Last week on the Training Tuesday blog we talked about endurance training for motorcycle racers and track day riders looking to get in shape for the 2012 season. This week, we’re going to throw some strength training into the mix!
Just as cardiovascular endurance gives you the fitness you need to ride or race your motorcycle at speed for 20+ laps, strength training is equally important to help the rider with handling a 350+ motorcycle on the racetrack. Having a good overall strength conditioning, with emphasis on the muscles used on the motorcycle, will help!
So let’s take a look at some of the important muscle groups used when you’re riding your motorcycle on the racetrack:
Abs: This muscle group represents the core of your body. Core muscles such as your abs, oblique’s and hip flexors help control your body’s movements, transfer bodyweight and move in any given direction— all important stuff when you’re on a racetrack, leaned over at varying angles and shifting your body from side to side around each corner. Having a solid core will help you with your balance and movement on the motorcycle.
Legs: Different motorcycle riders use different techniques, but at the end of the day most of us use our leg muscles in one form or another to transfer our weight from one side of the motorcycle to the other, and to help steer the motorcycle. When putting together a strength-training plan for your legs, it is important to consider, and if possible mimic, you riding position. Consider deep squats that mimic riding position on a motorcycle to help develop your quad muscles, for example.
Chest, Shoulders & Back: In addition to using your legs to help steer the motorcycle, you are also using your upper body, including your back, shoulders and chest. Cable-type exercises are a great way to mimic some of the “push steering” type movements enabling your back and shoulder muscles similar to when you’re on a racebike.
Arms: When push-steering the motorcycle, riders are also using their forearms, biceps and triceps to a degree to help steer the motorcycle. General bicep strength training exercises, along with some curls to help increase the strength in your forearms and trcieps is ideal.
A sample General Preparation phase strength plan for motorcycle racers and track day racers might include the following workouts:
- Squats- using barbell or squat machine (Quads)
- Bench Press (Chest)
- Dumbell Shoulder Press or One Arm Cable Lateral Raise (Shoulders)
- Bicep Curls (Biceps)
- Tricep cable extensions (Triceps)
- Lunges (for hamstrings and glutes)
- Ab crunches (Abs)
- Oblique crunches (Obliques)
Be sure to include a 5-10 minute warm-up prior to beginning your strength training program. This can include a stationary bike ride, treadmill jog, or even jumping jacks and stretches.
Choose some strength exercises that work for you based on the equipment you have available, and stick to this plan for 4-6 weeks. If you’re also following an endurance plan, for best results you may wish to split up your days to do cardio in the morning and strength in the evening, to allow for adequate rest in between workouts. If you don’t have time to complete both, alternating strength and cardio days is always an option, or completing a strength workout with 25-30 minutes of a light cardio workout as a cool-down.
Sound like a lot of work? Nobody said training for motorcycle racing was easy, but the rewards will be great come April or May when you feel like a well-oiled machine! So, let’s get moving!
Next week I’ll talk about flexibility and give some tips on stretching. Until next time!