Some tips on rider fitness and wellbeing
With the dry hot weather lately, the warmed asphalt has declared the riding season now officially in full swing. Other than being in the right mood, having the right mindset, and wearing the right gear, is your body ready to take a beating from the twisties and then some? Here are a few tips for both track riders who are looking to shave off seconds on their laps and commuters who are constantly stuck in stop and go traffic under the beating sun.
During the course of a ride, almost every muscle in the body will come into play in some form or another. Lack of fitness can hinder performance and focus, especially after a prolonged ride. There are several areas of fitness and well-being which when addressed can improve rider performance and safety. When the body is fatigued, reaction times lengthen, the ability to maneuver the bike can be impeded, and the ability to make sound, snap judgments can be impaired.
Dehydration is a major contributing factor to fatigue. A good supply of liquids is essential to keep the body operating effectively. Because wrapped up in leather gear on a sunny day will have the same effect as an infrared sauna. So make sure to hydrate yourself with liquids or electrolytes on longer rides. It is worth noting that in top-level motorsports, such as Formula 1, some drivers can perspire up to two liters during the course of a race. Of course, this is also climate dependent and there are other factors to be considered.
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 focus, and ride to a higher level for longer.
A good start to improving rider fitness is cardiovascular exercise. This could be 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. Cardio exercises also tones various skeletal muscles, increases joint strength, and improve body posture. And in turn, reducing the general aches and pains associated with riding for long periods of time.
Some of the more predominant in action when riding are outlined below:
- Stomach ( External and internal obliques, abdominals)
- Upper arms (Biceps and Triceps)
- Forearms (Flexor Carpi Radialis, wrist flexor)
- Inner Thigh (Gracilis, Pectineus, Adductors Longus, Brevis and Magnus)
The stomach is used to position yourself on the bike and to maintain posture. Sit-ups targets the upper abdominal, and leg raises targets your lower abdominal. Waist twists targets the obliques, which are your side waist muscles. There are a lot of variations and styles of sit-ups and ab workouts so you can really pick your favorites. We strain our core section every time we shift our weight, especially if your arms are kept too stiff with locked elbows.
Your upper arms are the front suspensions of your body. All the shock. push and pull, and even vibrations from the road will transfer from your arms to your torso. Bicep curls and tricep extentions will train your upper arms to be more compromising in transferring the stress received from the handle bars. And it definitely helps when you're pushing your bike out of a sloped parking stall.
Your forearms are used for control, position, posture and movement of and around the bike. Wrist curls will help you build the often neglected forearms. Things such as Throttle control, clutch control, braking, or holding onto the handle bars for your dear life, all require a steady forearm. (Pumping a hydraulic clutch also has similar effect )
Ever feel like you just rode the rodeo after a long rip? Most people cannot withstand more than a few minutes of constantly pressing and tightening their inner thighs. The only way to strengthen your inner thigh is to go to a gym and find a adductor machine.
The basic exercises that I've listed above are just a few of the many possible. Any improvement in fitness, however slight, will increase your abilities both on and off the bike and make the experience just that much better. And of course it is recommended that before starting any exercise program you seek medical approval, and exercise under the guidance of professionals. I hope it was not too dry of a read, feel free to add anything that I've missed. Now get out there and keep the shiny side up
I will do some crunches and drink water before bedtime.
Thanks for the heads up!
I was hot earlier and a little dehyrdated, so I stopped at a pub for an alcoholic beverage.
That's not sacreligous, is it?
DNA, I gotta give up the bike...
Last edited by bandito; 06-05-2009 at 08:12 PM.
eat lots of burger king whenever you stop.. a rider who is not in motion (and not eating burger king) should hydrate with coffee and cigarettes..
that's all for this weeks PARTICIPACTION fun-facts!
This thread looks like a paste and clip from a health magazine.
Are you kidding me? I couldn't cardio my way out of a wet paper bag. That's why I ride high performance motorcycles!