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How to NOT be Dani Pedrosa during your trackday…

10 Apr

It was recently announced that Dani Pedrosa would not be racing for the next 3 rounds due to fascial release surgery to cure arm pump. Too bad Casey Stoner won’t be replacing him. But that’s a different story.

First a quick review of what fascia is. Think of it like the casing around a sausage link. The muscle is the meat. If the fascia is restricted, the muscle cannot expand or stretch. Throw in something like arm pump and the lack of fascial extensibility can essentially “choke” nerves that run through the forearm and cause tingling, numbness and overall poor performance.

In my personal opinion, having worked in physiotherapy for 8-years, this was a good call by Pedrosa. This certainly wasn’t going to get better over the course of the season.

But how can you work to prevent this from happening to yourself? Massage Therapy.

The best thing you can do for yourself is some type of myofascial release using a foam roller or massage stick.

For most people, muscles around the hips and ankles get very tight. Using massage therapy for these can be very beneficial as long as it’s done consistently. Kind of like brushing your teeth.

If you only do it before seeing the dentist, he’ll know. You can’t lie on this one.

How will foam rolling improve your fitness for trackdays? First off, being able to move around on the bike is crucial. Tight muscles make moving around more work than it needs to be on the moto. Additionally, as we’ve seen with Dani Pedrosa, myofascial tightness can make riding fast a challenge: legs get tight, forearms pumUse a foam roller to improve mobility of the hips and get rid of restrictions and back pain.p, shoulders tense. All can be minimized with proper fascial health.

How do we maintain fascial health? Foam roll the glutes, foam roll the calves. Spend about 60-seconds per side on each muscle group.

If you’d like a video “how to” on rolling the glutes, calves and quads, click on the links provided. Additionally you can see a simple way to perform myofascial release on your forearms here.

Myofascial release will keep muscles from feeling tight and impeding nerve function. When nerves are compressed, signals are delayed and muscles certainly don’t function as they should. By keeping the fascia healthy, movement comes easy and natural.

I’ll warn you though, myofascial therapy is quite uncomfortable. It probably won’t be the most comfortable thing you’ve ever done, but it sure is effective.

So let’s prep for our track day and get ourselves in shape to really ride the wheels off the moto! I’ve read interviews and seen video of MotoGP and WSBK riders using A) a foam roller, B) a massage stick or ball C) a physiotherapist performing manual myofascial release techniques on them.

Give the foam rolling a try before you watch the motoGP race from Circuit of the America’s this weekend. Then roll a little afterwards as well! You’ll be a fitter rider for it! Leave a comment and let me know how the rolling went and any questions you have! I’d love to answer them.

Also, leave a comment on your podium finishers for the Austin race! I’ll go first!

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You’ve hit your own REV limiter… see how Lorenzo went through his.

13 Oct

Well, the 2014 MotoGP Championship has been sealed by Marc Marquez. After finishing 2nd in a great race at Motegi, he’s definitely no joke and is certainly going to give a strong effort for a three-peat. However, what was, and should continue to be, astonishing is Jorge Lorenzo’s ability to ride the wheels of the M1!

Despite claiming to be at 100% prior to the first race of the season at Qatar, Jorge Lorenzo attributes much of his recent form improvement to better fitness levels.

Yes, the teams of both he and Rossi are getting the bike more dialed in than earlier in the season. But, it cannot be underestimated, the improvement in Lorenzo’s physical fitness. The way he is able to muscle the bike around the track pays a huge compliment to the smoothness with which he also rides. And fitness is a major component to that!

Coming off of multiple surgeries for a broken clavicle, Lorenzo said he was at 100%. However, a broken clavicle can often have effects that reach far beyond just the fitness of shoulders and arms. It can affect grip strength, core strength and even leg strength. Who knew a little 14-cm bone could have such far reaching effects?

Consider this: the clavicle is the only bony attachment from the arm to the rest of the body. Even the shoulder blade glides over rib cage and is attached to the spine via muscles. So when the clavicle is injured, expect it to be difficult to hold on to anything. This means you can’t pick up weights, it’s almost impossible to ride a bicycle on the road, and leg exercises are limited to body weight. Even running is challenging because as you land from one foot to the next, the clavicle acts as a suspension unit. With the weight of the arm and shoulders pulling down on the clavicle, every little bounce is painful.

So getting back to the main point, how did Lorenzo break through his fitness plateau to get back on the motorcycle? And even more importantly, how can you do the same?

Below is a 30-minute workout that will greatly help improve muscular endurance and smoothness of transitions while on the motorcycle. Repeat the cycle as many times as possible within a 30-minute window.

