Beat Forearm Pump
Beat Forearm Pump
Arm pump: you know what I'm talking about. It doesn't matter if you hold down a desk job and live for the weekend ride, or you're sponsored to go out and kick butt, if you ride, arm pump is an issue. Even pros aren't immune from it. But it's a critical issue for them since their careers demand that they perform well. How do they deal with the arm pump issue?
First and foremost, they anticipate what's coming up ahead of them on the track. Being prepared will allow you to minimize any trouble. The key here is to constantly stay aware.
The next bit of advice involves your positioning on the bike. When you ride with a forward position, with your upper torso above the bars, it will work wonders for you. What happens is that the bike is pushing you, rather than pulling you.
The next thing you can do is pay attention to positioning. Use your legs to put the squeeze on the bike. This way you can give your whole body a leading role in guiding your bike - there's no reason to let your arms do all the work. And remember to breathe. It's very tempting to hold your breath and cramp up - in fact it's natural. But lack of oxygen in your blood is one of the things that contribute to the pump.
And finally, nothing can take the place of good, old fashioned hard work. Train, train, and then train some more. The more at home you feel on the bike, the more natural your form will be and this will be reflected in your technique and performance.
Follow these tips along with your regular motocross training program to minimize the problem.
- Emphasize your forearms when you do your pre-ride stretching routine. Tight muscles in this region will just exasperate forearm pump. The best way to perform this stretch is to be sitting on your bike; that way you'll target the forearm muscles just right. So start by assuming your normal position on your bike. While holding your arms straight out with your hands turned up at the wrist, lower your arms far enough so that your fingertips are touching the center of the grips. Slowly push against the grips with your fingertips. Hold for one minute. Relax. Repeat until your forearms are loose.
- Proper control configuration. It's very important that all controls are properly configured and maintained that way exactly all the time. Both your clutch lever and front brake lever should be in a direct line with your forearms when your body position is poised to attack. Bottom line - you must be ergonomically correct all the time.
- Part of your training is to ride on a regular basis. We're all busy these days; no doubt about that. But the fact of the matter is that that you and your bike must be best friends to function as a unit. Your body must remain conditioned and fluid.
- Are your grips too big for your hands? The fact of the matter is that most motocross riders use the grips from the factory. They will do a lot of customization to the rest of the bike and never give a thought to the grips. But the right size grips can be a maker or breaker when it comes to muscle fatigue and form.
- Get warmed up and stay that way. Warm up early and stay that way. When you cool off too much, your muscles tighten up. If you get on your bike in that condition for a training ride or to race, you're asking for trouble.
- Don't use "death grip" tight gloves. This tip dovetails into the last tip. You've got to keep your blood flowing. If not, you risk muscle pulls, loss of flexibility, and impairment of your nerves. Your nerves are a feedback mechanism. Don't compromise them.
- Finally, give those forearms a workout. Buy yourself a hand spring exerciser. Squeeze it rhythmically for one minute with one hand and the switch to the other. Repeat. Make it a habit by doing it along with another activity, such as when you're watching TV. Another exercise that helps is this: put a comfortable amount of weight on a barbell. Sit on a bench with your arms resting on your legs and wrists 4" beyond your knees, palms up. Holding the barbell with both hands, just curl your wrists repeatedly. Flip your arms over and curl your wrists the other direction.
All riders will experience forearm pump; it's a fact of life whether you've been riding a week or ten years. When you ride, focus on remaining fluid and loose. This is one of the best ways to control arm pump after you've prepared with the above tips.
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