Upperbody Strength

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Ryethil
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Upperbody Strength

#1 Unread post by Ryethil » Mon Jun 29, 2009 7:49 pm

I sort of got a wierd question and I hope you ladies can help me out.

I know that most women who post here seem to have issues with being short and wieghing less than their male counter parts. I can sympathize with your problem but I have a different issue which I don't think the guys can deal with. *sigh*

I'm actually fairly tall (5'9" to 5'10") and have fairly proportional arms and legs. If anything, I'm fairly leggy. But this is my problem. I can't develope good upper body strength. Yes, I can lift things from my legs and hips fairly well. I guess as well as any woman I know can. We sort of have an advantage in certain areas. But I can't muscle things like the guys can and I'm finding that a problem as I look to ride bigger Harleys and other bikes.

Is there anything I can do to make this better or possibly ride smarter. It's like I have to keep aiming the bike in the general direction I want it to go and then sort of guide it that way. The guys just seem to push into place and then motor around.

Am I making sense? :frusty:

I've got a big bike coming and I'm actually afraid for the first time in my life that it might be too big for me to handle. I can manage Harley Big Twins if I can reach the controls. When I rode the Honda ST1300P, the cops would just point it and scoot. While I felt I was fighting it. What can I do to help this? I know some of you have been riding for a lot longer than I have. Is there anything I can do?

I appreciate any help you can give me.


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It's good spelling but it Wobbles, and the letters get in the wrong places. WtPooh

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#2 Unread post by PacificShot327 » Mon Jun 29, 2009 10:17 pm

Work those arms out then.

Most females are under the very very mistaken impression that because we are built smaller, we can never be as strong as a male. Not true! If you feel that you are lacking in upper body strength, start training those muscles. You will never grow to be as "big" as the guys, but that is a chemical difference. Men, on average, have about 16 times the testosterone that we do, and that accounts for the way their muscles grow. But we can work out muscles in the same way and get the results.

As far as upper body strength for riding... I'm not really following what you're saying. Try explaining in a different way, maybe?
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#3 Unread post by Ryethil » Tue Jun 30, 2009 7:37 am

PacificShot327 wrote:Work those arms out then.

Most females are under the very very mistaken impression that because we are built smaller, we can never be as strong as a male. Not true! If you feel that you are lacking in upper body strength, start training those muscles. You will never grow to be as "big" as the guys, but that is a chemical difference. Men, on average, have about 16 times the testosterone that we do, and that accounts for the way their muscles grow. But we can work out muscles in the same way and get the results.

As far as upper body strength for riding... I'm not really following what you're saying. Try explaining in a different way, maybe?
Actually, I wrote you a long reply and then realized that I answered most of my questions myself. :pbjt:

It's not a question of muscling the motorcycle around. I've got to go back to basics and let the bike do the work for me. The bike I'm getting is a ST1300P and it has everything. Except for the fact that it wieghs 750 lbs and it's top heavy when it has a full load of gas. Even the motorcycle cops complian of its low and slow manuervering. The other problem is that it is physically big for me though different bars and modifying the front part of the seat would help some of this.

So I guess the thing is that I'm a bit scared of it and I'll just to have the learn bike the basics for this bike all over again. It's like a NOOB that tries to learn the fundamentals by rinding a Sportster. Yea, it will take a steep learnig curve but I'll get it right in the end. And with 10+ years of riding (mostly Harleys) I won't give up motocycling if I have a bad day. :mrgreen:

Thank you!

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Alex
It's good spelling but it Wobbles, and the letters get in the wrong places. WtPooh

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#4 Unread post by coffee_brake » Tue Jun 30, 2009 4:10 pm

It definately sounds like you've just forgotten some basic stuff.

Heck at 5'6" I can ride the ST1300 (and I have) and it is effortless to steer, and very well-mannered at parking lot speeds too. I work out but I'm still not very strong in my upper body. Pushups are very hard for me (but I'm getting better, better than when I rode a ST1300).

I'm guessing if the top-heavy issue is affecting you then you are having trouble at slower speeds. You probably know know better than me that the basics still apply. You know in a tight tight turn going slow, to weight the outside peg, slide your butt to the outside, slip the clutch, and lightly ride the back brake to get it to lean in better. Try it in second gear, it may be easier depending on the bike's gearing. Most of all, look up, not down, and look all the way through the turn, even if that means swivelling your head around like an owl.

