery from training and racing. Just now emerging as an actual part of a training program.

    Future prediction: this goes along with the above prediction of the increasing acceptance of periodization; taking an active stance on the recovery process becomes commonplace and businesses spring up to fill the demand. Athlete targeted clinics open up to provide medical and holistic recovery services such as those listed above combined with massages, certain foods, etc.
     
  7.  2D/3D motion analysis. I consider this to still be in the prohibitively expensive range for anyone but universities and laboratories but competition is increasing and I see more and more options coming into the market. Current use in these environments has yielded awesome gains in the efficiency and power generation of technique and motor patterns. It has also curbed the rate of injury due to faulty motor patterns and biomechanics in repetitive motion sports like running, cycling, and swimming.
Future prediction: increased competition leads to a drop in price along with continued decline in price of the associated computer and video hardware. This allows smaller business, independent coaches and even the athlete themselves to harness the power of 2D and 3D motion analysis. Geekery? You betcha but in the ultimate search for performance improvements, you have to look under every stone.

The advancements in the above areas in the last decade have helped countless riders, from those on the podium at the nation’s premier events to those riding the trails with their friends on weekends. These trends will continue and with the rapidly improving technologies being applied to the training, safety and health fields, this is a great time to be one of us indeed! Stay tuned….

Seiji Ishii is the head coach of www.coachseiji.com. Coachseiji.com provides online coaching and personal training services to motorsports athletes. Coach Seiji has worked with both pros and elite amateurs including: Heath Voss, Ryan Clark, Matt Lemoine, Hunter Hewitt, Austin Stroupe, PJ Larsen, Drew Yenerich and Rusty Potter. Learn more at www.coachseiji.com or contact Coach Seiji directly at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

This article was originally publishes on Racer X’s Virtual Trainer
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