Today’s Guest post with from Matthew Sklar at evo
Mountain biking is all about strong legs, right? Hit the squats and you’ll be ready to rip — or not. Your upper body, namely your hands and wrists still play a major role in mountain biking. These areas can also be major sources of pain. So, in order to stay pain-free, it’s important to take care of those upper body appendages that mountain bikers so often ignore. Obviously, your hands are one of the main connections between the rider and the bike and in rough, rocky terrain, those hands have to hold on tight, no matter how sweet your new full suspension mountain bike is.
Step number one is the proper mountain bike sizing. The angle of your brake levers and bike shifters are a common point of wrist fatigue. Shoot for a 45-degree angle, this should match up naturally with the angle of your arms and wrists while riding. Your body position on the bike also changes the stress on your arms. Keeping your weight on your feet allows you to be light on your hands, and puts you in a better position to attack the trail. Check out the video for more:
Even with the right bike size and technique, your arms will still get tired during a ride. There are lots of great exercises to help your grip and wrist strength. The first is the kettlebell suitcase carry, which focuses on grip strength, core strength. and wrist strength. This exercise will also help to counteract some of the ill-effects of long days sitting at your desk at work. Focusing on core and shoulder positioning will give you the most benefit, and help build arm strength that you’ll need out on the trail.
Kettlebell Screwdrivers are another good exercise for mountain bikers, focusing on strengthening the wrist in the neutral grip position that mountain bikers use when gripping the bars. These also have benefits to the shoulder and rotator cuff.
Grip strength is a good start to getting your arms ready for mountain bike season, but it’s also a good idea to mix in some mobility and flexibility exercises. If you’ve ever felt “pumped” out after a long descent, or your forearms just feel worked, these are the exercises for you. Building up a good foundation here will reduce the fatigue you feel while riding. Proper riding technique, especially not “death-gripping” your bike handlebars is important here, too.
Combine the above exercises to get ready for Spring riding. Strong legs and core are essential to mountain biking, but focuses on your arms, wrists and hands will make you an even better rider, with more control and less fatigue on the trail.
We are evo — a ski, snowboard, mountain bike, surf, wake, and skate retailer based in Seattle, Washington, USA, with stores located in Seattle, Portland, and Denver. We seek to bring our customers the highest quality outdoor gear all while creating an extraordinary customer experience, and giving back to the communities in which we work and play. evo also likes to travel to remote places across the globe in search of world-class powder turns, epic waves, or legendary mountain biking locations through evoTrip adventure vacations.