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arm-pump victims: some sweet tips

Discussion in 'Downhill & Freeride' started by TrumbullHucker, Oct 17, 2013.

  1. TrumbullHucker

    TrumbullHucker trumbullruxer

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    i get it all the time
    ontop of just "riding more" here are some sweet tips i got from some motocross forum


    very good read

    On the bike:

    1. Don’t hold the handlebar grips so tightly: If you are holding on to the handlebars with a death-grip, you are sure to get arm pump. Relax your hold. Flow with the bike, dont fight it. Learn to absorb bumps with your entire body being relaxed, not tense.

    2. Grip the bike with your legs: Besides reducing arm pump, gripping the dirt bike with your legs instead of your hands, can greatly improve balance and speed. By gripping the tank with your knees you do not need to hold your handlebars so tightly.

    3. Breathe, relax and have fun: State of mind is critical to reducing arm pump. Ever notice that you never get arm pump while practicing hard for hours, yet it’s an immediate factor at a 20 minute race? That’s because you are tensing up and stiff, and not breathing oxygen into your lungs, hence into your blood. Relax. Don’t hold your breathe. Breathe deeply and remind yourself to have fun while riding!

    4. Ride more often: This is the most common solution given by motocross trainers. Probably because it forces all these tips to occur naturally. By riding often your body not only gets the consistent cardio workout part executed, but riding often also trains your muscles to oxygenate themselves during intense activity too. Best of all, riding more often will help you become a better, smoother rider, allowing the forearm muscles to do less work.

    5. Avoid ‘wrist restriction’: Often overlooked, it is important not to restrict your wrists movement or blood-flow with overly tight jersey cuffs or glove closures. Less blood flowing through your wrist, means less blood flowing through your forearms. Keep your Velcro glove closures loose.

    6. Buy quality aftermarket products designed to help: There are several high quality products on the market that have proven to reduce rider fatigue and arm pump. Steering dampers, anti vibration handlebars, impact absorbing handlebar gel, and newer grip design, can all reduce arm pump. ChronicMX has done product reviews on most of these with positive results (See product reviews).

    7. Ensure proper bike settings: Suspension, Handlebar choice, and lever positioning must be properly set for each rider’s custom weight, height, skill level, comfort and terrain. Incorrect settings will lead to the need for an increased grip on the handlebars, causing arm fatigue and creating a higher likelihood of arm pump.

    Off the bike:

    8. Follow a weekly cardio workout program: Cardiovascular exercise increases your body’s ability to replenish muscles with oxygen. By teaching the muscles to replenish themselves with a fresh supply of oxygenated blood during stress, arm pump becomes greatly reduced.

    9. Take supplements: It is very important to keep your body’s level of minerals and nutrients high, so that it can replenish itself during intense cardio exercise. Numerous companies make supplements that include minerals such as magnesium, that have been proven to work well in combating arm pump. Some even help break up lactic acid build up. Cytomax is a chosen favorite amongst motocrossers….so is taking a small dose of aspirin as a blood thinner.

    10. Drink more H20: Staying hydrated is a critical factor for obvious reasons. Dehydration can lead to muscle cramps and fatigue. Not only will drinking more water help reduce arm pump, but it can improve the body’s ability to absorb critical minerals and prevent heat stroke too.

    11. Do 15 minutes of cardio exercise just prior to riding: This is critical and one of the most important factors in reducing arm pump. Raising your heart rate prior to your first moto or ride is a guaranteed way to increase blood flow throughout your body and hence, prevent arm pump. This is why you see the pros doing jumping jacks or riding stationary bicycles just before the start of each moto.
     

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  2. jonKranked

    jonKranked Press Button, Receive Stupid

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    something i'd like to add to #5 that i personally have found to help: trim the calluses on your hands (specifically the ones on your palms just below your fingers). the hard tissue that forms (a callus) actually serves to reduce bloodflow to the fingers when gripping a handlebar.
     
  3. Mo(n)arch

    Mo(n)arch Turbo Monkey

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    I found that setting up my fork with less SAG has helped me a lot as I am not constantly in the progressive range of the travel.
    Choosing the right diameter of grip helps too. Your hands and arms will hurt with either too big or too small grips.
     
  4. Sandwich

    Sandwich Pig my fish!
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    Good brakes is #1 on my list. Not having to work so hard to slow down reduces hand fatigue by a ton.

