Many motorcycle riders have an unintentional habit of holding tension in the arms and shoulders while riding. It usually occurs without knowing and commonly when riding within an uncomfortable situation – like an unexpected downpour of rain. And even if we catch ourselves and try to relax, we still find ourselves later, stiffening up. This can lead to soreness and ongoing issues with the muscles in the upper back.
So, here are nine ways to lighten up on those arms and hands!
Let It Go
Consciously let go of the tension in your arms and shoulders by focusing on that part of your body while you are riding. You can regularly check in with yourself and literally instruct yourself to relax your shoulders. Shrugging every 15 minutes or so and relaxing your arms really helps relieve this stress.
Bend Your Elbows
Ride with your elbows bent and yours arms and shoulders relaxed, if possible. This prevents fatigue caused by muscle tension. It also allows your arms to absorb shock instead of transmitting it to your body.
Relax Your Grip
On smooth, traffic-free roads, practise loosening your hands and letting the leather of your gloves do their job and assist in maintaining grip. You will be surprised at how easy it is to keep the throttle on without using a death grip. But often we’re not aware, especially say approaching gravel or a sharp corner that you’re a little uptight about. This will help alleviate muscle tension and reduce the amount of vibration transmitted to your body.
To avoid muscle soreness and fatigue, don’t hunch your shoulders. Tilt your head every few minutes to stave off tight neck muscles.
Change Hand Position Regularly
Grasp the left inner area of your handgrip and then move your hand to the end of your hand grip to the bar end. Do this frequently along the ride. Usually there’s enough room to move your hand and change position. But always keep each thumb and index finger gripped around the hand grip to prevent yourself from losing control if you hit an unexpected bump.
Shake It Off
Occasionally take one hand off the handlebars and shake it. This relaxes your shoulder and elbow and encourages blood flow to your hand to prevent numbness. Of course be sure when you do this with your throttle hand you can manage to lose some speed and maintain momentum in safe manner.
Make Sure You Have The Right Handlebar Width
Essentially, handlebar width should equal shoulder width. So adjusting your grips or controls to meet the right width will be much more comfortable. Having your bars too wide or too narrow can lead to shoulder pain during a long ride.
Avoid Too Much Weight On Your Hands
If you suffer from numb hands while riding then you’re probably putting too much weight on your hands, which is often the case for Sportbike riders. You could consider raising your handlebars.
Buy Yourself Good Quality Gloves
These will not only protect your hands if you hit the ground, they will also help absorb some of the shock from the road. With the added bonus of preventing sunburn, protecting hands and ensuring proper proficient use of the levers and controls. And be sure not to buy them too small or too snug hoping to wear them in.This usually takes too long and causes much hand fatigue and discomfort in the process.
Strengthen And Stretch Your Neck and Shoulders Off Bike
In order to keep the muscles loose and relaxed (also important to do while riding) it is a good practise to have a consistent routine of strengthening and stretching exercises in order to stay pain free. Ask a personal trainer to add in some specific exercises or consider joining a yoga class.
Use these nine ways to lighten up on those arms and hands and find you’ll be riding longer and easier on every road ahead.