Sounds like you just need to talk yourself through the basics and then go practice them, in a safe emptly lot wearing all your gear.

You can do it! That's a smooth beautiful bike and worth the effort!
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#5 Unread post by MZ33 » Tue Jun 30, 2009 5:07 pm

I'll just add my 2 cents. I found that I just had to get used to how my top-heavy bike handles when parking, manuevering it in the garage, etc. The Versys is only 450 lbs wet--a lot less than what you will be dealing with, I know--but it was harder to handle standing still than the Vstar 650, which is 550 lbs wet. All because of where the weight is distributed. I dropped it a lot for the first 2-3 weeks.

I suspect that handling your bike will in fact improve your upper arm strength--a workout in and of itself. But learning specific arm-strengthening exercises are a real help, as well as specifically stretching the upper body before & after riding. If you work out at a gym, ask a trainer for some pointers, or try looking online. Also: high reps of light weights are a better way to bring your joints up to speed, as opposed to shorter reps of heavy weights, which build muscle. For me, I wreak havoc on my joints (ligaments & tendons) far more than my muscles. And those stupid lightweight reps are boring. Pity I don't practice what I preach; I'd be in a lot less pain, a lot less often. :roll:
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#6 Unread post by Ryethil » Tue Jun 30, 2009 8:33 pm

coffee_brake wrote:It definately sounds like you've just forgotten some basic stuff.

Heck at 5'6" I can ride the ST1300 (and I have) and it is effortless to steer, and very well-mannered at parking lot speeds too. I work out but I'm still not very strong in my upper body. Pushups are very hard for me (but I'm getting better, better than when I rode a ST1300).

I'm guessing if the top-heavy issue is affecting you then you are having trouble at slower speeds. You probably know know better than me that the basics still apply. You know in a tight tight turn going slow, to weight the outside peg, slide your butt to the outside, slip the clutch, and lightly ride the back brake to get it to lean in better. Try it in second gear, it may be easier depending on the bike's gearing. Most of all, look up, not down, and look all the way through the turn, even if that means swivelling your head around like an owl.

Sounds like you just need to talk yourself through the basics and then go practice them, in a safe emptly lot wearing all your gear.

You can do it! That's a smooth beautiful bike and worth the effort!
A couple of confessions. Since I grew up with a bunch of boys and I'm just bigger than most of my lady friends, I've become sort of spoiled about just "doing" things that most women find hard to do physically. Also, since I never had any problem riding a Harley, I just got used to them at the expence of other bikes. So a lot of this was the cryings of a spoilt kid who wanted things all her own way. :?

I think you hit it on the head. Because of my size, I didn't have to use a lot of tricks to ride my bikes around. I knew them because that is how I learned to handle motorcycles. I just wanted to get on the ST1300 and just to ride it without any adjustment on my part. But I got scared of all the plastic it was encased in and I was so afraid I would drop it and have a large repair bill. not to mention what it would do to me. Yes, I'm having to go back to the basics and it's a let down but I think it will make me a safer rider all around in the end.

BTW, I do work out quite a bit because my job requires me to handle and lift other people's bodies as part of my work. And even though you have all those wonderful muscular Firemen who act as first responders in our system, if you don't use good body mechanics, you're going to end up with a real short career. Yes, pushups are still a b*tch and i get tired of the snide little comments I get from the guys who are afraid that they might get shown up by a "GURL". :laughing:

As for the ST1300P, I'm going to have it just a day or two. There was a guy who has more money than sense and really wants a police bike. When I get it, the bike will have a civilian regestration. It seems that in his state, he can't own a for governmental use vehicle at all. So this is like the chance of a lifetime. He offered me a price that I couldn't refuse and he's going to pick it up as soon as I get it. I've already gotten half of the price as a down payment. Sometimes you wish your bed was already made.

However, I'm getting a 2009 ST1300A for a unbelievable price because the dealer thinks he can't sell it. It's a brilliant red and I'm already excited about it. I'm putting new higher bars on it and modifying the seat a bit in the front so I can put my feet down comfortably. It's what I always wanted so I can't wait.

The best part is that my partner is excited about it too. she said that once I get settled in, she wants to do a few runs. I may make the AMA Women's conference yet

:woohoo:
Alex
It's good spelling but it Wobbles, and the letters get in the wrong places. WtPooh

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#7 Unread post by Ryethil » Tue Jun 30, 2009 9:01 pm

MZ33 wrote:I'll just add my 2 cents. I found that I just had to get used to how my top-heavy bike handles when parking, manuevering it in the garage, etc. The Versys is only 450 lbs wet--a lot less than what you will be dealing with, I know--but it was harder to handle standing still than the Vstar 650, which is 550 lbs wet. All because of where the weight is distributed. I dropped it a lot for the first 2-3 weeks.

