Arm-pump is a pain in the butt. Well, actually the arms…. Anyway, arm-pump is one of the leading causes of dirt bike crashes. Riders get tired and weak, and when the strain is too much, they can’t control their bike, so the bike ends up controlling them.
I personally know what it’s like to race, or just ride in general, with and without arm-pump. Without any doubt, it is SO much easier to ride without your fore-arms burning up. Now I’m not here to tell you that there’s a fix-it-all solution where you take a drink of something and it and the soreness disappears! No, arm-pump won’t go away overnight, or at all in some cases, but…. I will show you a few simple ways to greatly reduce the inflammation that can start working today.
1. Dehydration Is Your Enemy
I know it’s common sense to keep drinking fluids when riding, but I see too many riders not drinking nearly enough liquids, and then they ask why it’s so difficult to continue riding… First of all, energy drinks are NOT for hydrating. Whatever you do, do not drink energy drinks on race-day; it will only make things worse. Water and gatorade (or similar) are your friend, and you should be drinking them by the bottles, ESPECIALLY on scorching hot race-days. Also, it takes about 20 minutes to hydrate your body, so begin drinking well before you start riding. Keeping hydrated will give you more energy and keep the blood flowing, reducing your arm-pump. If you have a long race, or just want to drink while you’re riding, a Camelbak Hydration Pack is a perfect solution.
You’re basically asking for an accident if you don’t stretch before riding. Racing on a tight and un-stretched body is one of the worst things you can do, and it greatly improves the chance of crashing your dirt bike. Doing simple stretches before riding or racing will greatly reduce stress, allowing you to stay loose and ride harder for longer. I like to stretch out my arms, hands and shoulders, and it doesn’t take much time. Just think, a couple extra minutes of stretching can reduce arm-pump, and possibly prevent an accident/injury.
My biggest problem with arm-pump was from not being able to relax. I was trying and holding on too hard with my hands, causing my arms to “pump-up” and eventually lock up. The instant I started to relax and not “death grip” the bars while racing, I could feel that arm-pump wasn’t as big of an issue as it used to be. Just by releasing my grip on the handlebars a little, breathing slower but more, and staying calm allowed me to ride 2-3 times longer than before at a fast pace. I was literally shocked at how big of a difference it made, and will continue to do this for as long as I ride.
4. Grip With Your Knees
This is in addition to relaxing your hands and arms. By gripping the bike with your knees and legs (especially through whoop and rough sections), you are taking much strain off your upper body, giving them a much needed rest. Gripping your dirt bike with your knees also keeps the bike riding straighter when riding over rough sections that can cause your bike to get sideways.
5. Fore-Arm Exercises
All of the tips above to reduce arm-pump can be done immediately and at the track. But for those that want to go a step further without spending much time or money, there are simple exercises that you can do to strengthen your arms. Some exercises that you can do a couple times a day are: pull-ups, push-ups, dumbbell lifting, and many more that will help strengthen your arms. One that will really works if you keep at it, is taking a rod about one to two feet in length and tying a string to it with a weight on the end. Hold onto the rod on both ends and spin it to wrap the string around it, pulling the weight up. Once you pull the weight to the rod, rotate the rod to lower the weight, then repeat. Caution: Do not do work-outs or exercises before you ride, or you will be sore and more worn out. Just do the stretches prior to riding. Injuries can and will happen. So if you crash often, it’s smart to Get Motocross Insurance.
If you really want to go far with your riding and training, check out the GetFitRideFast Training Program. It’s all on your computer, and will get you what you want if you stick with it. I can guarantee that you will notice a difference by doing some or all of these tips if you aren’t already. You will soon be flying by your friends when they are worn out after a few laps… Good luck, and ride safe!