Great Ways to Stay in Riding Shape
Spring is Coming! Make Sure Your Body is Ready to Ride!
Better weather is coming. We promise. And when it does, you’ll want to be ready to ride. It takes strength to wrestle a motorcycle around curves. It takes agility to maintain balance. If you’re not fit, you’ll tire easily and that will decrease your ability to control your bike, your judgement, and your reaction time. Instead of pining for the feel of air on your face on the open road, take some time each day to keep fit to ride.
You can find several websites that offer workout tips, even full workout routines for motorcycle enthusiasts. (Remember to check with your doctor before starting a fitness regimen.) Look for these types of exercise and do the ones that appeal to you.
Strength training begins with the core or the torso: abdomen (stomach), lumbar (lower spine), chest, and shoulders. Motorcycle riders also need a lot of strength in their forearms and inner thighs. Don’t overestimate your abilities, here. Start with smaller weights and more repetitions and build up. Lift and lower weights slowly enough to feel your muscles work. It’s the resistance that matters, so rushing is counter-productive. And don’t forget to breathe—breathe out when you lift and breathe in when you lower the weight.
You don’t need fancy weights to begin with. Milk or laundry soap containers filled with water (and the caps on) work well. A pint of water weighs a pound. When you buy weights, look for a set that you can handle for eight reps without too much trouble.
Skip a day between weight-training exercises to allow muscle to build. If an exercises asks you to work first one side and then the other, don’t alternate sides. Instead, do all the reps for one side, then do all the reps for the other side. Don’t stop between repetitions, except if it hurts. You don’t have to push past the “pain barrier.” If it hurts, dial back on the weight or the number of repetitions.
In addition to strength, motorcyclists need endurance, flexibility, and balance.
You can find workouts that motorcyclists can use to increase endurance (aerobic exercise) and flexibility on the Internet. Many riders say that bicycling is the best endurance training for motorcyclists, but it’s winter now. Instead, use your stairs. Up and down. Faster. Get that heartrate up! Don’t forget to stretch. Flexibility is very important for motorcycle riders. Consider yoga and do some weight work with your legs. Remember to warm up before you start stretching or you might injure yourself—walking works well. Balance exercises are harder to find; the ones specifically for motorcyclists generally stress strengthening the core—and that is important.