  1. Stability Ball Plank for 60-seconds. Because core strength is imperative to every high performance athlete. Not sure if you’re an athlete? Check here.
  2. Lateral Slide Through. Start with a very wide stance and squat down to one side. Now, without rising back up, shift your weight to the other leg. Hold for 2-seconds on each side and shift back and forth 10 times per side.
  3. Bent Over Barbell Row. Pick up a barbell, pivot from the hips and tip forward. Keeping your weight on your heels to keep your back from being overloaded. Pull the bar to the bottom of your sternum. and lower back down. Perform 15 repetitions.
  4. Stability Ball Knee Tuck Push up. This is a great one for keeping posture while being tucked. And it is tougher than it looks! Start with hands on the ground and feet up on a stability ball. Simultaneously bring your knees forward and lower yourself into a pushup. Hold for 1-second and push back up and roll the ball backwards by straightening your legs. Perform 15 repetitions.
  5. Speed Squats. Perform a squat as fast as you can for 30 repetitions. Rest 30-seconds.

So as you can see, fitness, particularly cardiovascular fitness, can be done using body weight exercises. Stress your heart, stress your muscles, improve your TrackDay Fitness!

If you’re looking for a nutritional component, check out Precision Nutrition for a fitness/nutrition combo that can’t be beat!

Leave comments below and let me know how you like the workout!

Are Moto-racers body builders?

2 Jul

First off, I need to apologize for the lack of current material on the blog. I know many of you keep returning to the site waiting, nay, HOPING that there is new content up and available on how to improve your body for riding. So my sincerest apologies to you who have been waiting and asking for some new content.   Now on to the main event. Moto-racers kind of have a lack of identity in the fitness community. Essentially we are like jockeys. Except instead of riding horses, we ride some kind of cross-breed between a bull and a dragon. So it almost takes some kind of superhero to tame these modern aged motorcycles.

Bull rider + Dragon fighter = Moto racer

Although much of the training is between the ears, there are some people who are a bit more inclined to understand how the machine operates and how to get it to do what we need it to do. With this being said, how should a moto-rider train? Should we train like body builders, doing body part splits, while doing separate exercises for biceps, triceps and deltoids?

No. We are not trying get definition in a specific muscle. We are NOT training for aesthetics. Instead, we are training for function. That function is to operate a motorcycle on the threshold of ours and the bikes potential.

 Should we be doing random workouts that just flat out make us tired? That might not be specific enough. We need a workout considers the demands of the sport. This is the essence of “sport-specific” training! What the heck will bicep curls do for us? We can train our biceps using other exercises that more closely replicate movements of motorcycle racing, such as pull-ups, seated rows, or lat pull-downs. But bicep curls? Really?? 

The saddest part is that there are many trackday “experts” proclaiming to know fitness for racers yet all they do is offer some incredibly generic fitness program. As a trackday rider, I feel that my intelligence has been insulted when I see some of these motorcycle “fitness” programs.

STOP TRAINING LIKE A BODY BUILDER!! You are NOT a body builder. You’re a very specific athlete that has their own demands!

Here are some basic principles when it comes to working out for moto racing. 

  1. Circuit training will help keep your heart rate up. Use some sort of rapid exercise transitions. 
  2. Make sure each exercise is an entire movement. Think of it this way. If you crashed your bike, would the exercise help you push it off of you, pull it out of traffic or pick it up? No? Then you probably don’t need it. So going back to the example of bicep curls, will those help you lift a bike off of you? Probably not. 
  3. Crunches won’t do too much for you as far as abdominal work goes. Instead, focus on planks, pullovers, fall-outs, roll-outs and other anti-extension exercises. 
  4. Be sure to include some high intensity, low repetition strength work. In the Trackday Fitness training manual, we start each workout with 2-4 sets of low repetition strength training and finish with high volume body weight exercises.

So what might a sample workout look like?

A1. Dumbbell Bench Press x 6

A2,. DB Rev Lunge x 6e

A3. Plank x 60s  (perform exercises A1-A3 one after the other with 15-seconds of rest between exercises). 

B1. Barbell Deadift  x 5

B2. DB Lateral Squat x 12e

B3. SB Rollout x 20

Give that a shot and let me know what you think. Many of you have expressed interest in a trackday fitness program. it’s on it’s way!

Take care, be healthy, and check out www.precisionnutrition.com for their Lean Eating program! Get in your best shape ever and win $25,000! You’ll be race ready AND have a boat load of cash to really dial in your bike. Or heck, just buy a new one!

You, your moto and crappy fuel

9 Nov

Have you ever put low grade oil in your motorcycle? Have you ever switched oils or brands of fuel because you read that a different brand or type improves performance? Most of us have.

Oil selection is sure to incite a riot of some kind on most message boards or email lists. I know on Ducati.net, it’s a running joke that if it’s a slow day for moto news, starting an oil thread will liven the list up. And it happens for good reason. 

castrol robot racing

If you were a robot, what you put in your bike would be the only thing that matters. But you’re not. Eat better, ride better.

