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.
Support injuries with the right exercises.
The law of averages says that if you perform any extreme sport long enough, you're going to accrue injuries. Depending upon their severity though, that doesn't mean you'll get knocked down for good. Nyquist for one is still going strong despite the complete absence of one ACL.
He says that the key to working through injuries is no big secret: Stay fit overall, but focus on body-weight exercises that strengthen the various muscles and tendons that surround an injury so that it is stabilized. He cites Rob Darden, who tore both ACLs, as someone who has helped him intelligently deal with his own knee tear. "At one point in his life, Rob was a little overweight. But he really got focused. He showed me that I could still do what I do, even with my injury," Nyquist says. "I've been riding without my ACL for a while now, but I could only do that by supporting the muscles around the area."
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