I suspect that handling your bike will in fact improve your upper arm strength--a workout in and of itself. But learning specific arm-strengthening exercises are a real help, as well as specifically stretching the upper body before & after riding. If you work out at a gym, ask a trainer for some pointers, or try looking online. Also: high reps of light weights are a better way to bring your joints up to speed, as opposed to shorter reps of heavy weights, which build muscle. For me, I wreak havoc on my joints (ligaments & tendons) far more than my muscles. And those stupid lightweight reps are boring. Pity I don't practice what I preach; I'd be in a lot less pain, a lot less often. :roll:
Sorry, what you take for granted was frightening me to death. All the glass the bike was wrapped in and that I might drop it was almost scaring me out of getting the bike. I know how to ride Harleys, so why take a chance on something I would have to make adjustments on. Rather expensive adjustments if I didn't do everything perfect. Yes, I know now that I need to remember the basics and just let the bike teach me how to handle it. But it was scary for a time. Kind of still is.

As for joint and musle exercisies, I know a lot about people who don't take care of their bodies when they're younger. My mother was a stay at home mom but my aunt was one of those people when she had to worked construction because the money was so much better. I know she took a lot of grief about not being womanly enough but it paid the bills. Anyway, she really overworked her joints and now she is in her 50s and it's catching up with her. I work out in a co-ed gym but I take a lot of grief from the guys because I wieght train and my best isn't all that much, I guess. But I also work in a job that I need to lift heavy wieghts and I can't do it wrong for very long or I can hurt myself bad.

My partner wants me to go to a women only gym so we can train together. She also thinks I can get better advice from the trainers. I'm thinking seriously about it. They have more machines anyway. :mrgreen:

:thumbsup:
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It's good spelling but it Wobbles, and the letters get in the wrong places. WtPooh

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#8 Unread post by coffee_brake » Tue Jun 30, 2009 9:42 pm

Ah, Alex, you're coming off of Harleys to this big Honda...I've been there too! The Harley has such a low center of gravity that it seems like everything, I mean EVERYTHING but a wheelbarrow is topheavy in comparison...but it's not. That ST1300 is going to handle very well. Just talk yourself through the basics and go practice with it.

No, I don't envy you the maintenance bill on that plastic beast. (I maintain my own and that's precisely why I don't own a faired Honda!) but wow what a sweet, strong machine! I have chased an ST1300 over hill and dale and the only time my Concours could catch it was in the super-tight twisties. Why? Because I practice the really tight turns every week at the gym parking lot before class!

You'll both love that bike.....don't be scared, go practice and then ride it....
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#9 Unread post by Ryethil » Wed Jul 01, 2009 6:26 pm

coffee_brake wrote:Ah, Alex, you're coming off of Harleys to this big Honda...I've been there too! The Harley has such a low center of gravity that it seems like everything, I mean EVERYTHING but a wheelbarrow is topheavy in comparison...but it's not. That ST1300 is going to handle very well. Just talk yourself through the basics and go practice with it.

No, I don't envy you the maintenance bill on that plastic beast. (I maintain my own and that's precisely why I don't own a faired Honda!) but wow what a sweet, strong machine! I have chased an ST1300 over hill and dale and the only time my Concours could catch it was in the super-tight twisties. Why? Because I practice the really tight turns every week at the gym parking lot before class!

You'll both love that bike.....don't be scared, go practice and then ride it....
I am so waiting for it. I've got a while before the ST1300P gets here but I started assembling the red ST1300A bike this afternoon. Oh, Godess, when it's your bike you're putting together, you can get so picky. But it really needs all the TLC I can put into it because the bike will become family. It's like if kids were assembled instead of being born. I've torque wrenched every bolt so far. Even though it will take a couple of weeks before the police bike gets here and I get the rest of the money for it. No one is hassling me to get the work on mine done. But I'm in heaven!