We know our motorcycle performance can vary based on oil. We know first hand that a low quality oil or even just a different brand can change the way the bike runs, shifts, cools itself and delivers power. 

Now stop for a minute and think about this: If you’re bike is this sensitive to fuel selection, how sensitive do you think your body is? 

Now if your eating habits aren’t the greatest, you probably can’t tell if a performance difference in your body. If you’re eating a lot of high sugar cereals or pastries for breakfast chased by a coffee with creamer for breakfast, a burger and fries for lunch and an over-cooked chicken burrito with a sweet tea for dinner you probably don’t realize how bad your body is running.

But like changing the oil or grade of fuel in your bike before a trackday or race, changing your eating habits can have a positive effect too! When changing to a better oil for the bike, you might think “wow! the bike is running really well today!” Similarly, when you add veggies or fruit to a meal and replace any calorie containing drink (ie soda, juice, milk, sweet tea or beer) with water or unsweetened tea or coffee, you’ll discover you feel better.

You may not know why, but you’ll feel like you’ve got a little more energy to ride your Ducati, BMW, Aprila or Yamaha to the limit. You’ll improve reaction time, move around on the bike better and ride harder longer. 

Want a kick-start to improving the fuel going in your body?

Check out Gourmet Nutrition and start eating better. It’s the cook book that every moto-athlete needs to lean up and become a better rider. Image

Put your bike on a diet…

19 Oct

Often times we run around and around chasing the lightest pieces for our motorcycles in an effort to save weight. We’ll read reviews on lighter wheels, we purchase hundreds of dollars of carbon fiber goodies to drop a quick 2-kg from the bike. However, most riders will never actually feel the weight loss from parts unless it’s a bigger part such as an exhaust.

Carbon fiber is not the most cost-effective way to reduce the bike's weight.

Carbon fiber is not the most cost-effective way to reduce the bike’s weight.

Now consider that on most bikes these days, the rider adds 50% of the bikes weight and that weight is sitting up high.

What if the rider could shave 5 or 6-kg off of his body and subsequently move that weight from the tallest part of the bike? Now that is something that a rider could feel. Not only would the bike move better because of less weight, but the mass of the rider is also lower now which will aid in handling as well!

But for most riders the question is how do you lose weight? There is so much junk about doing this diet, that diet, this exercise plan or that one. CrossFit is the best. No, intervals are best. No, P90x is best.

Look, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to lose weight. It just takes a little effort and some awareness of what you’re eating. The principles to losing weight are simple. How those principles are applied is a completely different game. While some people advocate cycling for hours and days on end.

While other suggest commercial fads, research shows that combining multiple exercises in a circuit like fashion creates a metabolic and hormonal onslaught that will see a person in prime shape to lose weight.

However, the nutrition part of the program is also a bit sketchy to most. And here’s the biggest problem with nutrition: Most people don’t give the nutrition changes enough time to have some effect on their body! People go “low carb” for 1-day and are then frustrated when nothing changes on day 2. Others try a fasting protocol and then get cranky because they’re hungry and give up on it.

But there are simple principles to do both. Here they are below:

  1. Eat when you’re hungry. Stop when you’re about 80% full. No matter what you eat, if you eat until you are 80% full, you’ll never overeat. It’s calorie control without counting calories (which is often a painstaking effort anyway).
  2. Stop drinking calorie containing drinks. Most drinks that have calories (think beer, soda, juice, wine) have at least 140-calories per can/glass. Now consider that most people have 2-3 of these per day and that’s an extra 400-calories per day!
  3. Get veggies with every meal and eat them first. For most people, veggies aren’t fun to eat. So eat them first, get them out of the way and then get to the fun stuff!

Now below are your exercise principles. Follow these when you exercise and you’ll see a difference pronto!

  1. Strength training using compound exercises. Squats, lunges, step ups, pushups, chin-ups, military press, hang clean, deadlift are all great strength exercises. They use a lot of muscle which means a lot of calorie burning!
  2. Minimal rest. Try to link 2-3 exercises together to create a lot of cardiovascular stress without breaking down form is key. So link non-competing exercises together: pushups, lunges, military press. Rest 30-seconds and repeat.
  3. Cardio doesn’t have to be running. Cycling is good, rowing machines, versaclimbers, 4-count body builders. But do intervals: work for 30-seconds, recover for 60-seconds, repeat x 8. This will take you 12-minutes to finish.

In summary, exercise and nutrition are your most effective ways to put your bike on a diet. Need help on how to do that? Sign up for our mailing list at the top of the page and I’ll send you a FREE copy of Trackday Fitness. It’s an 8-week training plan that will burn fat and improve your flexiblity and core strength.

