> Motorcycle Rider Fitness
During more vigorous riding, the body can get quite a work out and
lack of fitness can hinder performance, especially after a prolonged
ride. There are several areas of fitness and well-being which when
addressed can improve rider performance. When the body is fatigued
reaction times lengthen, the ability to maneuver around the bike can
be impeded, and the ability to make sound, snap judgments can be impaired.
Dehydration is also a contributing factor to fatigue and a good supply
of liquids is essential to keep the body operating effectively. It
is worth noting that in top-level motorsports, such as Formula 1,
some drivers can perspire up to two litres during the course of a
race. Of course, this is also climate dependent and there are other
factors to be considered.
A good start to improving rider fitness is cardiovascular exercise.
This could include activities such as running, cycling, and swimming.
These kinds of exercise improve fitness of the heart and lungs, enabling
them to get oxygen and essential nutrients to the various muscles
more effectively, as well as toning many various skeletal muscles.
For improved motorcycle riding, large powerful muscles aren't generally
relevant; however, good quality toned muscle, with an emphasis on
endurance, will help riders maneuver around the bike with less effort
and more speed, and ride to a high level for longer. Improving general
fitness and muscle tone will also help reduce the general aches and
pains associated with riding for long periods by increasing joint
strength and improving body posture. Of course, during the course
of a ride almost every muscle in the body will come into play in some
form or another. Outlined below are some of the more specific muscle
groups and some simple exercises.
Some of the more predominant muscle groups in action when riding are:
Stomach - internal / external obliques, abdominals
Upper Arms - Biceps, Triceps
Forearms - Flexor carpi radialis (wrist flexor)
Inner Thigh - Gracilis, Pectineus, Adductors Longus, Brevis
STOMACH - Used for position and posture on the bike
Sit-Ups - target upper abdominals
Lie flat on your back, knees bent. Place your hands palm down on the
front of your pelvis, slowly sit up, sliding your hands down the front
of your legs and just over your knee caps, then slowly lower back
to the floor. Repeat this until you can feel it in your abdominals.
Leg Raises - target lower abdominals
Lie flat on your back, keeping your spine on the floor. Raise your
legs about a foot and a half of the floor and hold them there for
a few seconds. Then gently lower them to the floor. Repeat this until
you can feel it in your abdominals.
Waist Twists - target the obliques (side muscles)
Stand feet shoulder width apart. Place a bar across the shoulders
and hand your arms over it. Rotate your body at the waist, keeping
the feet still until you can feel a stretch down your side. Then rotate
to the other side. Don't bounce or twist violently as this increases
the likelihood of injury.
UPPER ARMS - Used for position and posture on the bike
Biceps Curl - target biceps
Select a comfortably light dumbbell (low weight, high repetition improves
endurance), stand feet shoulder width apart, with the weight in hand,
arms by the side, palms facing forward. Slowly and using controlled
movement, curl the weight up to chest level, then slowly return to
starting position. Repeat this action 10-15 times and then rest. Do
this sequence three times for a total of 30-45 repetitions. Do not
use a swinging motion to lift the weight as this will not give the
best results. It is better to use a lighter weight or rest and then
lift with proper form.
Triceps Extension - target triceps
Select a light comfortable dumbbell, holding it in one hand. Stand
feet shoulder width apart, bend forwards to form an 'r' shape with
the upper arm running parallel to the body and the forearm hanging
vertically (weight in hand). Slowly extend the lower arm backward
(without moving the upper arm or body) until it is fully extended.
You should feel the back of your arm tensing. Repeat this 10-15 times
for 3 sets.
FOREARMS - Used for position, control, posture and movement of
and around the bike
Wrist Curl - target wrist flexors
Select a light weight. Find a sturdy horizontal surface, place your
forearm palm up on this surface with your hand and wrist hanging over
the edge. Place the weight in your hand and lower the weight, then
slowly curl the weight up and back using only the wrist. Try not to
move the forearm. You should feel it on the inner part of your forearm.
Repeat this 10-15 times for 3 sets.
INNER THIGH ADDUCTORS - Used for gripping the bike and movement
around the bike
The best exercises for this muscle group are in the gym because they
mainly require specialist weights machines.
The basic exercises that have been listed above are just a few of
the many possible. Any improvement in fitness, however slight, will
increase your abilities both on and of the bike and make the experience
just that much better.
It is recommended that before starting any exercise program you seek
medical approval, and exercise under the guidance of professionals.