Abs: Not just for looks

Everyone wants a 6 pack.  No, I’m not taking about beer; I’m talking about abdominal muscles.  If you have defined abs, this is a sign of a high fitness level.  They attract the ladies and make you feel like a million bucks.  But, your pack also serves a greater purpose than pullin’ chicks.  Having a strong core is essential for maintaining correct body position in all aspects of riding.  You might not notice it while riding, but your core can make you or break you.

Strong abdominal muscles help take some stress off of your upper body.The core consists of your abdominal muscles, mid to lower back and little bit of your chest and upper thighs.  It is what connects your lower and upper body.  This connection must be strong in order for your body to have a good balance between upper body strength and lower body strength.  It helps with movement that would be much harder to do without abs.  For instance, if you are standing up through a rough, whooped out sweeper, your arms are taking a heavy beating.  Your legs can take a lot of the force because they are larger muscles, but your arms, chest and back need some help to maintain your form.  This is where your core comes into play.  A strong core can help soak up some of the force from the arms, allowing the stress to be applied to more muscles, not just a select group.  This means more muscular endurance throughout the moto.

When working on your abs, you have to remember, they aren’t quite like your other muscle groups.  You can hit them about 4 days a week.  Here are a few exercises you can do:

Sit ups – A lot of commercials say these are not effective, but this isn’t true.  They are still a good workout.  For a variation, you can bring your knees up. 

Incline Sit ups – Lie down so that your feet are high than your head.  Then proceed to do your sit ups.  If you have been doing ab workouts for a while, I would recommend grabbing a weight for some extra resistance.

Leg Raises – Lie down and with your legs straight, raise your legs up.  If you are feeling squirrelly, when your legs are completely vertical, raise your hips up to push your feet higher. 

Bicycles – Sit down and lean back a little.  Rotate your feet like you on a bicycle.  When you can’t do anymore, go the opposite way. 

Side Leg Raises – Lie down your side.  With your legs straight, raise your legs up.  Lean on your lower arm and put your upper hand behind your head. 

Reverse Leg Raises – Lie on your stomach and lift your legs up.  You will feel your lower back tighten up.  Hold it there for as long as you can. 

These are just a few exercises you can do.  There is a ton of ways to hit your abs to make them stronger, but these will help you get some good foundations.  Remember, your core does more than just look good, it helps take some of the stress of your other muscle groups.  So hit them hard and it will pay off.

Posted on Aug 20 2009, under Training | No Comments »

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