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 Basic Exercises - For Sports Bikers

Last Updated -
10th September 2021

If you have been leading a sedentary lifestyle and are considering purchasing a sports motorcycle, you should consider preparing your body because it is possible to damage your muscles and joints. So gentle exercises that strengthen these areas should be undertaken on a regular basis.

A sports motorcycle is not like a car, it requires physical strength in the lower back, neck, wrists, upper legs and arms to ride it. So unless your muscles and joints have movement as well as strength, you may find that your ability to properly handle the motorcycle is compromised, especially if you use it on a track.

IMPORTANT WARNING: Before undertaking any of these exercises shown in this article, please consult with your doctor for advice, especially if you are elderly or suffer from heart conditions or breathing problems. The doctor can provide tests to check your heart and lungs for fitness.

When I first started exercising, I concentrated on all the excises shown in these videos but now (after 2 years) I have progressed to a 15 minute exercise every morning that includes the choice bits that maintain my muscles, joints and hamstrings.

Stretching Hamstrings
If you have not been exercising regularly, especially if you are a couch potato, you may find that your leg hamstrings have shortened, whereby you may have difficulty in lifting a leg over the seat of a motorcycle, never mind riding it. When I first started opening up my hamstrings, I followed the exercises in this video completely, now I tend to exercise just a few of the basic split routines near the end of the video.
WARNING: Hamstrings if overstretched, especially at the beginning of an exercise, can cause severe pain in the legs that may take months to overcome  -


Lower Back Exercises
In 2015, I had chronic lower back pain and right leg sciatica intense pain. The hospital MRI scan identified that my lower back vertebrae where shot due to my old age and wear and tear. Riding a Yamaha 'Bobber' motorcycle had placed strain on the vertebrae and exposed the weakness. Over the 2015 period, I undertook these exercises which cured the rattling of my vertebrae joints by adding a twin layer of strong muscle down each side of my lower back. The only downside is that when sleeping at night, I feel as if I have a bit of wood between my lower back and the mattress - a small price to pay for no pain and great mobility. Like all my exercises, I continue the best bits of this routine every morning, mainly the simulated swimming routine, to maintain the joints and the muscles of my lower back -


Bone Impaction - Regeneration
Bone impaction is important so small jumps on a hard surface or running up and down stone steps helps to stimulate the bones growth and regeneration in the body. The easiest way to accomplish this is to walk barefoot on a hard surface but as your foot descends to the floor, push it down harder and you should feel the impact travel up the lower part of our leg and through the knee. Its a bit like tap dancing without shoes. Like all exercises, when you first start, make the stamp down of the foot a gentle one and gradually build up the downward pressure. If you want to do the same exercise for your arms, it is the press up position but you push your body up into the air, whereby your hands leave the hard floor and then catch your body weight as you strike back down on the floor.

Shoulder Pain
If you start riding a bike, especially if you are elderly, and find that shoulder strain or shoulder muscle knots are developing, then consider reading this - Trapezius Knot - Check The AC Joint For A Solution.

Muscle Building
To help build my muscles, I undertake
Isometrics (at home) without any equipment which has stripped away most of my body fat and replaced it with muscle. The simplest isometric exercise is to place you hands in front of you at about 3 inches from your body with your elbows bent, palms facing each other with fingers pointing upwards. Imagine there is a ball between your hands. You press your hands together but you never let them close or touch as there is a ball between them so you continue to keep them apart but press them harder and harder towards each other. You should feel those muscles in your arms start to hurt as the pressure is applied to them. You can do the same with other areas of your body by controlling your mind to imagine the weights.

Since I started this article and having built up my lower back muscles over the 2015 winter period, I have been out for a test run on a 2016 Honda Fireblade SP ABS Super Sports motorcycle. The bike was excellent and my lower back muscles supported me well during the 40 minute ride. I sustained no pain to my rear or my lower back but I found that during heavy braking, the G forces did cause slight pain to the muscles around my shoulder blades (not the spine) and on my wrists. I was aware that my knees were sliding forward during braking on the Fireblade's tank as it did not have knee slider grips so my shoulder back muscles and wrists as well as the top of my arms were taking most of the strain.

I am sure that in time and due to riding a 'full on' sports motorcycle these areas of my body will strengthen by default, albeit I will suffer some pain discomfort until they do. Anyway, I have included the following exercise into my usual routine and a side benefit is that if you stretch and arch back properly, you can feel the vertebrae in your back realigning themselves - check out this video -



Strengthening Wrists, Triceps and Side Muscles
By it's very nature a sports bike is designed to be ridden fast and the rider is subjected to some serious G forces, especially when heavy braking as a great deal of upper body weight is placed on the wrists and triceps muscles. To help strengthen my wrists, triceps and side muscles, I have included the following exercise into my usual routine - check out this video -



Strengthening Neck Muscles
I recently (2017) test rode a BMW S1000RR 'full on' sports bike and found that my exercises had paid dividends, with one exception - the bike's G forces due to the massive acceleration were pushing my helmet back, which crippled my front neck muscles for a week. I am fairly sure that it was not the 'sheer terror' and gritted teeth, due to the acceleration, that caused the pain.

So it was back to the drawing board and I added the following exercises to my list each day, although I started by using hand pressure to simulate weight on my neck as I lifted my head up and down and side to side. After a few weeks, I graduated to the head harness and weight as shown in the video -



It was not too difficult to source the right kind of training equipment which I purchased at Amazon and had it delivered to my door.

I decided to get a neck harness that included a chin strap as I also wanted to do side lifts - in the end I purchased a Senshi Head Harness and a 10Kg rubber weight disc, to hang on the end of the chain.

From the Internet - "Brand new Senshi Japan Version III neck head harness now featuring our V2 special 'attacker' design, made to allow the user to work out muscles in the neck at all angles and directions meaning you can put on as much muscle as you want in the exact places you want. The head harness comes with a heavy duty adjustable metal chain, one size fits all. Head harnesses are generally used in order to develop or strengthen muscles in the spine as well as neck, this is very beneficial in MMA as it allows the fighter to have a strong neck that can avoid grapples such as the guillotine"

  • High Quality Nylon Material Head Harness
  • Soft padding to reduce discomforts caused by other head harnesses
  • Allows you to work out neck muscles all over your neck at all angles
  • High quality materials used to produce neck head harness
  • Adjustable heavy duty metal weight chain

Well I have no intentions of being grappled in the guillotine, whatever that is, but hopefully over the next 4 months, my neck will strengthen for 2018?

2021 Update
It seems that
Senshi Head may be out of business as I cannot locate them on the internet but Amazon offer a wide range of similar neck harnesses.

Well, despite the exercises and the neck muscle buildup (I now have a size 18.5" collar size) my neck vertebrae never did improve, they were too far shot to support my head vs the G forces when riding a 'full on' sports motorcycle. However (ever the optimist) I still live in hope. In 2018, I purchased a Triumph Speed Triple RS which offers me the performance and the handling, in a more upright position.


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Richard Lawrence
United Kingdom