This week we’re going to take a few minutes to talk about flexibility and why it’s important when you’re training for motorcycle racing or trackday riding. Before you immediately hit the “Back” button or start to yawn….. don’t worry I’ll keep it short. Truth be told I dislike stretching as much as the next person, but I know when I force myself to do it on a regular basis not only do I feel much better and my muscles feel less tight, but I know deep down that ultimately greater flexibility will also help prevent injuries when things go wrong on the racetrack.
The Benefits of Stretching
While it may seem tedious at times, stretching before or after a workout actually doesn’t take very long, maybe only 5-10 minutes of your time, but the benefits can be great. Stretching helps improve flexibility and increases blood-flow to the muscle; which in turn can improve physical performance and perhaps more importantly for racers, decrease the risk of injury.
How and When to Stretch
Generally speaking, you don’t want to stretch cold muscles. So the best time to stretch is following a light 5-10 warm-up or following a workout or activity. Warming up the muscle before stretching will help prevent injury.
When stretching, you’ll want to focus on major muscle groups such as quads, hamstrings, hips, back, neck and shoulders —all muscles used in riding your motorcycle.
Things to Consider
For best results, stretch daily. Stretching shouldn’t hurt—you’ll want to feel some tension but stretching shouldn’t be painful. Also, you shouldn’t bounce when you stretch. Bounces can cause small tears in the muscle, leaving scar tissue until the muscle heals, tightening the muscle even further and decreasing flexibility.
When All Else Fails
Try Yoga. It’s a little more time consuming than stretching at home, but joining a yoga class will motivate you to get out and stretch and your body will love you afterwards.
No matter when or how you choose to stretch, the important thing will be consistent and stretch on a regular basis. It’s hard to find the time, but a few minutes a day could really save you in the long run and maybe even help improve your performance on the racetrack…at the very least it might help you fall better.
Until next week! Keep it up!