The moto is out of balance… is your body also?

15 Jan

We hear a lot that motorcycles in MotoGp or Superbikes are “out of balance.” Heck, look at the trials Ducati has faced over the past 6 years. They can’t seem to figure out why their MotoGP ride can’t turn! Even the almighty GOAT Valentino Rossi and his pal Jeremy Burgess couldn’t get that thing squared away!

But then look at the Yamaha since Jorge Lorenzo has been there. That bike has been the most “balanced bike” in the paddock. It balances power and agility. The Ducati and Honda both being a bit too abrupt on the power and not quite agile enough to stick with the Yamaha.

Rossi loses the front of the Ducati

Rossi had problems with the Ducati from the ground floor. This one infamously took out the only person who could actually tame the red devil, Casey Stoner. Image source:

Now granted there are a ton of physical forces that contribute to the balance of a bike and it being too stable vs too loose. But our bodies can be just as complicated.

When we are looking at training our bodies for riding on the track, we need to find a healthy balance between being too loose and too stable. There is a relationship between stability and mobility. Like a motorcycle, different parts of our body need to be mobile while others are more stable.

Most of us are too stable. We lack the ability to move freely. This is a result of Newton’s 2nd Law of Gravity – Inertia. An object at rest will stay at rest until acted on by an outside force. When we sit all day in our chair at work or in the car, our body says “Well, it looks like the owner wants me to stay in this position because he’s not doing much to change the position!

So we have to work on finding our own balance in our body. We need to be both mobile and stable. Functional Movement Screen creator Gray Cook has recognized the following relationships (the body joint:quality needed)

  • ankles:mobility
  • knees:stability
  • hips:mobility
  • low back:stability
  • upper back:mobility
  • shoulders:stability
  • cervical spine:mobility

Hopefully you recognize the alternating pattern there. When we have regions that have the opposite of what is needed, the joint above or below will compensate and develop the incorrect quality. This usually leads to injuries. To be in top shape for your motorcycle trackdays or club racing, you’ll need to work towards these qualities.

Now because I mentioned that we need to work on these qualities, it wouldn’t make much sense for me to stop there. So here are a few exercises, along with video links, that you can do to improve the qualities of the desired.

Ankle mobility: ankle mobilizations/calf stretches

Knee Stability: Split Squats

Hip Mobility: deep lunge, hip crossover, supine hip IR

Low back stability: Slow Mountain climbers

Upper Back mobility: Reverse diving,

Shoulder stability: Pushup + rotation

Cervical mobility: back scratch head tilt

Now for each of these exercises, I recommend doing 10-20 per side. But just be prepared, if you’re tight or too loose, you’ll probably wake up to some soreness tomorrow. But by addressing these issues, we find that beautiful balance between strength and agility that will make moving on the bike much easier and give us the endurance to keep our brain and body focused on the skill of trackday riding until the end.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this post or any other post! I encourage you to leave feedback or perhaps there is a topic you’d like to learn more about! If so, list it in the comments section and we’ll get it addressed! Take care and work on getting your body dialed in to get the most out of your motorcycle on the track!


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