Strength & Conditioning in Super-bike

Alex Pires Centermoto RT

In the past, same as other similar sports, motorbike riders use to focus only on the ability and fearless to push the limits. However, with the increased power and speed and the high level of competitiveness in races that came with the evolution of bikes and races throughout the years, the demand for better conditioning for riders became a necessity. This not only to maintain performance, but also to prevent injures, such as overuse, RSI, or even mitigate the damage in case of a crash. Not to mention the use of exercises to recover and get back on track after a crash.

Saying that, most of the professional riders nowadays are high-performance athletes with the same level of training as any other athlete.
Most motorcycle riders need to have optimal endurance to bear with the race weeks during the season, strength to bear with G-force, power and agility to execute the pendulum or act fast when necessary. They also have to manage the time spent riding a bike in order to develop a best turn, overtakes, starting techniques and optimising man-machine integration.
Talking about physical preparation:

Rider Miguel Praia

– Cycling: is the most common modality used for riders to improve performance.

– Firstly, it is possible to train all intensities zones (Aerobic, VO2max, Anaerobic, Sprints) in a very similar position to riding a motorbike.
– Secondly has a lower impact than running, which is also part of the preparation although with less volume than on the road bike.
– Strength training: Like any other sports, strength is a crucial element in the physical preparation of a superbike rider. You must develop a full-body strength and conditioning program according to each rider’s individuality, aiming to develop general strength and correct any weakness identified in the previous screening.
– The program must include functional exercises related to specificity of riding – Important muscles: – Lats, Pecs, Biceps,Triceps and shoulder: riding position – Adductors, Gluts, Legs, Abs and Lumbar muscles: leaning, standing, breakage and pendulum
– Forearm and hand muscles: throttle, clutch and braking – Essential to prevent and treat arm pump (compartmental syndrome – common in motorcycle riders)

Photo by Boxed Water Is Better on Unsplash

The program will very on the period of the season and athlete’s biotype; motorbike riders are usually short, lean, and light to favour the aerodynamic and relation weight vs power.
The S&C component will also vary according to each individual, to picture this idea we could illustrate this way:
– Off-season: here, is where the physical foundation is built general strength and conditioning is the priority
– S&C: Cardio + Strength Development – Cycling / Running / Swim / Gym / Extra (yoga/pilates) – lets picture 70%
– Bike Riding: Small amounts of Riding – different from main activity – Motocross / Supermotard / Mini bike – around 30%
– Pre-season: here riders will be adjusting/testing equipment, test different tunes on the bike but also preparing physically for the season approaching:
– S&C: Cardio + Functional Specific Training – focus on riding movements and principal muscles in their riding specificity + cycling and run 50%
– Bike Riding: Testing equipment, bike set-up and reconditioning to ride/speed/technics/tactics – 50%
– Season: here the focus will be on performance, the rider will focus on track strategies for the week race (depending on calendar they can races have monthly or fortnightly or even back to back weeks)
– S&C: Maintenance, Activation, Mobilisation and recovery 30%
– S&C maintain cardio, strength and power without depleting the rider
– Activation and mobilisation are essential to get the rider bike ready
– Recovery – the rider will be jumping on and off the bike many times during the week – spin bikes are a good tool for that

Center Moto RT

– Bike riding: Last bike adjustments, track learning and strategy development, time trials, qualifies, warm-up and racing day 70%

– Riders might get to the circuit one or two weeks before the race day
– Usually, they have official rides on:
– Tuesday and Wednesday – free practice,
– Thursdays – free practice and trials,
– Friday, Saturday qualifies and super-pole,
– Sunday warm-up and race 1, warm-up and race 2
*It happens usually in two sessions a day – mornings and afternoons
Paulo Barroso / Solid Sports