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
Stomach - internal / external obliques, abdominals
Upper Arms - Biceps, Triceps
Forearms - Flexor carpi radialis (wrist flexor)
Inner Thigh - Gracilis, Pectineus, Adductors Longus,
Brevis and Magnus
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
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