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View Full Version : Smaller is Stronger!


michael goodman
12-25-2009, 01:05 AM
I have a theory I would like to introduce. I welcome discussion or comments.
I have often wondered why most super fast racers don't have more muscle. I used to think that if you were stronger, that you could correct your bike's direction better, (man-handle it.) Being an inductive thinker, I approached my new theory by recognizing that most fast racers are not muscle-bound. Next, I incorporated the generalization that reaction time (physical quickness,) and circulation are better in a person with less muscle. So, If an obstacle such as a rock diverts the front wheel of your bike at speed, the rider with less muscle will correct it faster. Perhaps the wheel will deflect at a rate of 50 degrees per second. If a stronger, and thus slower rider corrects the deflection just a 1/4 of a second later, then they have to correct a wheel at an additional 12.5 degrees against the terrain. This takes more strength obviously. So muscle begets more muscle. In summary, good circulation is key and to achieve that you must not exceed your natural muscular build.

Joey Young
12-25-2009, 03:37 AM
Or your natural reaction time. Merry Christmas Michael!!! I think you may be on to something with your theory.

jeremy powell
12-25-2009, 12:36 PM
These two guys in our club seem to prove your theory:


Palmer Lynch - The fastest member of our Club (RCDR).

Branson Blake - The second fastest member of our Club (RCDR) and consistantly closing the gap in speed between himself and Palmer.

Both of these guys are lightning fast and featherweight sized.


The only person that I can think of that make waves relative to Disproving your theory - David Knight - but then I looked up his height/weight. He is only 207 lbs on a 6'4" frame. EVEN HE fits into your theory well.

Mark Ernst
12-27-2009, 12:46 AM
Any top athlete will have a fit and tone body. To me, fit means good cardio endurance. Top performers don't loose their breath and can keep going long after they start breathing hard. Running on a treadmill, rowing, spinning and outdoor bicycleing are excellent cardio workouts. Last years HS AA champion told me he would run 5 miles in 45 minutes 4-5 times a week last year when he won his championship.

Tone means having your major muscle groups tone or developed with lighter weights and more repititions-3 sets of 12, 3 times a week. One would have to go a long way to being to bulky to handle a dirt bike properly. An example was given about "root defelection," those challenges are mostly handled by SEAT TIME.

I believe cardio is the most important physical aspect for Hare Scrambles.

David Knight was also mentioned (he's my dirt bike hero BTW) at 6'4 and 207. He may have a slender frame and 207 is his "toned" up body. I guarantee the guy is strong in his legs, abs and arms and has cardio galore. There are different frame types like the 6'4 guys in the NFL who are 285lbs-yes they have muscle but are large framed as well.

Andy Tovey
12-28-2009, 02:01 PM
This is a great topic. I am on the other side of the spectrum. At 6'2" 240lbs (15% body fat) I'm not as agile as I used to be but I am much quicker and more agile than people think especially for my size. Although I'm not very fast on a bike having above average strength has saved me numerous times because I have muscled my way out of some bad wrecks.

Mark Ernst
12-28-2009, 06:11 PM
Although I'm not very fast on a bike having above average strength has saved me numerous times because I have muscled my way out of some bad wrecks.

Excellent point. I started lifting for tone about a year ago and have enjoyed the benefits of it just in terms of general life activities!

Aspiring to look like a young Arnold for dirt biking purposes is probably not the right move. However, most anyone could do with some heaving lifting for bulk/strength-5 sets of 5, 3 times per week. Besides, it would take years of intense lifting to get the "muscle man" look.

GO AHEAD, LETS ALL START SOME SORT OF LIFTING PROGRAM ( yeah, I know the "lifting" of table utensils is coming)

Andy Tovey
12-29-2009, 03:09 PM
I started lifting at the age of 14. I played football since I was 8. I decided not to go to college. Wise decision? I don't know but I'm not doing that bad. I wasn't allowed to ride dirt bikes when I was younger. It was baseball and football year round for me. I didn't start adding bulk until I was about 20. Now I just lift for stress relief. Since I have lifted for size most of my life it's just what I do to feel good. Loud music and throwing plates around!!

