My last blog article was about how important physical fitness is for motorcycle riders with regard to safety and enjoyment when riding their cycles.
This week I want to provide some motorcycle rider workout information that is useful for keeping in shape for riding.
I’m not a professional trainer, and as such will not be explaining individual techniques in detail. I encourage you to either explore the internet to find detailed information or consult a personal trainer.
If you have questions about whether you are healthy enough to perform these exercises at your current fitness level, please consult your physician before starting. It is very important that you start easy and don’t over do it.
Starting slow will allow your muscles to get used to routines and avoid excessive muscle soreness.
These are just a few suggestions. You will want to avoid stagnation by adding and subtracting exercises routinely. You wouldn’t do the same ride every time; you return to your favorites again and again, but add new rides for variety. Do the same with your workouts.
It is also very good for your muscles to mix in different angles and intensity. Keep your goal of working into riding shape in mind and pretty soon you will be saying to yourself “that would help me with…”
Some people will enjoy working out alone, you can also get a DVD with routines you can do in the privacy of your home. Others may want to join a gym to have some company. I prefer the gym route. For me working out alone just doesn’t cut it.
Increase Your Endurance
Cardio fitness is determined by how well you can workout for extended periods. So in order to build this aspect, you will want to choose routines that will increase your heart rate (the engine of your cardiovascular system).
Remember, start slow. You should always be at a level where you could carry on a conversation. That test will tell you if you are overdoing it. If your heart is racing so fast you have trouble speaking, slow down or rest for while until you can.
For you scientific people, you can use your actual heart rate as a test. Calculate your pulse rate target by subtracting your age from 220, which is your theoretical maximum heart rate (it varies by person, and by increased fitness over time). This tells you beats per minute (bpm).
Measure with a watch and your finger on a pulse point on your neck or wrist. Count how many heart beats in a minute’s time.
You will use your maximum heart rate to get a range you wish to exercise within. Take the BPM and multiply by .65, .75, and .85. These will become your starting rate targets. Aim for between 65% and 75% rate to start a program. So a 40 year old would have 117 bpm and 135 bpm for a target range. Once you reach this range, slow as needed to maintain it for a chosen length of time.
Maybe the first time you sustain it for 10 minutes, and increase it by a few minutes each time you workout.
Some great cardio workouts are bicycling, walking or running, jump rope, rowing, or simple jumping jacks, just to name a few.
Build Your Strength
When riding a motorcycle the primary areas you want to strengthen are your stomach, forearms and thighs (particularly the inner thigh). However, in addition to these areas your center of gravity, known as your “core”, needs to be strong.
It is your core that allows you to balance on the bike – your abdominal muscles, lumbar (lower back), and chest and shoulders are primary.
Weight training is a classic way to build strength. Be sure to start with moderate weight and do two to three sets of the same exercise, with repetition of the same movement 10 to 15 times.
Slow steady movements focused on good form are the key to getting maximum benefit from lifting weights. No herky-jerky movements. If you have to jerk a weight to lift it, it is too heavy for your workout.
If you are “feeling” anything, it is working. When you don’t feel it any longer, increase weight.
Breathing is important. Try exhaling upon lifting and inhaling upon setting the weight down. Do not hold your breath.
You can join a gym where you can use their free-weights, or most have specific machines made to maximize the benefits of a particular exercise. Gyms also have a variety of benches that make it easier to get results comfortably and safely.
Don’t feel like investing in weight lifting? You can build strength with push ups, crunches, squats without weights, lunges, chin ups, and so on.
Never Try To “Push Through It”
A very important mantra when working out is “if it hurts don’t do it”. Pain is a sign that something is wrong. Maybe your technique is off, or maybe you injured a muscle. Consult a professional for technique tips, or a doctor for an injury.
I hope you find success with whatever routine you choose. Let me know how it is going!
If you have any questions about motorcycle accidents in Pennsylvania, please don’t hesitate to take advantage of the no-fee consultation with Pennsylvania motorcycle accident lawyer Lee D. Gaber. Just call 888-292-5352 (888-Cycle-law) for your no obligation advice.