MotoGP goes to Mugello: Fitness for a Fast Track

20 May

While Le Mans is a bit of a tight track with the occasional straight away, the top speed is under 280 km/h. It has quite a few slower, tighter corners.

To really hammer on the throttle, a solid core and strong legs are important to make keep the majority of the weight up on the front of the bike. Otherwise, you open up the throttle and it wants to wheelie. 

Mugello on the other hand has the longest straight on the schedule, sees a top speed of over 320 km/h and has multiple very fast corners. So how does this change the fitness of requirements of riding? How will Marc Marquez, Andrea Iannone, and Dani Pedrosa manage with their injuries?

Let’s first talk about a track with a long fast straight away. The first thing to consider is the fitness required for the hard acceleration as well as the hard deceleration at the beginning and end of the straight.

Obviously crunches would be your first thought. However, take a look at how the body functions on the bike and you start to see there are some different options.

First off, the thing we don’t want to do is to try and pull our selves forward using the handlebars. I’ll give you 2 guesses as to why, but you’ll only need 1.  Full throttle acceleration will cause the front wheel to get light. It gets even lighter if you pull yourself forward using the bars. Use your legs to push the back end down instead!

If you don’t practice getting strong from down low, you’re going to struggle to use your legs on the bike. Photo credit: http://www.bretcontreras.com

That’s right, you’ll pull the wheel right off the ground and only encourage a wheelie. Not what you’re looking for when you’re trying to move forward.

So you’ll need some good leg strength from the crouched position. It is exactly for this reason why it’s important to work on getting a very low squat.

So whether you use a dumbbell to do goblet squats or a barbell to do front squats, either way we just need to focus on getting our hips down.

This way we push our weight over the front wheel to help keep it down without unintentionally pulling the front of the bike up.

The second thing to consider is on deceleration. We need to use our legs to grab the tank and keep us from sliding forward over the front wheel. Yes the bike will turn better with more weight up front but it also makes  it easy for the back to move around and unsettle the bike. Here we can use our arms as well to keep us from sliding forward. However, remember that if we put to much pressure onto our arms, it gets transferred to the front wheel. With that being said it is important to keep a solid posture by using our glutes and core to keep us from folding over during braking.

Looking at the image of the squat, you can see that doing squats also requires good posture. This makes squats a very good choice of exercise when training for riding. However, here’s a nugget of information for you to make the squat even better for moto riding.

When at the bottom of the squat, rise up 1-2 inches and hold that posture, focusing on contracting your glutes and postural muscles for 3-4 seconds before returning back to the up right position. Do this 2-4 sets of 6-12 repetitions.

So it’s a simple trick, but throw it into your workouts and see how well it transfers over to your riding! You’ll be amazed!

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