Tag Archives: motoGP

!MotoGP SPOILER! Fitness is Foundational.

4 Apr

After many blog posts, I’ve realized that I may be leading many people think that if your fitness is up to par, then there is no reason that you can’t ride at the top of the class and you’ll keep the bike upright all day long.

Well, after watching the Argentina MotoGP race, I was brought back to reality (rather harshly, as I am a Ducati guy).

When 8 of the worlds best motorcycle riders fail to complete the race, that’s not an indication of a lack of fitness. Instead it’s an indication that some other factor has come into play.

It’s tough to say that MotoGP guys aren’t in as good of shape as they could be. Nobody in the paddock is overweight or even average sized for their height. All are on the thin side. However, they are definitely strong with great anaerobic endurance. While their body shape and size is definitely an asset in a sport that relies on an optimal weight:power ratio, most track day riders are not that same size.

Back to the race this weekend. As rider after rider spilled to the tarmac, it was evident that these guys are strong enough. After hitting the deck, sliding 20-30 meters then sprinting to their bike and picking it up, their heart rate is going. Yes, adrenaline plays a role. Yet, many of these riders were operating at their highest levels of fitness!

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Espargaro and Crutchlow run to bikes after crashing in Argentina. Photo: http://www.crash.net

You start to look at the riders who can sprint to their bike and pick it up out of the gravel pit and get back to riding. Then look at those who can’t get their bike going. This is where fitness definitely plays a role! Fitness allows us to keep riding even after a spill. It allows us to keep going after a long day at the track.

And if you’re Andrea Dovizioso, it allows you to finish the race!

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Dovizioso pushes his Ducati the final 2 corners to secure 13th position in the Argentina MotoGP race. Photo Credit: http://www.zigcdn.com

So how does this play into your trackdays? Fitness is the foundation for sport. Athletes who are not fit for the sport will not be participating for long. Just because you’re currently riding track days does not mean that you have to stop and “get fit” before continuing to ride. Any improvement in fitness will pay dividends.

As for fitness advice following the Argentina GP, if you can put treadmill pushes or plate pushes into your training program. To do treadmill pushes, turn the treadmill off, get on it, grab the handles in front of you and start driving the belt using YOUR power. Lean into it and drive your legs into the belt. You’ll find there is a lot of resistance there. March on the belt for 15-20 seconds followed by a rest of 60-90 seconds.Repeat 10-times. As you improve in your ability to do this, try to push it as hard and fast as you can for 15-20 seconds. You’ll find this is incredibly exhausting but it will prepare you for those maximal effort situations such as dragging your bike off the road or pushing it for a bump start when the battery dies!

Have a great week and don’t forget next week’s MotoGP race at Circuit of the Americas in Texas!

Is Jorge Lorenzo faster because of THIS?

12 Feb

A recent report by the ever informed David Emmet over at www.motomatters.com Jorge Lorenzo has come into the MotoGP pre-season testing at Sepang an impressive 4-kg lighter than he was at the same test last year. If you recall, Lorenzo had a bit of a rough start to last year following his shoulder surgery.

However, this year he looks to be on his game due to his improved fitness. Although 4-kg may not seem like much to most Americans, but at 5’7″ tall, and 148-lbs, losing 8.8-lbs on an already pretty lean body is quite the chore. To lose weight and minimize strength losses takes a fine balancing act.

Most motoGP riders are very lean. So to lose an additional 8.8-lbs without diminishing strength is a fine balancing act.

So how did JL99 make this happen? And how can you implement the same strategy as we are now 30-90 days away from race season, depending on your climate?

First off, JL99 has a guided training program. During the off-season he hits the weights hard. Not in terms of a body building workout, but more in the shape of a blend of cardiovascular training and strength training. Being that he is a spokesperson for Reebok, he’s probably a big proponent of CrossFit.

Additionally, he probably has a nutrition coach at his disposal to help him with what to eat and when to eat it. (Get similar results here with the Precision Nutrition System!).

So what type of training program might somebody like JL99 do?

Well first off, the program develops overall fitness or General Physical Fitness (GPF). If you aren’t training right now, you definitely need to start a training plan to get your body limber, supple and stronger. A simple 3-day/week training program will get you moving in the right direction. In fact, if you sign up to our mailing list by clicking the box up in the right hand corner, we’ll email you the introductory phases to the TrackDayFitness training plan. It’s a 3-phase, 12-week program, and when paired with the previously mentioned Precision Nutrition System, will have you looking, moving and feeling better than you quite possibly ever have before.

