1 Exercise For Faster Lap Times
Without getting too lost in the old talent vs. hard work debate, there is something that every racer can agree on and its speed comes down to physics. Whether it’s choosing the right gearing, the right sag height or the proper tire there will always be a mechanical advantage when the proper physics are applied.
The same holds true for your body. We all know the following; Get on the balls of your feet, keep your elbows up, weight the outside peg, etc. But you don’t do those things do you? Ask yourself why not, or if you do…. Why do you stop when you get tired?
The answer is that it takes work to get into those positions, and the reason that it takes work is that your body does not have the ability to move in concert with the motorcycle to give you that ideal “mechanical advantage”
Today I want to break down one exercise that is fundamental to getting into that ideal position and staying there effortlessly. Master this and you are on your way to becoming one with the motorcycle.
Exercise: Single Leg Pistol Squat w/ Alt Leg Raise.
Direct Application to Sport: We must remember that the ideal way to ride a motorcycle is not to “ride” it but rather to engage with it. If you observe riders at the highest level, the line where the motorcycle ends and the rider begins is quite fuzzy, they have become one with the bike and place their bodies in a position that is complementary to the engineered physics of the motorcycle.
In order to properly execute a seated turn where the terrain will not permit both feet on the pegs, the following must happen.
A.) The rider’s head must be placed over the bars in a neutral seated position to maintain proper distribution of the rider’s weight on the motorcycle. Move your head back and the front tire becomes unweighted and loses traction.
B.) The rider’s outside leg must be under significant tension in order to weight the outside peg and keep positive contact with the terrain. If your leg is relaxed, you are not weighting that peg.
C.) The inside leg must be raised as high as possible with at minimum 5 degrees of internal hip rotation to prevent contact with the rut and minimal disruption to the intended center of gravity. By not doing this, you not only risk catching your foot in the rut, but also will cause the bike to fall to the inside.
D.) The hips must remain in as much anterior rotation as possible to maintain the natural c-curve of the lumbar spine. This is to keep the chain of energy transference open for maximum shock absorption and minimal disruption to the rider’s position and subsequently the bike’s contact with the ground. Round your hips and hunch your back if you want to turn your bike into a $10,000 jackhammer.
Intention: The intention of this exercise is threefold. First, it is intended to be an active mobility tool to improve the rider’s range of motion on the bike; it incorporates the principles of reciprocal inhibition to produce a more effective stretch. Second, it develops strength and improves proprioceptive ability by decreasing your base of support, and adding both an unstable surface and dynamic movement. Third, it is extremely specific to the motorcycle handling skill described above. By incorporating the fundamentals of motorcycle technique, we can train the body in the position that most closely mimics that of the athlete on the bike.
The Truth Hurts: There is a vast chasm between conceptually understanding the aforementioned principles and actually engaging with it in a way that translates to greater mastery and therefore speed on the motorcycle. Put your bike on the stand and record yourself getting into this position. Chances are that unless you are a young child or ballerina, it comes with a significant degree of effort (if you can do it at all). Now ask yourself, if it requires that much effort how consistently will you be able to execute it in a race scenario when the adrenaline, fatigue and “pin it to win it” sets in.
Takeaway: If you are not incorporating movements that improve your access to skill, you are giving up speed and energy that you could otherwise have easy access to.
If you are serious about improving your body in a way that directly translates to improved performance, check out our world class Coaching platform. Or take a few seconds to ask us a question. We are passionate about helping all riders improve their results, ride safer and have more FUN!
Thank you for reading.
P.S. If the technical skills or terms were lost on you, we highly suggest visiting mxcoach.com There is no substitute for the fundamentals and we have personally seen breakthroughs in riders from first timers to seasoned pros as a result of Joe DeGano’s work.