Your first step on the road to total health and your best life is simple: You can’t achieve success if you are not moving toward something. So before you do anything else, you have to establish both short and long term goals. Eating healthy and working out more takes commitment, but if I can do it you can too.
During the winter months I do these sample exercises that make a huge difference physically when riding my motorcycle no matter the distance. Come spring I’m good to go, feeling stronger than ever. With a healthy eating plan and a daily exercise routine you too will be ready to ride. One of the most important factors is cardiovascular exercise.
This includes activities such as: Running, cycling, swimming, swimming, cross country ski, snowshoeing. During the winter season facilities such as the YMCA have indoor running tracks, a pool for lane swimming, as well as cycling Spine class. Spin class is perfect to work at your own pace as you are in charge of your own resistance while toning your complete body, sweating like crazy…Drink lots of water before and after each work out. These kinds of exercises improve fitness of the heart and lungs, enabling them to get oxygen and essential nutrients to the various muscles more effectively. With these cardiovascular exercises you also tone and strengthen various skeletal muscles.
To gear up for the 2012 riding season large muscles aren’t generally relevant, however, toned muscles with an emphasis on endurance will sure help to maneuver your motorcycle more efficiently. Improving your general fitness and muscle tone will also keep aches and pains associated with riding for long periods of time, by increasing joint strength and improving body posture. Yoga & Pilates classes are also an excellent way to empower the core and lengthen and strengthen each muscle in your body.
When it comes to exercise, picking the correct number of repetitions-whether they’re high, low or somewhere in the middle-is what ultimately determines the speed of your results and the quality of your efforts. So How many repetitions should you do to get results in record time? Your optimal solution is to use all 3 ranges.
For stronger muscles: 4 to 6 reps Choosing a weight you can lift for only 6 or fewer repetitions is the way to go. For shapely Muscles: 8-12 reps To add more muscle and improve their shape and size, using a weight you can only lift for eight to 12 repetitions is the perfect formula. For resilient Muscles: 15-20 reps If improving muscular endurance using a lighter weight that lets you do over 12 repetitions (preferably between 15-20 per set) is your ticket It is recommended that before starting any exercise program you seek medical approval, and exercise under the guidance of professionals.
Listed below are some of the more predominant muscle groups in action when riding any motorcycle. I have listed an example exercise for each muscle group.
STOMACH: Used for positioning on the bike. Sit-ups: target upper abdominals Set up: Lie flat on your back, and place both hands lightly behind your head, elbows flared out. Do not pull your head with your hands instead keep your head locked. Have your chin lifted and focus your eyes on the ceiling to keep proper form. Action: As a unit, lift your head, shoulders and upper back off the ground, shortening the distance between your rib cage and your hip bones. Pause a moment at the peak contraction, then slowly lower back to the start. Repeat this until you feel your abs scream. Then do 2 more….
LEG RAISES: target lower abdominals Action: Lie flat on your back, keeping your spine on the floor with both arms and hands at your side for support. Raise your legs about a foot and a half off the floor and hold them there for a few seconds. Then gently lower them to the floor. Repeat this until you can feel it in your abdominals. Repeat 10-15 times for 3 sets. *Option to set up the same way but instead of lowering both legs alternate one leg at a time.
OBLIQUES: used for keeping good posture when riding, backing up, moving forward etc. Cross over crunch (floor) Set up: Lie face up and cross one ankle over the opposite knee. Place both hands slightly behind your head, elbows flared out. Action: Curl up and across exhale, lifting and twisting toward your opposite knee, hold briefly, squeezing the oblique’s, and then slowly lower to the start inhale. Do all reps on one side before switching to the other side.
UPPER ARMS: used for position and posture on the bike Bicept curl- target bicepts Select a comfortable light dumbbell weight or whatever you can find. Low weight, high repetition improves endurance), stand your feet shoulder width apart, with the weight in hand, arms by the side, palms facing forward. Slowly using controlled movement, digging your elbow into your side curl the weight up to chest level then slowly return to the starting position. Repeat this action 10-15 times and then rest. Do this sequence three times for a total of 35-45 repetitions. Make sure this movement is slow and controlled and not a swinging motion.
TRICEP EXTENSIONS: targets triceps Action: Select a light comfortable dumbbell, holding it in one hand. Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Bend forward to form an r shape with the upper arm running parallel to the body and the forearm hanging vertically (weight in hand). Slowly extend the lower arm backward (without moving the upper arm or body) until it is fully extended. You should feel the back of your arm tensing. Repeat this 10-15 times for 3 sets.
