Riding a motorcycle safely requires taking good care of your body before, during and after riding. Different riding styles will require specialized fitness programs as well as a strong focus on key muscle groups.
Think about sport bike riders. They corner their motorcycles by holding on to the tank with their knees and thighs while shifting their weight off the side of the bike. To do this, they need to have strong core muscles to grip the bike with their legs instead of their arms, enabling them keep a light touch on the bar.
See the video I uploaded for examples of how sportbike riders shift their weight around corners:
Cruiser riders, on the other hand, ride upright and need strong core muscles, good posture, and strong hands and forearms.
Core muscles include the hips, abdomen, lumbar region, chest and shoulders. As your core strength increases, you’ll find that you rely less on your arms to support your body while riding, freeing up your arms to control the bike with less effort. This will also enable more efficient cornering as well as the flexibility needed to avoid road hazards.
All riders should begin each and every ride with a pre ride check and a pre ride stretch. Stretching is so important to keep you loose in the saddle and able to move freely so you can turn you head in corners and lane check effectively. If you ride tense, tension transfers to your bike making corners and lane changes clunky and possibly dangerous.
On long rides, stopping every 2 hours to stretch is recommended. A good stretching regimen to get into is to get off the bike and swing your arms to loosen up the shoulders. Then, touch your toes slowly using smooth movements. Do a few walking lunges to loosen the legs as well as a few shoulder rolls and neck rolls. Last, bring one arm up overhead and drop the other down to stretch the muscles along your sides.
Depending on your riding style some exercises will be more beneficial then others. For long distance riders I would recommend yoga as it keeps the body and core strong while emphasizing stretching and flexibility. For sport bike riders I would add strength training using free weights and TRX equipment as this style focuses more on strengthening the core and all muscle groups including the tiny motor muscles needed for balance.
*If your new to exercise I highly recommend seeing a trainer who can evaluate your fitness level and get you started on a program tailored just for you until your in decent shape and knowledgeable about correct exercise form and posture. It’s just too easy to injure yourself by doing an exercise incorrectly.