So what is it that Lorenzo IS actually doing during his workouts?

First off, he includes heavier strength training. Look, it never hurts to become stronger. And truth be told, you can get stronger without adding massive amounts of muscle. But as you’ve seen and read, riding a MotoGP machines is like riding a bull without horns for 45-minutes: you’ve got to be strong or it will eat you alive.

MotoGP rookie Jack Miller found this out at the post-season Valencia tests in 2014 as he made the jump from Moto3 to MotoGP.

That increase in power and the grueling lap count left the 19-year exhausted and he revealed he has plans to alter his winter training regime.

“Of course I’m tired. We did 71 laps. We need just more or less bike time to get my strength on the brakes. We’re working on getting a trainer and we’re starting a new programme. We had to wait for the Moto3 season to be over before we can do it. Building muscle isn’t what we are aiming for. We just need to use the muscle we have better so it’s lean.”

His weight coming into the Sepang 1 test? 8-kg (17.6-lbs) heavier than at the Valencia test! But he admitted he felt much stronger and in much less fatigued following the test.

Back to the main point; strength is key. Basic exercises such as deadlifts, bench press (for when you’re on the brakes) and squats are great for building raw strength. 

Next, muscular endurance is crucial. Again, a MotoGP race is 45-minutes of “full throttle.” Granted most track day sessions are 20-30 minutes, but you get the point. When we get tired, we make mistakes. You need to be sharp at all times!

Exercises in this category are lunges, pushups, rows, 4-count body builders/burpees, kettlebell swings, dumbbell overhead press and leg curls. These are exercises you’ll want to work up to higher rep ranges with.

In summary, as you’ve seen Jorge Lorenzo do what it takes to stay at the tip of the spear in motorcycle racing, fitness is crucial. Yes, the bike is awesome and he is talented, but as they say, hard work beats talent when talent won’t work hard.

The BEST thing to eat during a track day…

15 Aug

MotoGP, World Superbike and regional superbike riders the world over might be asking this question of themselves: Does what I eat effect my riding? Does how much I eat effect my riding?

Well the simple answer is “yes,” and “yes.”

Motorcycle racing is one of the most energy demanding sports in the world. Studies have shown that the average road racing pilot has a heart rate that floats around or above 85% of their maximum heart rate for the duration of the race. Now there are some anomalies. I remember in the movie “Faster,” the section of the movie was discussing the difference in heart rate of Max Biaggi and Valentino Rossi.

Rossi’s heart rate floated around 130 bpm or so while Biaggi was up around 150-160 bpm. Now the higher the bpm, the faster your body burns through energy.

So although your last name isn’t Rossi, I know when you’re on the track, your heart rate is up there and your body is working.

To keep your body doing this type of work during a trackday (much less a race), you have to give it the right type of fuel.

Much like any other athlete, carbohydrates are the fastest energy source in our body. Once carbohydrates enter the body, depending on their complexity, they can be in the blood stream in as little as 10-minutes because carbohydrate breakdown begins in our mouths.

Carlin Dunne Pikes Peak

No matter if you’re racing a track, or hitting Pike’s Peak full bore, nutrition plays a big role in concentration and endurance. (Photo from: http://www.digitaltrends.com)

Now superbike racers aren’t often viewed by the public (or researchers for that matter) as athletes. Thus, the need to evaluate their nutritional demands isn’t deemed important.

But hey, I’m a rider. I do trackdays. I ride hard on the weekends. And I always want to be at the top of my skill level. So nutrition IS important to me.

So what should you eat during a track day? Well, the first step is to look at the demands. Is it hot? Are you in class between sessions? How often are you on the track? Every 20-minutes or every 40-minutes?

More often than not, you’ll want and need a lot of carbohydrates. But these don’t need to be in the form of cookies and cake.

No, you need NUTRITION. Other than sugar, cakes, cookies and soda have nothing to offer. Now fruit, whole wheat bread sandwiches, honey, peanuts, raisins, salad. These are all carbohydrates that have the vitamins and minerals to keep you at the tip of the spear.

When winning is coming down to tenths of a second per lap, you better be able to pour every last drop of effort and energy into your laps.