:woohoo:
Alex
It's good spelling but it Wobbles, and the letters get in the wrong places. WtPooh

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#10 Unread post by follow » Thu Jul 02, 2009 8:24 am

Hello Alex, I agree with Coffee the ST is a sweet bike and everything else she said. (listen to the master)
call me biased, but I have two. I have a 1100 and a 1300, I also have Harlies and I am only 5'2" and a smidge.
It almost sounds like to me you want to push the bike instead of letting it glide into place. (I may be wrong) Also use your head, turn to where you want to go it will follow, this bike is touchy when it comes to weight (body) shift. The only difficulties I have is parking (I must make sure I think about it because my legs do not reach the ground) and backing up, I just take them slow and steady. So no need to man handle (JK) the bike.
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#11 Unread post by coffee_brake » Thu Jul 02, 2009 12:31 pm

I saw an ST1300P on the way to work today. I was at the stoplight next to another cop on a Road King....both of us were drooling as it smoothly rolled by....

Wasn't the right bike for me but it sure is a nice machine....
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#12 Unread post by follow » Thu Jul 02, 2009 5:23 pm

Coffee_Brake,
Did you know that most of the ST1300P has been modified in height.Mostly due to the solo seats that they install. I was listening to some LEO's (my buddies) and they informed me of this.
Can we trust the word of a LEO? :roll: :wink: :laughing:
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Still Learning

#13 Unread post by Gina » Sat Jul 11, 2009 8:40 am

This conversation is an interesting one and I'm learning a lot from you all just reading your posts. The only thing I had ever ridden on two wheels before turning 52 was a bicycle.
Last year, I had an accident when I fell into our basement that splintered my arm pretty bad and required three surgeries. I had been wanting to learn how to ride but of course that had to be put off. Then, without exercising patience and good sense, I hopped on my new Majesty 400 and the second day after I got her, took her out on the road and had a fine wreck. I wasn't even all the way healed from my surgeries which included taking some bone out of my hip to put in my arm and the wreck really set me back but at least it literally and figuratively knocked some sense into me. :oops:
Now, I've done it right, took the MSF course and practiced a lot before going out on the road. I'm on a Grand Vista 250 which is a scooter but keeps up with my husband's old Honda 450 so I'm having a blast. But I wrote all this to say my GV is actually helping me regain my strength in my left arm. It just weighs 350 lbs. but for someone who has been through what I have, not to mention my age, I'm doing very well to handle it. So, my bike is making me stronger. It's fun thinking about what I can go to next once I'm close to being my old self. I don't think I'll ever be riding the kind of motorcycles most of you are talking about though but as we used to say back in the day: More power to you! :wink:

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Re: Still Learning

#14 Unread post by Thistleback » Tue Jul 21, 2009 7:18 pm

Gina wrote: So, my bike is making me stronger. It's fun thinking about what I can go to next once I'm close to being my old self.

Regina
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I'm 55 and just started riding this year. I started on a 250 and only had it for two months before graduating to a 750. I'll probably not ever go much bigger than an 1100, but I'm 5'6" and 149 lbs. I work out regularly at the gym and found that helps tremendously when it comes to handling the bike. Once you have recovered there's no telling where you'll end up!

I had rotator cuff surgery in July 2005 and got back to sea kayaking by October the same year. In July 2006 I did a 10-day kayaking expedition in the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska with a group of female friends. As fifty-somethings we're not getting old, just experienced and interesting!
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#15 Unread post by IcyHound » Thu Jul 23, 2009 11:52 am

The motorcycle is a gyroscope in motion. Use the physics not the mechanics. The bike wants to go in a straight line and it also wants to turn. Strength has nothing to do with it.
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#16 Unread post by mazer » Thu Jul 23, 2009 8:35 pm

Alex, you need to take the motorcycle safety course and then probably get ito an advanced motorcycle riders course. They are invaluable for learning the mechanics of a bike. Really it should not matter the size of the bike as far as actual riding it goes, stopping is another matter - but learning to use your body and the gyroscopic tendencies of the motorcycle can vastly improve your skills. Especially with a bigger bike.
Now I need to backtrack a bit. I have seen a number of Youtube videos on this and have spend some time just hopping on bikes to try them out and get the feel for them. There are some bikes that wont fit your body type and will cause riding to be more difficult. IE: A Kawasaki 600 vs the Suzuki 600 Kawasaki - a great bike - can cause pain in wrists after awhile making the ride uncomfortable.
That is why I recoommend not just getting a bike based on CC's but on comfort instead. If you are not comfortable or the bike is not being as responsive as a bike you are use to it might not be a good fit.
That is when you should figure out what the differences are on the bikes and make adjustments accordingly. Good luck

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