Sports science has many elements!

Sports science is often associated with high profile Olympic sports such as marathon running, triathlon and track events. However, elements of sports science can be used in a variety of ways across a full spectrum of sports. Over the last three years, I’ve been involved in helping champion Motocross rider, Mel Pocock prepare for his winter training with Sol Gilbert.  With a relatively small training window of 6-8 weeks, Sol has the job of getting Mel and several other riders ‘race ready’ for the forthcoming season.

These guys are highly trained athletes. Motocross requires the active involvement of the entire musculoskeletal system and the utilisation of both the aerobic and anaerobic energy systems. The sport places unique performance demands on the athlete due to the varying factors such as course terrain, obstacles, forces from the bike and the impact of landing. During a competitive race, heart rate, oxygen uptake and blood lactate are maintained at a level around the second lactate threshold which is comparative to running a 10,000 m race (Konttinen et al, 2008). Determining the physiological profile of a rider is an essential part of a structured training program geared towards improving the rider’s ability to withstand the rigours of competition.

In addition to strength and power, motocross riders must have a high maximal aerobic capacity that physiologists would associated with maximal oxygen consumption (V̇O2max), a good aerobic endurance or capacity to sustain a high percentage of their V̇O2max for a long time, alongside good skills and technique so that they can perform with minimal energy expenditure.

My role is to focus on one aspect of Mel’s physiological potential, namely aerobic endurance by using blood lactate profiling. The information from the treadmill test we carried out last week has been used to set training zones for his high intensity and threshold run training. These accurate and bespoke training zones help to ensure Mel’s training is optimised and mitigate potential overtraining.

Blood lactate profiling can help customise your own training plans and, when performed more than once in a season, are a good indicator of your training progress - CLICK HERE FOR MORE DETAILS