Back from a ride? Body feels pretty stiff?

Have you ever tried to go on a ride while your body is sore and your muscles are tight? It isn’t fun.

Or what about when you come back from a ride? Your body feels pretty stiff I bet. If the rider has poor posture or simply from sitting in one position for a while, tension within muscles can occur.

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Motorcyclists need to be flexible so they can put their bodies in certain positions that allow them to lean and hold certain positions. Tight muscles make it harder to move and being able to have mobility and fast reflexes is extremely important on the bike for one’s safety.

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In the body, something we have something called fascia. This is a thin connective tissue that covers many of our organs such as muscles, nerves, and spinal cord but it also connects our bones together (ligaments), and muscles to bone (tendons). To put it simply, think about a woven covering that’s tightly knitted around your muscles and that’s the fascia. So when this is tight, your muscles have a hard time contracting or lengthening. So what can you do about this? Try doing self-myofascial release, also known as foam rolling. Foam rolling increases blood circulation and focuses on releasing tension in tight muscles.

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Tight muscles, can lead to an injury if not properly taken care of. Foam rolling will help keep your muscles from feeling tight by releasing trigger points (muscle knots or tightness), improving blood flow, and muscle function. Think of it as a (much cheaper) deep tissue massage that you can control.

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Foam rollers are very inexpensive. Starting out sitting on the floor with the roller under your hamstrings, slowly roll each of your legs using your arms to rock back and forth for about 30 seconds and repeat this for your quad muscles. You will also want to roll out your back especially after a ride. To do this, simply start with the foam roller on your upper back/shoulder blades and use your feet to rock back and forth rolling the full length of your back for 30 seconds. You can also look this up on YouTube for a how-to video!
Foam rolling is a quick and easy way to relax your muscles after a long ride!

Article By Cassandra Carillo
Instagram @LittleCarillo
www.littlecarillo.wordpress.com

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Stretching Bikers

Stretching is a great way to correct muscle imbalances, loosen those tight muscles, and warm your body before an exercise.

Riding is much like exercising because you use your entire body to control the bike so stretches are key for making it a comfortable ride.

There are different types of stretching a motorcyclist can do before leaving on that ride and hitting those twisties. We will keep this simple because we are all anxious to go and hit the road but take your time with stretching as these can be beneficial to your ride!

Remember, when stretching you might have some discomfort but never any pain. These stretches will take less than 4 minutes of your day!
Bridges: Bridges are great for stretching hip flexor muscles when they are tight. Since riders are generally sitting for a long period of time on the bike, these can help opening up the hips. Lay on your back with legs bent and hands at sides. Push up through your heels until your lower body is off the ground and your hips are straight with your legs and core. Hold for 5 seconds and repeat 5 times.

Leg Strech
Hamstring stretch: Sitting on the ground with one leg straight and the other bent, reach for your toes on the straight leg (ankle, or calf depending on flexibility), and hold for 15 seconds. Repeat this on the other leg. Do this stretch 2 times.

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Shoulder stretch: Standing with your arms at your sides, reach one arm straight in front of you and move across your chest. Lock your other arm under the stretched arm to hold in place. This will stretch in the shoulder blade area but also uses the muscles in the arms as well. Hold the stretch for 15 seconds and repeat on the other side.

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Tricep stretch: Standing with arms at your sides, reach one arm above your head and bend your elbow. Your hand will be behind your head. Take the opposite arm and hold your elbow on the bent arm, slightly pressing down. This will stretch your triceps. Hold stretch for 15 seconds and repeat on the other arm.
Upper back stretch: Stand with both arms at sides. Lace fingers together in front of you and stretch overhead. Palms of your hands will be facing toward the ceiling. This will stretch the upper back muscles. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds.

Abdominal rotation: Sitting on the ground, with both feet straight in front of you, bend one knee and bring it closer to your body. Take the opposite arm of your bent knee and place it behind your knee twisting your torso. This will stretch your abdominal muscles. Place your other arm on the floor behind your to keep balance. Hold this for 20 seconds and repeat on the other side.

Article By Cassandra Carillo
Instagram @LittleCarillo
www.littlecarillo.wordpress.com

 

Air Pollution Revisited

At ground level, a gas known as ozone is directly related to asthma and other respiratory diseases, making it even more difficult to breathe for those suffering from these diseases. Ozone will be higher in areas that are heavily populated and have more cars such as cities. Other particles found in things such as smoke can also pass into our bodies also making it difficult to breathe.

