Why is Motocross so Demanding?


Is motocross a demanding sport? Yes, no doubt about that.

But why is motocross so demanding in the first place?

What happens in a motocross race that makes it a physically, mentally, and skillfully demanding sport?

To excel in the sport, motocross demands physical and mental strength, technical skills mastery, and the courage and confidence to overcome the risks of motocross.

You must train your body to keep up with the sport’s physical demands and master your balance and control while learning to overcome your fears and doubts about the risks ahead.

Hold on to your bikes because today, we’ll talk about one of the most debated sports in the world – motocross.

If you’re thinking of getting into motocross or just want to know how your favorite MX racers look effortlessly badass on the track, read on to find out what makes motocross demanding and how the pros master the right skills to meet these demands. 

Why is motocross so demanding?

You’re missing much of the picture if you think motocross racing is only about twisting the throttle, navigating questionable terrains, and defying gravity.

There are a lot of factors at play that an MX rider needs to meet so they can excel at this sport, such as:

Physical strength

To make it in the motocross world, you must be fit, tough, and skilled to do well in this sport. 

For one, MX races are short but super intense.

You have to speed up, slow down, turn, jump, and dodge all the time.

Your whole body is working hard, and your heart is pumping fast.

You also take a lot of hits.

Every jump and bump makes you feel a lot of force.

Your legs, arms, and core must be strong to handle it. 

Not to mention, a motocross bike is not light or easy to handle.

You have to balance, steer, and lift it when needed, so you’ll need a lot of strength and coordination.

What physical skills do you need for motocross?

What does it take to be a good MX rider, physically-wise? Here are some of the physical skills you need to master:

  • Strength – to control your bike and deal with the jumps and bumps.
  • Endurance – to keep going fast and hard for the whole race.
  • Flexibility – to bend and twist your body on the bike.
  • Agility  – to be quick and smart on the track.
  • Balance  – to keep your bike steady and straight on rough ground.

Mental strength

Anything can happen in motocross, so you must stay calm and focused.

Don’t let your feelings mess you up.

Breathe well, loosen up, and empty your head.

Focus on now, not on before or after.

Focus on how you ride, where you go, and what you do.

Image courtesy of punlob

You also need to think fast. You have to deal with what happens on the track or trail, guess what others will do, dodge obstacles, and find the best way to pass or overtake when the opportunity arises.

You must also be flexible and adaptable to change your plans if needed.

Motocross riders are no exception to fear, but that’s normal.

It means you know what can go wrong. But that shouldn’t stop you from dominating the MX scene.

Technical skills

To win an MX race, you need more than speed and strength.

You also need to master your dirt biking skills.

These skills help you brake, turn, jump, and balance like a pro while keeping you safe and fast.

Image courtesy of Michal
  • Braking – You must master braking smoothly and keep your grip on the ground. You might skid, crash, or lose speed if you brake wrong.
  • Turning – Learn to lean your bike at the right angle when you turn. You’ll go faster and smoother through corners and curves.
  • Jumping – Know how to jump your bike safely. You’ll need to launch, fly, and land without losing balance or crashing.
  • Body positioning – Keep your body in the correct position on the bike. It will help you balance, stabilize, and control your bike better. Your body position also affects how the air flows around you.
  • Weight distribution – You must also master shifting your weight anytime to help you balance, stabilize, and maneuver your bike better. Your weight distribution also affects how your bike grips the ground.

Bonus read: How To Ride A Dirt Bike Safely

Element of risk 

Motocross is incredible but also dangerous.

You face a lot of risks and challenges as a rider.

There’ll always be a time when you can get injured, sometimes by something unexpected.

You could crash, fall, or hit something or get caught in another rider’s bike while overtaking.

Image courtesy of Kathy Kadamus Zatek

It’s during times like this where your resilience is tested.

You must be tough and finish the ride, no matter what happens. 

The fans also love watching MX riders do crazy stuff, which can be thrilling and pressuring for a motocross rider.

Because if you want to make a name as an MX rider, you must impress them with the craziest jumps, speed, and tricks

Are motocross riders the fittest athletes in the world?

Motocross riders are fantastic. They don’t just defy gravity and push their speed limit to get their adrenaline high.

They’re also one of the fittest athletes in the world. 

Image courtesy of UMUT DAĞLI

Some studies even show that dirt bikers can match any athlete in fitness.

One of the best studies was by Drs. Robert Kerlan and Frank Jobe at the National Athletic Health Institute in Inglewood, California, 1979.

They found dirt bikers had the same VO2 max (how well your heart works) as pro cyclists and other athletes.

How cool is that?


Some people think dirt biking is too hard or scary to be a sport.

They think it’s just for fun and not serious.

But others believe dirt biking is a real sport that takes a lot of skill and fitness.

They admire the challenge and the reward of riding.

There’s no right or wrong answer.

But one thing is sure: motocross IS a demanding sport.

Motocross riders need to be strong, fast, flexible, and smart.

They must know how to balance, steer, jump, and land.

They need to plan, react quickly, and deal with risks.

MX riders are some of the best athletes who deserve respect and praise for what they do.