FOREARMS: used for positioning, control. Posture and movement of and around the bike, clutch. Etc. Wrist curl: Targets wrist flexors Action: Select a light weight. Find a steady horizontal surface, place your forearm palm up on this surface with your hand and wrist hanging over the edge. Place the weight in your hand and lower the weight. Then slowly curl weight up and back using only the wrist. Try not to move the forearm. You should feel it on the inner part of your forearm. Repeat this 10-15 times for 3 sets Hand and wrist strengthening: To strengthen your hands and fingers to pull in the clutch, brake Squeezing and releasing a small Foam ball for a couple of minutes. Another traditional Chinese exercise includes the use of Chinese hand balls available in many different sizes and materials. Action: Holding 2 balls in one hand with your forearm parallel to the ground. Use your fingers to move the balls around your palm, first one way then the other. These exercises strengthen your hands, wrists, fingers and forearms; they also improve your hand coordination and stimulate the flow of vital energy and blood in your body.
LOWER BACK: strengthener targets Muscles: erector spinae, gluteus maximus, and hamstrings Set up: Lie face down on a mat with your legs shoulder- width apart and your arms extended above your head. Keep your spine relaxed and your eyes focused on the floor. Action: raise your chest and legs off the ground simultaneously, keeping your arms and legs straight. Your upper and lower body should be a foot or less from the floor at the top of the move. Contract your glutes, pause for 2 seconds, and then inhale as you lower your body back to the starting position. Rest for one count, and then repeat. What to do: 3 sets of 12-15 reps. This move is effective because it not only works your lower back, glutes and hamstrings, but it also engages your core, upper back and shoulders. The superman also improves your posture by strengthening your posterior chain-the muscles on the back of your body as well as the muscles of your upper back and shoulders. If you find this move difficult, lift only your leg and right arm, and then switch sides.
LEGS: Adductor: The inner portion of the thighs consisting of the adductor magnus, longus and brevis, as well as the gracilis and pectineus muscles. Inner thigh adductors: Used for gripping the bike, Moving bike forward and back. Doorway resistance band adductor pulls: Set up: Attach a resistance band securely between a door and the doorjamb. Attach The looped end of the foot closet to the door and then step away from the door enough so you can feel the tension in the resistance band. You may need to split your stance a bit. Action: Flex your toes of the leg attached to the band toward your shin. Next, keeping your leg extended slowly move your foot across the opposite foot. Feel the tension in your inner thigh, then slow return to the start position. Repeat. After completing the first set of reps, switch sides and repeat the sequence. Do not rotate your torso; stabilize yourself by holding on to the door knob and keeping your body vertical throughout each set. Also, flex your toes toward your shin. Option you can also do this move in the gym using the low–pulley cable apparatus (of a crossover machine, for instance) attached to an ankle cuff. Abductor: The outer thigh muscle Doorway resistance-band abductor pulls Set up: attach a resistance band securely between the door and the doorjamb. Attach the looped end of the resistance band around the foot farthest away from the door, and then step away from the door enough so that you can feel the tension in the resistance band. You may need to split your stance a bit. Action: Flex your toes of the leg attached to the resistance band toward your shin. Next, keeping your leg extended, slowly move your foot away from the opposite foot. Feel the tension in your outer thigh, and then slowly return to the start position. Repeat. After completing the required number of reps, switch sides and repeat the sequence. Option: you can also do this at a low-pulley cable station using an ankle strap.
QUADRICEPS: Used for maneuvering your motorcycle. Dumbbell Squat: Target Muscles: Quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteus maximus, lower back and caves. Set up: Stand straight with your feet shoulder width apart and hold a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing in. Your arms should hang down by your side. Action: Keeping your head and back straight, slowly squat down until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Push yourself back up to the start position and repeat. Keep your knees directly above your toes, but don’t let them extend past your feet. Last but not least
SHIN TOE TAPS: strengthens your shins. Working your shins not only helps when shifting gears but also prevents shin splints associated with running. Action: Standing or sitting with feet hip distance apart keep your heel on the ground and tap the toes keeping your leg from the knee down facing forward and not turning your knee. Count to 10 then tap your toes facing forward for one tap then tap to the inside then forward again. Tap your toes on the left foot then rotate to the other side. The basic exercises that I have listed above are just a few of many possible. Any improvement in fitness, however slight, will increase your abilities both on and off the bike making your riding experience a soelfull one. Just by riding your motorcycle you will get a workout. Now with these tips your body will thank you.
Happy riding season. Marcy Stewart (Iron Cowgirl) www.buffmomsandbabies.com