6-things you should eat to make your bike QUICKER…

26 Sep

How often do we look at a moto review in Cycle World, MotorCyclist, or any of your favorite magazines and one of the factors the reviewer discusses is the weight of the bike. You’ll usually hear something along the lines of: “the {insert latest sportbike} comes in weighing 394-lbs while putting out nearly 140-hp.” The author then discusses the merits of how well the bike changes direction and accelerates.

But consider this: will that bike move better with a rider of 200-lb or a rider of 175-lb of the same skill?

I think we can all agree that the lighter rider will allow the bike to move better. When you’ve got an extra 25-lb on the bike, it’s going to make the bike more stable. More stability = less mobility. A bike than can flick left and right quickly is more mobile. Not to mention you’ll have the majority of that 25-lb up high, especially if the weight is in the rider’s mid-section.

So what can you eat to help you shed some of the weight? 

Well it’s pretty simple stuff. Most people when they talk about weight loss are always thinking there has to be some special food or strategy to eating that they do for a month, the weight comes off, and then they go back to eating the way they did when they were heavier!

But here are 5 things to eat that will help you get rid of those last 10-20 lbs. Each of these foods will effect your body by changing the way it uses energy. Some foods cause a hormonal environment in our body that causes us to store fat in our belly and love handles. Other foods (very surprising foods I should add) can cause our body to release fat to be used for energy. 

Eggs florentine

Eggs Florentine is a great way to get eggs & spinach together.

So here are your 5-foods that will lighten you up and make your bike quicker steering.

  1. Eggs – They are a perfect blend of protein and healthy fats. Yes, cholesterol is a healthy fat. And most of you dudes should start eating more because cholesterol is the chemical base for testosterone, which increases fat usage.
  2. Greek Yogurt – Yogurt is high in protein and probiotics which help keep your digestive system happy. A cup of Fage greek yogurt has 23-g of protein and practically nothing else! Protein helps to maintain muscle which in turn increases testosterone!
  3. Spinach – We need greens. And no green contains more protein than spinach. In addition spinach is very versatile and can be eaten as salad, with eggs, with chicken, with steak. It’s very, very versatile. In addition it has fiber and will fill you up with out adding a lot of calories.
  4. Broccoli – Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable and has been shown to increase metabolism and are also very high in fiber, antioxidants and are high in cancer preventing minerals. In addition they also have high levels of protein as far as veggies go. Again, broccoli is very versatile. Try steaming some and then throw some craisins and feta in with it. 
  5. Oats – high in fiber and slow digesting carbohydrates, oats are the perfect breakfast and post-workout meal for weight loss. Again, very versatile as they can be eaten on their own, add some fruit to them, mixed in with yogurt, made into pancake batter, or mixed in with a peanut butter smoothie! Check out Gourmet Nutrition for 6-different oatmeal recipes!
    Blueberry Banana parfait

    Parfait’s make a great breakfast. But they don’t need to be this fancy looking. Just throw it in a bowl and mix it up dude.

  6. Almonds – high in healthy monounsaturated fats and fiber, almonds are an amazingly portable food that can be ground up into pancakes, chopped and mixed with yogurt, roasted and eaten on their own or tossed in with a little dried fruit and chocolate chips for some trail mix. The fat in almonds has been shown to improve the ability of your cell to use fat instead of carbohydrates for energy. 

Each of these foods packs a mighty nutritional punch for a pretty low calorie cost. Now the goal isn’t necessarily to have the lowest calorie food no matter the cost. Instead, we want the most nutritious food. If that food happens to have a few more calories than the “low-cal” alternative, so be it. Aim for natural foods that are simple to cook.

Want to see 15 other super foods? Head over to Precision Nutrition and check out their downloadable superfood nutrition guide.

4 Important exercises to IMPROVE your riding safety

13 Feb

In many parts of the country, riding season is quickly coming upon us. With the coming of March, warmer temps and sunnier days are ahead! Just like your bike needs a tune up, your body could use a tune up too prior to heading out for a ride. 

How early should you prep? Well it depends on how much time you’re willing to commit. The more time, the better prepared you’ll be. 

The minimalist might stretch a little and then hop on the bike and go.

The guy who really wants to remove some rust will get started a few weeks prior to going out on his first ride. 

The first step is to regain some lost mobility and then rebuild some core strength/postural endurance. 

We can do this with a few exercises such as a Pigeon pose pushups, some calf stretches and some Backstroke Divers/thoracic spine extensions. 

Some of the core exercises we can do are Birddogs, Inchworms, side planks (see picture)hip bridging and hip crossovers.

Image 

Each of these exercises will improve your mobility and endurance on the bike, reducing fatigue and making you an overall safer rider when you get back out on your favorite road! 

Be safe, and enjoy the pleasant riding whether!