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Air pollution can either be created by us or it can occur naturally however, it can be hazardous for us to breathe.
Another gas known as carbon monoxide (CO) can be deadly if inhaled in large amounts such as running a car in an enclosed area i.e., the garage or having a blockage in the tail pipe which can lead to suffocation or unconsciousness. This is not to be confused with carbon dioxide (CO2) which is what we expel from our bodies when exhaling. Carbon dioxide affects our respiratory system whereas carbon monoxide will not only affect our respiratory system but the central nervous system, lungs, and blood as well. When breathing in carbon monoxide, it affects oxygen in the blood which has a domino effect on the rest of our organs. A motorcyclist will breathe in carbon monoxide from exhaust fumes from the cars around them. Motorcyclists will also inhale other types of debris left behind from the cars passing by such as oil, coolant, and windshield washer fluid. Not something we riders want to be exposed to and willingly allow into our bodies.
When sitting in traffic, fumes can become overwhelming and being exposed to air pollution in areas that are very high can irritate open passageways of the body such as our eyes, throat, and nose.

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Breathing in pollution can weaken the immune system and over prolonged periods of time, some chronic diseases may develop. It is best to have some type of ventilation to protect yourself as riders so we are not being exposed to direct pollutants and can safely enjoy many rides in the future.

There are ways to protect yourself. Have you seen our article on Respro masks

Article By Cassandra Carillo
Instagram @LittleCarillo
www.littlecarillo.wordpress.com

Motorcyclist Health- Bench Press

Bench press will work your chest, shoulders, and your triceps. The more you can bench press, the more muscle you will gain in this area (to a certain degree). This is the same with all exercises, not just this one specifically. A strong upper body means having more control of the bars when you’re racing on the track or even riding a dirt bike. As a rider, I noticed a big difference when I began engaging my upper body to control the bike rather than just using my arms. My arms don’t feel heavy and my wrists don’t hurt. Your burn out time will decrease when you stop controlling the bike with your arms and begin using your entire upper body instead.

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Important tips to keep in mind:

  • Lay on a bench with your legs bent backwards far enough that your feet still remain flat on the floor
  • Create a slight arch in your back however this will vary depending on your training style and preference.
  • Slight meaning you can fit a hand between your back and the bench.
  • This is created by tightening your lats and contracting the shoulder blades
  • Creating this arch will help to stabilize and drive the weight up.
  • Grip the back of the bar approximately shoulder width apart. Use the rings on the bar to space your grip evenly.
  • This position will help to lock your shoulders into place and give you more power. However, this will be different for everyone.
  • When you un-rack the bar, rotate your hands are now on the bottom of the bar. Doing so will make the bar in-line with the wrists.
  • When performing the rep, engage your lats, use your legs to stabilize and push your shoulders into the bench.
  • Slowly lower the bar to your chest keeping your elbows in (to prevent strain and injuries with heavier weight) and push up until your arms are straight.
  • Inhale when you un-rack the bar, lower the bar, breathe out when pushing the bar up.

Article By Cassandra Carillo
Instagram @LittleCarillo
www.littlecarillo.wordpress.com

Motorcyclist Health – Deadlifts

There are a few different types of deadlifts a rider can do to strengthen their legs and lower back and by strengthening these, as well as knowing where to control the bike will help the rider to not burn out about an hour into a ride.
Stiff leg deadlifts focus more on hamstring/glutes, conventional deadlifts work all leg muscles as well as lower back, and sumo deadlifts will focus more on overall leg strength.
• Keep your back neutral and spine straight
• Sumo’s require a wide stance. Conventional and stiff legs will be about shoulder width apart.
• Toes pointed out (for sumos), pointed forward (neutral position) for stiff leg and conventional
• Start with the bar against your legs
• Grip the bar about shoulder width apart (sumos might have a slightly smaller grip)
• Tighten your core and don’t lift with your back
• Tighten your shoulders and engage your lats
• Drive through your heels, fully engage glutes and hamstrings and drive with your hips to pull the weight completely up.
• Keep your knees in line with your legs as you drive up.
• Breathe!!!! Make sure you inhale and then exhale as you pull the weight up. By doing this, you will support core muscles. Take a new breath for each lift to replenish oxygen to muscles.

