Assume The Position!Posted: January 19, 2012
The Dyna-Flex Pro Gyro Hand Exerciser
Being reminded that the bone contusion on the base of my left thumb is still not healed and is not getting any better after three months, I remembered this little guy: the Dyna-Flex Pro Gyro Hand Exerciser. I bought it when I had developed acute pain in both wrists due to improperly adjusted levers on my Hayabusa a little over two years ago.
I did some research into how to prevent wrist and hand pain caused by motorcycling riding and how to alleviate it once it has started and what the causes are. I had first thought that my pain was caused by having to write a lot by hand at work. The pain started in my right hand, after all. When the left hand started complaining, I had to admit to misdiagnosing myself. I bought several carpal tunnel braces. None of which seemed to offer any relief.
One source stated that exercise would relieve repetitive motion injury, as long as it isn’t the same repetitive motion that caused the injury in the first place. My injuries started in my right hand, because it is constantly adjusting throttle input and working the front brakes. The clutch hand followed later, because it doesn’t have to rotate the grip and the clutch lever is used less frequently than the brake, even more so since I do not use the clutch lever to upshift once I’m rolling.
Superbike grips are low, pretty close together and at an angle, to enable the rider to tuck in tightly behind the wind screen, for those high-speed low-drag pursuits on the Inter… oh wait! On the straight parts of the racetrack. That makes them somewhat a pain in the wrist when mounted on a street bike and riding at highway speeds. You could assume the position and look like a total douche puttering down the boulevard at 55 MPH in a full race tuck, which will eventually lead to a pain in the neck. Sportbikes are also a pain in the ass, just read this post on The Dandooligan for the reason why.
Not to say that the race tuck doesn’t have its application in street riding. When it’s cold as crap and the wind chill dumps the temps to -16 Fahrenheit, the race tuck doesn’t seem so silly anymore at Interstate speeds. It also helps when it’s windy enough to get blown all over the road. Tuck in tight, become one with the machine and take back control of your lane position. If nothing’s sticking out, it’s a heck of a lot less likely for you to get blown off the road.
A Quickie Lesson in Riding Position
Proper riding position, a neutral wrist-arm alignment (wrist inline with forearm, not kinked at an angle), and well-adjusted levers and foot pegs are pretty much mandatory. And so is having the proper strength and dexterity in various parts of the body to assume the correct pose to avoid such things as “arm pump” (which is caused by putting your weight on your kinked wrists) and unintentional steering inputs.
You should be anchored to your bike with your lower body only. All your weight should be off your wrists. If you can’t let go of your grips at any point without falling off your rocket, you need to re-examine your body position.
Seven points of contact: Left hand, right hand, left inner thigh, right inner thigh, your azz, left foot, right foot.
Four anchor points: Left foot, right foot, left inner thigh, right inner thigh. Your core (and to a degree wind-resistance) hold your upper body up, and the hands are free to do whatever they need to do. No pulling yourself up by your arms! That’s a big no-no. If you can’t hang off and switch positions from left to right without having your hands on the grips you’re not doing it right. This is a tough one and not quite as important in street riding as it is in track riding, however it’s a good habit to get into to avoid all those complaints about discomfort and pain a lot of riders have with riding sportbikes.
Two control points: Left hand, right hand. And that’s all they should be doing. Controlling stuff. Steering, clutch, throttle, brakes, and pushing the buttons on your MP3 player…
Back to our regular scheduled programming…
The gyro ball works. I used it off and on at work when I was bored, sitting at my desk or standing around outside. I couldn’t use it for more than a few minutes at the time, and I could feel my muscles working all the way to my shoulders. I fatigued fairly quickly, but I did notice an improvement in my mangled wrists. My arms were also sore after using the thing. The pain in my wrists eventually disappeared and my finger dexterity seemed to have improved some.
The only “grype” I have: It’s a pull-start and the little shoelace-like string that comes with the ball eventually loses it’s plastic ends, which makes it impossible to insert the string into the little hole inside of the “string channel”. You can manually start the ball, but it takes some practice, but eventually you’ll get the hang of it.
I am on my second ball. The first one succumbed to gyroscopic failure a few days after I bought it. I took it back to the store to exchange it for a new one. The second ball is still going strong.
It’s a fun little cubicle toy, too. It gives you something to play with when you’re bored, it doesn’t seem like exercise until your muscles scream bloody murder and it’s fun to have “races” at the office. Mine got passed around quite a lot. People couldn’t walk past the thing without picking it up and giving it a spin.
If you decide to give this thing a try, don’t bother with all those unnecessary accessories you can buy for it; even though the lighted version is pretty nifty. 🙂
Rated 4 out of 5 Hearts
That takes care of the finger/hand dexterity. Now, off to do some squats and lunges to bring my thighs up to speed, so I can actually move from side to side on my bike, without having to cheat eventually and pull myself up by the clip-ons. My core and lower back could use a little de-fluffing, too.
Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor! Nor can I recommend self-diagnosis as a proper medical tool to circumvent paying inflated co-pays to excessively greedy HMOs/PPOs who can’t get enough of your money. So, see a freakin’ doctor. This article is not intended to be used as a PDR, it just tells of my own experiences with an exercise product. And if this ain’t working out for you, don’t come crying to me via your ambulance-chasing attorney. In other words, don’t try this at home, kids.