When the difference between life and death on your favorite canyon road is a tenth of a second in reaction time, you’d better not be delayed. Having not just adequate, but optimal nutrition is imperative!

Hot weather, poor ventilation and poor nutrition will do this to you and me both. This is not a good state to be riding a motorcycle in. Photo credit: http://www.motorcyclenews.com

So foods like oatmeal, fruits, vegetables, yoghurt, chicken, almonds, sunflower seeds, and let’s not forget PLENTY of water is imperative. I know when you’re on a day ride with your buddies, enjoying the food you eat is part of the experience. But first and foremost, food MUST BE NUTRITIOUS.

When you wake up the morning of a trackday, be sure to have a few eggs with some veggies and cheese. Then have yourself a bowl of oats and a big glass of water and some coffee. Bring a snack of chocolate covered almonds, or the po’ boy version: almonds and chocolate chips. Bring plenty of water to the track with you, even if it’s cold outside. You will still sweat while riding.

For lunch, keep in mind you are replenishing and preparing for the afternoon. So lunch should consist of primarily carbohydrates, with protein and fat lower on the priority list. But again, just any carbohydrates won’t do. Sandwiches are obviously very easy to pack and eat. But whole wheat or even better, sprouted grain bread should be the bread you’re having. As for meat on the sandwich, turkey is usually a good source primarily because it is lean. Foods higher in fat such as baloney or roast beef will sit heavy and can cause gastrointestinal distress. Eat slow and be sure to stop eating when 80% full. Food coma is not something you want just prior to heading back into the track.

Turkey Sandwich

Turkey, avocado and veggies makes a great track day lunch! Wash it down with some water and feel free to have some chocolate covered almonds with it!

Bring a Gatorade or Accelerade with you too for later in the afternoon when blood sugar tends to drop even without hustling a bike around the track.

For every session you’re on the track, you need to drink 500-mL of water. If it’s a summer day, bump it to 1000-mL. Trust me. Dehydration of just 2% can lead to decreased reaction times. You don’t want that when you’re relying on a few a 1/4 inch of rubber to keep you right side up!

Intuitively, we know what is healthy and what’s not. You can eat the stuff you want, but nutritious food needs to be a priority when you’re out on the track. You’ll enjoy your day more, you’ll be safer and yep, you’ll probably be faster. – TDF

Ben Spies is still rehabing…would you?

18 Jun

Ben Spies is still going to physical therapy trying to get his shoulder under control. Because he rushed back from surgery too soon, he compensated with his chest muscles and as a result has an overuse injury of epic proportions: Out of 5 races this year, he’s raced in 2 of them.

Now with as knowledgeable and skilled as his physiotherapists are, you’d think he could get back to racing! He’s been out for over a month. I suppose it just goes to show us all how physical motorcycle racing is.

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Even though we need to relax our arms, we still use our arms to maintain some posture and especially during directional changes!

It seems shoulder injuries in particular tend to be rather devastating. But why? Every pro racer I hear talk about fitness just says, “Well I cycle a lot” or “I ride moto-cross during the off-season.” Many instructors I hear are constantly telling their superbike students to “use your legs more to grab the ta

nk,” and “relax your arms.”

Now these instructions might be true and very beneficial (I know they’ve helped my riding) but we still can’t ignore the fact that your arms are used over the course of the entire race. When you’re crawling all over your bike just trying to get it to change directions, your shoulders are pulling and pushing the bars to get the bike to move!

Now imagine if you were Ben Spies and you were suffering from a shoulder injury and that injury was keeping you from riding. You’d be missing out on some prime riding season!
We’d be watching our buddies ride off and listening to the awesome stories of how they conquered a turn that had previously spooked them or how this little change in posture completely changed the way the bike handled.

You may not have a multi-million dollar contract in the works, but you’re ego is certainly writing checks that your body and bike need to cash.

So how can you keep your shoulders healthy? Well first off, don’t be afraid to lift weights and lift heavy weights. When you’re pulling and pushing the bike around, at times your applying as much force as you can. And having more strength means you can fine tune how much force you want to apply to the bars.

Riding will never get more difficult because you are stronger. More muscular? It can make things more difficult. But it IS possible to gain strength without gaining weight. And even better, by following a directed nutrition plan, you can lose fat too!