Article By Cassandra Carillo
Instagram @LittleCarillo
www.littlecarillo.wordpress.com

Motorcyclist Health – Squats

With proper form, squats not only help to increase leg strength but work your core and back as well. If you’ve never completed a squat before, start out with bodyweight squats to get the form down and work your way up to using a barbell. Squats can be performed as front or back positioning. Front squats use more quadriceps strength and back squats will focus more on hamstrings and glutes. Strong legs help to control movement of the bike while riding. Let’s think about it. When you first get on a bike, you use your legs to stand it up which requires you to engage the lower body muscles, major ones and the smaller assisting ones.Mibandit_Squats

Important tips to keep in mind:

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  • High bar squats- bar will rest on your traps and hands will be wider than shoulder width apart.
  • Use the little rings on the bars to measure and keep your hands even on the bar.
  • Squatting will be more vertical
  • This will depend on the person as well and their body structure or tightness in hips/joints (which can be fixed by stretching and other mobility movements).
  • Low bar squats- bar will rest on muscles pushed together on your back by your rear delts. Your hands will be closer together near your shoulders and your grip will be slightly different. You will have more of a bear claw grip where your thumb does not grip around the bar but the bar rests in the palms of your hands.
  • Squats will be more of a of a horizontal movement
  • Do not round your back!
  • Keep your spine straight and neutral
  • Keep your head in line with your spine
  • squeeze your lats together and contract your shoulder blades
  • Engage your core
  • Your core includes all muscles that support your spine
  • A strong core will protect your back and keep you from getting injured
  • Muscle-mind connection
  • Focus on what muscles you should be engaging while squatting. You will make these muscles stronger and put on some mass as well. Booty doesn’t grow on trees guys!
  • Major muscle group you will focus on for a back squat are your core, hamstrings, gluteus maximus, and quadriceps
  • Squat until your thighs are parallel to the floor (if your physique allows you to)
  • Try not to let your knees extend past your toes
  • Toes will be pointed slightly outward
  • Legs slightly wider than hip width apart
  • Focus on driving your knees toward the outside of your feet which will open your hips
  • You want to drive through your heels to bring the weight back up
  • Take a deep breath in as you squat down and exhale the air as you come back up.

Article By Cassandra Carillo
Instagram @LittleCarillo
www.littlecarillo.wordpress.com

By: Cassandra Carillo

The Big Three for Bikers – Intro

The big three lifts are for more than just powerlifters, and bodybuilders. These movements are great for motorcyclists as well to build strength in all the body’s major muscle groups. So what are the Big Three and why should a motorcyclist care?

The big three are

  • Squats
  • Deadlifts
  • Bench press

Strength training will improve bone density so if anything were to happen, strong bones are better than brittle ones. The rider will build some muscle mass with strength training which protects the body internally and gives the rider strength to control most situations (if possible). Also, having a strong body helps the rider to control the bike more efficiently, prevent injuries down the road, and even picking up the bike when you tip over.

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When the bike does tip over, think about what muscles are engaged to lift it off the ground back to two wheels. Just to name a few, major muscle groups you will engage include your hamstrings, glutes, quads, latissimus dorsi, abdomen, and even your chest. Another example can be if you get a flat tire and need to lift it onto a truck or a trailer. These are all compound movements just like the big three I will be discussing.

Form
Please keep in mind the importance of proper form. Focus on your positioning. Are your toes pointed where they should be? Is your grip even? Is your spine in a neutral position? Are you driving through your heels? And lastly, are you engaging the muscles you should be? Focus on every part of your body and the movement you will be executing. You do not want to throw your back out lifting a 350lb motorcycle or deadlifting 350lbs in the gym.

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Making all the right connections
Make that muscle-mind connection and really focus on the muscles you want to work with a particular movement. This goes back to form mentioned previously. By focusing on proper form and thinking about which muscles you want to engage, you will ensure you are doing the exercise properly and building muscle as well as preventing injuries that can happen when rushing through a movement or being careless.

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Take things nice and easy.
Resistance training is just that. Resistance. Any movement where you are strength training and moving your body against gravity, is going to be resistance training. This includes bands, body weight, or weights. Keeping form in mind once again, you do not want to jerk the weight off the ground or speed through squats. Injuries aren’t fun. You will be out of the gym and you will be out of riding for most of the season if not all of it. Nobody wants that so take it nice and slow. There is no competition except you against you.

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Frequency
The big three are very taxing on the body because they engage your major muscle groups. These exercises should be performed on separate days to give your muscles time to repair themselves but they can be performed more than once a week. Muscle soreness will occur and you can work through this. Your body will adapt to the stress it is being put under. Sets and repetitions will vary depending on goals however keep your reps below 12-15 to focus on strength and increase the weight you are using.

Part 2 here – Soon

Article By Cassandra Carillo
Instagram @LittleCarillo
www.littlecarillo.wordpress.com