Essential Rider Fitness: Dirt Bike Balance
Motocross and Enduro riders want to go fast. The faster they ride, the more races they win – or so it goes, in most cases. Getting a jump out of the gate, taking turns sharper, and tweaking performance components on the bike itself, are all legitimate ways to improve your time on the track. But there’s one way to get faster that often gets overlooked – improving your balance.
“Master balance, speed will always be there.”
In this Crash Course article, we’re going to cover balance: what it is, why it’s important, and how to improve it.
What is Stability in Motocross and Enduro?
Balance in Motocross and Enduro, or any other bike riding for that matter, is defined by the rider’s ability to effectively position his mass on his bike at all times and in all circumstances and situations, with the intended purpose of centering his gravity and ultimately improving all aspects of his ride. (I.e., stability, speed, endurance, etc.)
Why is Balance Important in Motorcycle Riding?
We’ve already covered that it ultimately leads to more speed on the track. But there’s more to it than improving lap times. Improving your balance will also:
Provide more stability. This perk also helps increase your speed, but it also protects you from wrecking your bike or losing control of it when hitting the ground. Proper balance ensures your maximizing your stability while minimizing the effort you exert to do so.
Decrease your risk of injury. Think of this more as a “side effect” of improving your balance. The exercises used to enhance your balance strengthens specific muscles – the same muscles you use on the track; that can become strained to the point of injury if not strong enough. Balance training leads to stronger muscles that lead to a lesser risk of injury.
How to Improve Your Balance On Your Bike
The best way to improve your dirt bike balance is to practice every day. That’s the “nearly-impossible-to-accomplish-fantasyland” answer. Here are some real-world exercise and solutions for improving:
The Indo Board. The Indo Board is a piece of exercise equipment that resembles a large skateboard that rests on top of a cylinder. You take the board, place it on top of the cylinder, and then balance yourself on the board without letting the ends touch the ground. It’s straightforward, yet extremely effective at improving balance and coordination. The Indo Board can cost up to $190 on Amazon, so to save money you can also use a can of soup and a 2×4.
One-legged Balancing. It’s so simple, yet so effective. It’s exactly what the name implies – you to stand on one leg while the other one is extended in front of your body or raised underneath it. Just like you used to do when you were a kid. Only with this body balance exercise, you’re going to increase the difficulty as you progress. Once you’ve become somewhat decent at this, try closing your eyes and feeling which way your body is swaying. Once you have that down, move on to standing on narrow surfaces. Then with your eyes closed and standing on the ball of your foot.
Practice daily. No, I’m not talking about riding every day. (Remember, that’s the “nearly-impossible-to-accomplish-fantasyland” answer.) But I am talking about practicing the exercises above every day. Repetition is the key to becoming proficient at any skill, and learning to improve your dirt bike balance is a skill. You have to be diligent in practicing balance daily to see results sooner, rather than later.
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