Are long, strenuous cardio workouts unnatural?
How do I stay fit for the motorcycle season in the pandemic?
Staying fit for the motorcycle season during the pandemic means: refreshing your physical performance and internalizing the driving dynamics at the same time. How does it work?
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
This is what this post brings:
Not fit for the motorcycle season?
Nobody can reliably predict when the corona pandemic will finally be over. When we have the green light again for free travel in attractive motorcycle areas. One thing is certain: at some point we will be able to go on a big tour again. Why, surely then a lot will be different.
For now, however, we remain trapped: in our home, which we are only allowed to leave “for compelling reasons”, in the 15-kilometer restricted area, which in the best case extends to the neighboring town, in the restrictions on work and leisure.
After almost a year, the indirect consequences of Covid appear in people: deterioration in physical condition, performance, loss of strength and mobility. Holiday extra pounds do the rest. Many are downright "rusty".
The Pegasus as mobility incarnate: copper engraving by Jacopo de ‘Barbari around 1510 │ © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett / Dietmar Katz
To get a feel for it yourself, it is enough to maneuver a heavy touring machine around in the garage or to turn far back to the left when turning onto a busy main road. If internal warning signals flicker, it is high time to improve your fitness on the motorcycle.
What do I have to do to prevent rusting?
The Tour planning during the bad weather months motivates you to get fit for the motorcycle season with targeted fitness training. The reward is a gain in sovereignty, safety and fun while riding a motorcycle.
Easier said than done when sports facilities and gyms have been closed for months. And not everyone has a gym at home. But considerable improvements in physical condition can also be achieved with on-board resources. More on that below.
What are the physical challenges of the new season?
Not only touring riders know that a long day trip has more stamina and concentration requires than a comparable trip by car. That requires continuous training.
Why is motorcycling exhausting?
- The motorcyclist is consciously and unconsciously physically challenged during the entire tour. Confident, dynamic driving requires permanent physical activity and thus Strength and agility - especially on bends, but also in stop-and-go traffic on the blocked motorway or when maneuvering.
- Weather influences and road conditions hose the driver in the long run and therefore require far more fitness on a long tour than driving a car.
Where are the hidden physical stresses?
- With all drivingenthusiasm escapes us that the Fahrattitude is actually unhealthy on a motorcycle: As with Spirit of Ecstasy, Rolls-Royce's legendary hood ornament, we stretch our head far too far in front of the center of gravity. It weighs about 6 kg - a full chunk that has to be held by the neck muscles and vertebrae. Their stress increases with increasing wind pressure at higher speeds. Sports tourers and super athletes know how to tell a thing or two about it.
- It is also unnatural about this posture that the shoulders are rotated inward. Especially on long journeys, this leads to poor posture - hunched back, drawn in chest, bulging stomach. Against this, gymnastics is the order of the day.
How does a lack of fitness affect safety?
- The reaction time becomes longer, as higher demands on constitution and concentration tire the body earlier.
- This diminishes the Responsivenessto make clear action decisions in a flash and intuitively in risk situations.
- Physical deficits due to a lack of fitness, especially in the case of insufficient fluid intake (e.g. microsleep on the highway).
- A motorcycle accident usually results in serious physical damage: What may still be halfway through in the car, inevitably becomes when riding a motorcycle fatal.
What makes me fit for the motorcycle season?
The methods described below are based on my own experience based on mean personal physical condition are tailored. If you want to start training, you shouldn't do so without the prior advice by a sports doctor / physiotherapist / experienced trainer and discuss which training goals and exercises are possible. This helps to avoid incorrect workouts and possible physical damage.
To counter these risks, it is important to prepare the body for the increased challenges of the road. That is why the personal fitness program should three training goals follow:
- agility improve
- endurance increase
- Physical strength strengthen.
Here, too, the key to success lies in the regularity of training. Depending on your personal constitution, all three training goals should be combined.
Greek pankration fighters │ © Galleria degli Uffizi, Firenze
What are the problems?
The Corona period has rusted us: Sports facilities and fitness studios are closed, outdoor exercise is restricted, sitting at the desk or in the armchair has increased. Consequence: If you move too little, you can get numerous physical problems over time - from stiff muscles and back pain to Coordination problems of the muscular system and even more. This makes it problematic when riding a motorcycle.
What should I do?
Only help against that consistent movement exercises. Above all, it is important to mobilize those joints that are important for handling the motorcycle and for driving itself: ankle and hip joints, spine. Let us only think of their stress when driving off-road or with a heavy load in stop-and-go traffic.
Strengthening the body is also important for stabilizing the body when riding a motorcycle Sense of balancethat is part of exercise training.
How do I go about training?
- When the public sports facilities are closed, you have to use your own four walls as a training facility. A few square meters of space and an internet-enabled television (or even a laptop) are sufficient, and tons of training videos open up on the internet. Everyone can choose what they like or what suits their training needs according to their own taste. I myself am (in terms of training) with the sports and gymnastics teacher Gabi Fastner that has something in its program for all training needs.
- Anyone who has problems with certain joints or muscles is part of the training program VoltarenIn good hands. Here you can put together an individual training program from almost 270 exercise videos to strengthen your muscles, loosen tension and mobilize your joints.
- If you want to get into it even more intensively, you should join in Feldenkrais exercises deal. After a serious accident, the French nuclear physicist Moshe Feldenkrais developed his own method of self-mobilization, which is specifically geared towards one's own personal needs. I got to know this method myself in the hospital and have continued to use it ever since. With positive surprises and results.
Adapted endurance training strengthens the cardiovascular system. The family doctor or cardiologist will be happy to give advice on how to best do this, taking into account your own constitution and up to which heart rate you should train.
Important for us motorcyclists: A well-trained cardiovascular system improves stamina and physical control of the machine over long distances.
In the absence of other options in bad weather and Corona, I have moved my cardio training to the living room. Quite simply, with the good old one Skipping ropeas it is also used in boxing training. For 20 to 30 euros you can get a professional skipping rope with which you can train at home at any time of the day or night until you look like Kaa in the jungle book.
Strengthen core muscles
Torso of a Centaur│ © Galleria degli Uffizi, Firenze
Many people confuse strengthening the muscular system with bodybuilding. This is fundamentally wrong, because anyone who wants to get fit for the motorcycle season does not train for maximum strength. Rather, it is about strengthening the core muscles so that they can withstand the physical demands of motorcycling over long and difficult distances.
Strengthening the abdominal, back and shoulder muscles is important for us. Not to forget, of course, the arm and leg muscles. Taken together, these are the muscle groups that are used the most when riding a motorcycle.
As long as you cannot put together a tailor-made training program under professional supervision (and have it monitored) due to the corona, you are also dependent on the Internet here. There are tons of instructions on how to do this - so just search and try.
Don't forget the pillion!
The social worker is probably missing the right protective clothing: Aegidius II Sadeler, “Robbery of Europe” (1619) │ © Musée du Louvre • Laurent Chastel
A long tour is exhausting not only for the driver, but also for the loved one Social partner. It must be able to withstand the route and the cornering equally well. If it is fit for such undertakings, it will swing like a feather through the curves without the driver noticing the additional sweet weight. Last but not least, it is helpful to train together and motivate each other to train.
Conclusion: the effort is worth it!
Fit through the scorching desert: On the Extraterrestrial Highway in Nevada
The more the sun shines and the longer the routes, the more it pays off that you have made yourself fit for the motorcycle season. Anyone who gets off the machine at the end of a long, difficult tour in the evening, stretches and can say: "I'm still in a good shape physically" - is on the right track.
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