Nov 2014 29

The biker's story

By: Dave Wheeler

Tony has quite an unusual sport - he races motorbike's on track days.

He's out on his bike every weekend and is on the track every weekend.


pic by khunaspix @


A typical track day involves 20 minutes riding every hour for a full day. The demands on the body are huge - let's take a look at what Tony puts his body through every time he rides, from head to toe.


The muscles of the head and neck

Tony is a big guy, his head weighs a little over 8½kg. Add to that the average weight of a bike helmet which is 1½kg, Tony's carrying the equivalent of 10 bags of sugar on his neck muscles.

Remember that on a bike, Tony is bent forward over the handlebars, so the muscles at the back of his neck are having to support all 10kg - that means that those muscles (called the levator scapula) are having to work overtime to support his head when he's riding. 

Not surprisingly, when Tony came for treatment, the muscles at the back of his neck were really tight and needed a lot of deep tissue massage and other treatments to relax them and ease them out.


The muscles of the back

Tony's posture type was kyphotic-lordotic (see the previous blog post on the subject), with a naturally bigger curve in his lower back. This increased curve in the lumbar spine means that the muscles are habitually kept shorter than they would otherwise be. 

When Tony's bent over his bike for the day, he's stretching his back out beyond the range that it's used to. Not surprisingly, after a day of riding, Tony's back ached like hell.

His quadratus lumborum muscle in his lower back was treated for trigger points. Then connective tissue massage was used to stretch out the fascia before deep tissue massage techniques relaxed the muscles.


The muscles of the legs

In the riding position, Tony's knees are constantly flexed, meaning that his hamstrings (they're the muscles responsible for flexing the knee) are kept unusually shortened and tight. 

Good old fashioned massage sorted those out.


The ankles

With his feet on the pedals, his feet are kept in the dorsiflexed position (toes pointing up). Again, this is an unnatural position to keep for 20 minutes at a time.

The tibialis anterior muscles (the one that runs down in a strip on the outside of the front of your leg) are responsible for pulling the ankle joint up into dorsiflexion, so for Tony, this muscle became hypteronic through overuse. A technique called stripping was used to ease the tibialis anterior - don't worry, it sounds painful, but isn't.


Remedial massage for motorcyclists

If you're a biker, then the chances are that, like Tony, you'll get sore neck, back, leg and ankle muscles. If you think I can help keep you riding for longer, then give me a call.