I wish I had time to get more seat time to become a better rider but with a new family it's out of the question. I go to the gym at 5am while everyone is sleeping just so I can get it in. I'm cranky if I don't get my workouts in. Plus I would be a fat slob since I sit at a computer all day at work.

Kyle Parsons
01-06-2010, 11:48 PM
Your theory sounds pretty solid in my opinion, but I think there's more factors than just a direct connection between mass and reaction (or lack thereof).

This suggests that smaller muscles equal quicker, more precise, and limber reactions to obstacles, and larger muscles equal the opposite. This isn't true in many cases. That's a huge generalization, although correct in some ways, but think about this:

A 300 pound lineman on an NFL team can sprint faster than a high-school running back that weighs half that amount, and has a completely different body build. Heck, even the NFL running backs are huge and they have the reflexes of a cat...now they aren't on a bike jumping rocks, but it's many of the same principals. Most of it's mental.

Many ways reaction time is improved or begotten is through practice or training, it is possible to speed up the "frame-rate" so to speak of your mind. You can really sharpen your senses and muscles if you teach them the right ways. Some people are naturally gifted.

The theory that more muscle equals slower correction time really only stands if the said "muscular" person is the type of person that only lifts lead in a gym for strength. This is the complete wrong way to build muscle for any kind of riding. Your simply building your "beach-muscles" and training them for things that they'll never encounter in the real world (or on a dirt-bike).

And once again, alot of it's mental. I know a former Air Force pilot that flew B-52's for 20+ years, I once heard him explain how to fly a plane as massive as those. The gist of was you just gotta let it "wiggle", you don't dictate it's every move, because you can't, you simply guide it. The plane is going to drift one direction or the other whether you like it or not.

This is the same way to ride in many cases, especially in sand for example. A rider cannot dictate every tiny movement that bike will make, no matter what, and if he tries he will either waste every ounce of energy or crash. You have to be strong in the right places, but know when and where to let the bike move underneath you, that's how you keep muscle from working against muscle.

Ta-da!elephant1

Jack Allen
01-08-2010, 12:16 PM
I played pick-up basketball for years and years at the local gym. Being 6' 3" but only weighing about 180lbs at the time I almost always had to match up with with the biggest player on the other team. When a body builder type would walk out on the court all pumped up I chuckled inside. While I might get out muscled here or there early in a game, there weren't very many 6ft plus body builder types that could keep pace with my cardio. I just outworked them to the point that I was either getting lay-ups or wreaking havok on the other teams 'team' defense because my man wasn't keeping up with me. By the time my knees and ankle finally gave in I had given up lifting weights altogether but was getting up 20 hours a week of cardio out on the court. I loved it so it wasn't a chore.

Muscles are great if you have the cardio to drive them but useless if you don't and the more muscle you have, the harder your heart has to work.

I road-bicycle some days for a little extra cardio but it's not fun, it's a chore so I'll probably never get back to where I was in the b-ball days. Unless I suddenly get a passion for cycling I'll likely never get past a certain stamina level on the dirtbike. I guess it's the old willing to play hard but not work hard syndrome.

Patrick Dayan
01-08-2010, 08:47 PM
Absolutely correct, the greater the muscle mass, the more oxygen is required to sustain the muscle. This is especially important for long duration, high heart rate activities such as hare scramble racing.

Curt Gregory
01-09-2010, 10:55 AM
Well put Kyle....

Building mass is just that more mass.. In some cases the bigger guys have to work twice as hard to keep that mass moving. In terms the big guys are working harder than the smaller guys to achieve the same goal.

Diet is critical to sustain energy levels. You would be amazed how all the ???? we eat and drink that's really bad for you. Stuff you wouldn't think of
like fruit juice whole grain bread and cereals etc etc......

6'2 190 lbs with 10% body fat I should be able to race just as hard as anyone but couldn't.
I've study many facets of why I couldn't sustain my energy levels during a race. To my surprise I found many factors being related. After all my fact finding and many diet changes I feel totally different after a race and can maintain a consistent
lap times!

William Toreki
01-15-2010, 02:54 PM
Bike with heavier rider has more inertia to overcome. This requires more strength to control.

Also, bike can't accelerate, stop, respond, or turn as quick. Just like if you added weight to the light guy's bike.

Also has higher center of gravity.

FTR should impose a minimum weight rule to make an even playing field (like auto racing)!