Ryan Hughes’ Motocross Training

What's it like to train like a top-level pro? You'll likely never know. At least, not until now. Dirt Rider Magazine is currently embedded in Ryan Hughes' intense, grueling, motivating and body-encompassing training regimen. And I can tell you first hand that the level to which today's top racers push their bodies and minds is a lot higher than you might expect.

I've been enlisted in Ryno's world since Monday morning and, as of Wednesday at 11:00 am, I've used every muscle in my body to point of proper form failure (that is, when the proper form for an exercise or drill is annihilated by fatigue and exhaustion). Here's a quick rundown on my day yesterday as an example of what goes on here.

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9:30 am: Warm up for moto training session. Today we're doing three 20-minute motos. (Yesterday we did two 30 minute motos). On the line with me are a few of Ryan Hughes' clients: for example national pro rookie PJ Larsen (Canidae Motosport Monster Kawasaki) who cleaned up at Loretta's last year and 5-time Women's champ Jessica Patterson.

No biggie, right? I've ridden with pros from every discipline of dirt biking. But I've never actually been in a moto with them. And not one with stopwatches and coaches and pit boards and passing and all that jazz. Yikes!

We start slowest to fastest. Guess who's slowest? Me. Duh! These guys and gals rip! My lap times on Ryno's lower track are around 2:40. The fastest are in the mid to high 2:20's.

So, I start first every moto. That means I have two laps, if I'm lucky, to be in the lead and feel special. Usually, Jessica Patterson blitzes by me around lap two after wiping out my 30 second head start. Then the rest of the pack squashes my dreams as they zing, zip and zoom by. I'm cool, though. Especially since every lap I get a wave from a flock of Mechanics and a very-enthusiastic pit board message or two from Ryan Hughes. That helps me ignore the idea that my arms are going to fall off.

But guess what? They don't fall off. In fact, thanks to some simple riding technique points from Hughes, my arms feel great. It's now my legs that are going to fall off! More on all of that in an upcoming issue of Dirt Rider. This story is going to be cool, look for it in a couple months.

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2:30 pm: Ok, so I've grabbed some lunch with photo-dude Drew Ruiz and I'm heading back to Ryno's garage/gym/dorm for my first workout with the crew. When I pull up I hear grunting yelling and heavy thuds coming out of the windows as if someone is being severely beaten about the face with a small-to-medium sized dense mammal. Once upstairs I find that the racket is coming from PJ Larsen and Hughes as they go running (often literally) through a circuit workout in the gym. They're balancing on Swiss balls, stepping up on benches, lunging across the floor, pressing, squatting, flying and throwing a 10-pound medicine ball like it's a hot potato. There's no gym music or juice bar up here. There is only a lot of sweat. A LOT OF SWEAT.

Ryno looks at me and says, "We'll work out next."

Yay.

3:30 pm: I'm going to die. Ok, not really, but I'm working my ass off. I'm chasing Hughes around the same circuit and my legs are burning and sweat stings my eyes. Only three more sets, eh? I find a happy place and get through it. I haven't felt like this since we did two-a-days for high-school wrestling. It's a refreshing exhaustion that leaves me wired and strangely hyper as I unload my bike to give it a wash and clean up two days of riding trash out of my truck. I even get some time to drop a few notes down on paper and listen to some voice notes from the track day. I really need to keep squeezing with my legs.

8:30 pm: I've washed my bike, stole some food from the Patterson crew, played with Diesel and Ray-Ray (the Patterson pugs) and am about to hit the sauna. Ryan Hughes is big into nutrition and body wellness. It's too complicated and in-depth to go into here but he uses an infrared sauna to suck bad stuff out of his body, basically. He really wants me to try it and says that I'll feel great afterwards.

After about 15 minutes (of the 30-minute session) sweat is raining out of my body. I've been in saunas before. But this little box is more intense than the others I've been in. Its infrared heat is pushing 100 degrees and the book on Zen I was reading is becoming too hard to hold as I wipe salty water from my eyes. I've never wanted to open a door so badly in my life but I held on and didn't burst from the hot box until the timer reached zero.

As I'm walking to my second shower of the evening, I wonder why my shorts feel so heavy…oh, that's sweat. I grab a gallon of water and drink it for the rest of the night.

That's basically an average day in the Ryan Hughes training program. Each day is different and each workout is unique (today, we're doing a yard workout that is 20 minutes of joy, from what I hear).

Look for some more updates this week and for sure keep your eyes on the pages of Dirt Rider for the full story of my week with Ryno. Until then, hydrate!

Motocross dirt bike training Ryan Hughes
Motocross dirt bike training Ryan Hughes
Motocross dirt bike training Ryan Hughes
Motocross dirt bike training Ryan Hughes
Motocross dirt bike training Ryan Hughes
Motocross dirt bike training Ryan Hughes