Earlier this year, Ryan Nyquist took first place at the BMX Park on the Maryland Dew Tour. His victory in itself wasn't terribly surprising, considering that the pro, famed for his innovative handlebar spins and groovy riding style, all but earns frequent flier points for his regular trips to the podium of major BMX competitions. What is remarkable, though, is that he's been doing it now for 18 years. Which means that, at the ripe age of 34 Nyquist typically competes against athletes who are 10 or more years his junior.
After suffering a major ACL tear in 2006, Nyquist recognized that the years and scars were starting to add up, and so he began to invest more time in his off-bike training. This interest in overall fitness has helped burnish his reputation as one of professional sports' most balanced and disciplined athletes (not to mention one of the most downright humble we've ever met, too). And given his silver medal at the 2013 X Games Barcelona and his recent victory on the Dew Tour, it looks like he chose the right path. (He competes in the San Francisco Dew Tour October 11–13, which viewers can watch live on NBC on October 12 and 13 at 4 pm ET.) Victory, however, never comes cheap, and Nyquist says his success is founded on a combination of intense training matched with serious willpower. He recently gave 'Men's Journal' a look into his training regimen and suggested six key ways the rest of us can boost our overall fitness.
Develop functional strength.
People walking their dogs in Nyquist's San Jose, California, neighborhood often stop in their tracks when hearing the sound of wood being ground on asphalt. A look around reveals Nyquist chugging down the street with a rope around his waist, dragging behind him a massive truck tire that's screwed to a piece of plywood. He says this medieval sled is his favorite training tool.
"I feel like Rocky Balboa. I walk up and down the street dragging this thing, and it just destroys my legs," Nyquist says. "People come over and try it and always walk away with a sore butt." Nyquist chose this challenge because it blows up his quads, hamstrings, and the surrounding tissue – the main muscles he relies on when pedaling like a madman on the track.
To supplement this workout, Nyquist says he is also an avid member of Fitness Never Sleeps, a functional training facility in Santa Clara. There, he works on leg-strengthening exercises, such as jump squats and explosive split-squats.
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