1.17.2007,8:21 PM
Fitness for Bikers: Back to Basics
It's time to get off my ass.

The orthopedic surgeon and I negotiated a compromise regarding my dislocated collarbone (at the sternoclavicular joint): I leave the weight room until November or December and I can go on my two-week road trip. Although he wasn't keen about me going solo. I think he finally realized nothing was going to stop me short of death.

I received the 'okay' to start weight training again but I have to begin slowly. I haven't lifted since the end of July. I can tell. I've lost muscle, strength and my balance sucks.

As an ex-competitive powerlifter and personal trainer, I embarrass myself.

Since I was house-bound for three days (and today), I started training again with basic core work I can do at home with basic equipment: a big Swiss ball, sports/physio-bands and a SisselFit. I also have a treadmill which I've used for hanging my wet gear to dry. Time to use that, too.

The basic program thus far:

Pushups for chest and triceps. Have to be careful here; the pecs attach to the collarbone. I have to be cognizant of the right dislocated collarbone. Luckily, the pectoral pull is anterior; that is, the pecs pull the collarbone forward. I do these with my legs balanced on the ball. Makes it harder.

Rows with bands or tubes for mid and upper back. This requires more caution. The trapezius muscle (traps) attach to the collarbone and pull it back. The dislocation is posterior (the 'rare' kind of dislocation) and I have to avoid any pull-back on that end of the bone. Several organs are behind the sternoclavicular joint, including my esophagus. I don't want it punctured.

Hook the middle of the band under a leg of the treadmill and hold the ends to simulate cable rows. I need tubes; the bands don't provide enough resistance. My back has always been strong.

Ball squats for leg and glute strength. With this dislocation and injured shoulder, I don't know if I will ever be able to squat with a bar again. Starting with bodyweight and going to just below parallel (thighs with floor).

Ab crunches on the ball. Bodyweight for now. Pathetically weak.
Below, Rob, a former client, does weighted crunches on a ball.

Reverse hyperextensions, also on the ball. Very important for the low back muscles: spinal erectors and mutifidus, those little muscles that stabilize the vertebrae of the spine. I grab onto the edge of the treadmill to stabilize my upper body on the ball and slowly raise legs and hold. hold hold hold......weak.

SisselFit for balance and propreoception drills. A SisselFit is an inflatable disc. One-legged timed drills, graduating to movement drills. A medicine ball is popular for adding movement, but to duplicate a bike, I'm using one of my arnis sticks (arnis is a filipino martial art using sticks as weapons); holding the stick with two hands and balancing on one foot on the SisselFit. It's not as easy as it sounds. I also used this for rehabilitating a broken ankle.

So what good will this do?

A hell of a lot. Riding a bike is not a passive activity. Anyone who has ridden for eight hours or more, especially in a driving wind, knows that you use muscles to stabilize and support the bike. There's more to riding than just using both hands and feet with an occasional wave to another rider.

The chest and back are used to steer and help stabilize the bike. Legs are used to push forward and back (such as backing into a spot); the left leg is used to support the bike when stopping and uprighting it off the sidestand.

For dual-sport riders, we stand on our pegs over bumps and gravel. Ask a person who rides a horse what legs are used for. Heck, I often use a two-point position when riding; lifting my butt off the saddle with weight distributed over my legs and down through the pegs, but still centered over the middle of the bike. Martial artists know this position, too, in the Horse Stance.

You use the entire body when using a centerstand. And picking the bike up when it falls over.

Even wrist strength is important. Riders who go long distances with the right hand holding and rolling on and off the throttle for hours will know what I mean.

Most important for comfort are low back and abs. These muscle groups work together; they support each other. If your abs are weak, your back is weak. These muscles are important for any type of riding or bike, but more so for sport bike riders bent over into what I refer to as the 'sport fetal position'. They are also imperative for riding long distances.

So now you know why fitness is important for riding motorcycles.

I'll occasionally post changes and progress.

My back has been yelling at me and my legs are weaker than they used to be.

Time for me to get back into shape.


posted by Macrobe
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