In fact, here’s a pretty good nutrition plan if I do say so myself (and you could win $10,000 too)! The link above is to a free 5-day Fat-Loss Crash Course. Give it a look and there’s no obligation.

Back to the fitness aspect. Look strength training will always benefit you. I think had Ben done a bit more strength work and not as much cycling, he’d be in better shape than he is now.

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Bent Over Barbell Rows are great for core strength, shoulder stability and mimics the pulling pattern when moving around on the bike!

So what exercise are good for motorcyclists? Well, try a bent over row, seated row, dumbbell chest press, or alternating high incline chest press. All of these exercise combine core strength with shoulder strength.

Look, there’s no reason to not train for strength. And again, if you’re thinking “I just need to lose weight to improve my riding,” try that 5-day Fat Loss Crash Course. It could just be the thing to change your life!

And you thought all you needed was cycling…

5 May

Ben Spies might have his own professional cycling team, but it goes to show that cycling can’t be the cure-all for motorcycle fitness.

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Cycling won’t help a weak shoulder. Photo courtesy of http://www.gpone.com

After off-season shoulder surgery to repair an injured rotator cuff, Spies raced in Qatar and again in Austin. However, it now appears now that Spies will miss the Jerez race due to chest and back pain from racing with an injured shoulder.

In the rehabilitation world, we call these “compensations.” Spies’ back and chest have had to work overtime on the bike due to the shoulder being unfit for racing. You’ve been on the track before. You know how much effort it takes to move that bike from side to side and remain stable during braking. There are exercises that can be done to maintain rotator cuff strength and maintain proper muscular balance to ensure that every muscle does it’s job.

And then there’s Dani Pedrosa who was having muscle cramps in his left triceps during the second half of the race. Again, although as racers we’re taught to maintain a certain level of softness on the handlebars and let your legs do the work of grasping the bike, the upper body plays an enormous role in riding a motorcycle fast.

Pedrosa would later state that conditioning is to blame for his cramping.

So what can you do to address these two areas of weakness?

For rotator cuff strength we can do what’s called the “Shoulder Matrix.” Lie face down on a flat bench or floor and make a “Y” with your arms, keeping your elbows straight. Next put your arms out to the side and make a “T” with your body. Next bend your elbows to 90-degrees and have your palms facing down. If lying on the ground, lift your arms off hte ground. Then slide your arms up over your head until your elbows are straight. Then return to the starting position.

Work hard at pulling your shoulder blades down toward your lower back. This turns on the lower traps which are VERY important for keeping the shoulder blade (scapula) in proper sequence with the upper arm. The movement of the arms trains the rotator cuff to help keep you injury free!

Now how do we train the triceps for the demands of motorcycle racing? Push-ups should be in every riders exercise tool box. Why?

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Pedrosa should have been doing these between practice sessions. Photo: Coreperformance.com

Pushups train the chest, abs, shoulder stabilizers, triceps, and even quads. They really are that amazing! But for our purposes, we’ll add a little twist to our pushups. Try them on a stability ball and see how much extra work your chest and triceps have to do! Now if you’re hesitant about falling on your face or you’re just not quite confident of your ability to do a pushup on a ball, then don’t worry. Just do them from the ground but move your hands a little closer together! Aim for 3-sets of 20 reps and see how much of a difference it makes in YOUR riding!

Is Road Racing the most Un-Athletic sport ever?

3 Feb

Ask someone who doesn’t ride a motorcycle to watch a MotoGP race or Superbike race. Then ask them this: do you think you have to be athletic to race motorcycles?

On the surface, it looks like the guys are sitting down for most of the race. Sure they have to move around a little bit. But really, the motorcycle is doing all of the work, right?

Well that’s a question every sport rider, touring rider, adventure rider and motocross rider has to answer for themselves.

Does the riding I do, require me to be an athlete? Would I be a better rider if I exercised differently or if I ate better/differently? Would riding be more fun? Would the enhancement of my ability to control my motorcycle be worth the time and effort training and changing my eating?

If the answer is yes, then here’s your invitation.Nov-11-CLASS Group B 11am CLI_4242-W800

This webpage is here to provide guidance on a subject that not many riders think too much about: their fitness. Those who do think about it are often confused by what they find out. And those who know, can always know more and apply their knowledge in a more useful way. I’m just here to help foster the search for a faster, safer and more enjoyable riding experience.

Think about that for a while. Then get back to me.