You are absolutely convinced looking at the lean and wispy riders and the TV footage of the Moto GP race that you have it in you to become a speed devil. So you go out and buy the most eye-popping bike with stats and definitions that blow your mind. Soon you start racing on the secluded highway. Well, sooner than that you will find out that the critics were wrong. Driving in Moto GP is not for the faint hearted nor for those who do not keep their bodies in prime fitness. These guys need to be fit mentally and physically not only to win but just to stay alive. Analyzed below is just a bit of how they do it.
Strong heart and lungs: Riders generally prefer to do a lot of cardiovascular exercises. They aim to achieve what is called aerobic conditioning. Exercises are aimed at lowering blood pressure, increasing circulation, strengthening of heart muscles and regulating heart beat. This is required primarily to preserve oxygen over a long period of time without letting it being consumed too quickly for lactic acid to accumulate. Moto GP riders also do a lot of anaerobic exercise to prepare themselves for short bursts of intense activity when the heart rate becomes exceedingly fast.
Maintaining muscles: Riders need to keep a lean body to keep the centre of gravity low so as to stabilize the bike. It also allows them to keep an aerodynamic shape while driving at high speeds. However, since they experience high gravitational forces or G-forces when maneuvering their machines, they have to have strong arms and legs to resist these forces. Thus they exercise through strength building workouts for legs, lower back muscles and arms. Anaerobic exercise is done by body builders and weightlifters to increase muscle mass and strength. Through this technique, Moto GP riders are able to keep a lean frame but maintain strong muscles for those dangerous swerves and bursts of speed.
Short-term Memory: Moto GP is very accident prone. Many riders experience close encounters with severe accidents. Either they themselves have minor or major mishaps or see other riders crashing. This creates a lot of anxiety which can make their heart rate shoot. To prevent this potentially problematic situation, many of them claim to train themselves to have short term memory so that they can quickly forget these incidents to carry on with the race or with their routine lives. A lot of meditation and mental exercise is required to achieve this.
Reflexes: Reflexes for a racer means victory or defeat, life or death. In speed sports, the windows of opportunity to react are very short at the rates of just fractions of a second. To win, one has to not only identify them but instinctively grab them. Similarly, controlling a high-speed machine requires extremely deft reflexes coupled with muscular strength. To build such reflexes, concentration and focus enhancing workouts are taken up by the riders. Critics of racing sports have always cribbed about how all you need to do to win in a motorsport is to acquire a super fast machine. Well, it isn’t that simple!!!