    Good grips is also up there. The right diameter for your hand, the right shape, the right durometer matters quite a bit. Nothing like ditching ergon hard plastic junkers for something with a little squish.

    A good fork is also critical. There was a night and day difference between my 2010 boxxer and virtually anything else I used, especially the 2012 zokes. Zero forearm fatigue because my brakes weren't hopes and fork wasn't a boxxer, best upgrade you can make.
     
  5. Lions

    Lions Chimp

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    12. Strap your handlebars to a paint can shaker and turn that thing up to 11
     
  6. Mo(n)arch

    Mo(n)arch Turbo Monkey

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    I made the same experience when I switched my Totem with a 888evo. Talk about grip and comfort.
     
  7. jackalope

    jackalope Mental acuity - 1%

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    What Sandwich and Mo(n)arch said. My 888evo has been a revelation in this regard...That and switching hands in shower.
     
  8. Sandwich

    Sandwich Pig my fish!
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    I'm sorry to beat the same SRAM-sucks drum, but that fork, and the brandy-new 2011 R2C2 I had after it, were so bad for my forearms that I invested in one of those powerballs, and used to do it daily on my walk to work. I was riding pretty regularly at the time, but it didn't help. A more supple suspension did.
     
  9. CrabJoe StretchPants

    CrabJoe StretchPants Reincarnated Crab Walking Head Spinning Bruce Dick

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    I thought this was going to be a Shake-Weight thread.
     
  10. OGRipper

    OGRipper Turbo Monkey

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    Surprised to not see more mention of specific off-bike exercises to increase forearm and wrist strength, like reverse curls, forearm curls, and using those spring loaded squeezy thingies. Lots of people spend time building bigger guns but many skip forearm and wrist work, and it really helps on the bike. Seems kind of obvious that building strength in those areas will help, but I never really took it seriously until after I broke my wrist and talked about this stuff with my physical therapist.
     
  11. tabletop84

    tabletop84 Monkey

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    or alternatively: furios masturbation
     
  12. MDJ

    MDJ Monkey

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    Biggest thing for me is correct diameter grips. There seems to be a fascination with really thin grips and I don't understand it for people with large hands. Grips that don't fit properly cause you grip the bars harder than you should.

    The problem is that most of the largest diameter grips get too soft for my preferences.
     
  13. jonKranked

    jonKranked Press Button, Receive Stupid

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    have some change
     
  14. Sandwich

    Sandwich Pig my fish!
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    deadlifts helped me a lot with grip strength. Surprising when you first think about it, but it's a pretty complete lift and the forearm burn working those translated into MOAR POWERRRRRRRRr on the bike.
     
  15. jonKranked

    jonKranked Press Button, Receive Stupid

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    ride some bmx
     
  16. OGRipper

    OGRipper Turbo Monkey

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    Right, sure, but the point was about off-bike things you can do to get better results on the bike.
     
  17. Lions

    Lions Chimp

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    These conversations always amuse me and you see them across so many sports/activities. If you want to get better at something or improve in a specific way, DO THAT THING MORE OFTEN. Don't practice drops or gaps by jumping down flights of stairs and don't try to alleviate arm pump by wringing out bath towels.

    I'm sure there are little tricks and bike adjustment tips (many listed above) that help, but by and large the best thing to do is practice.

     
  18. CrabJoe StretchPants

    CrabJoe StretchPants Reincarnated Crab Walking Head Spinning Bruce Dick

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    ^ You're not Rich, are you?
     
  19. boylagz

    boylagz Monkey

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    Do some rock climbing. Thatll fix your arm pump. Seriously.
     
  20. Lions

    Lions Chimp

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    Guilty as charged... Joe?
     
  21. CrabJoe StretchPants

    CrabJoe StretchPants Reincarnated Crab Walking Head Spinning Bruce Dick

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    Sure is! I thought you were dead or something, it's been years. How's things?
     
  22. FlipFantasia

    FlipFantasia Turbo Monkey

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    that, and a bit of HTFU
     
  23. Kanye West

    Kanye West 220# bag of hacktastic

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    Forearm curls.

    Rock climbing.

    Rows/pulls at the gym.

    Run your suspension super soft and your tires super low every once in a while just to teach yourself to keep a light feel through the pedals and grips. I notice this a lot going from my DH bike for my 6" bike. I run 40-45% sag front/rear on my 6" bike, and I run about 25% on my DH bike (even less up front). The smaller bike just needs the negative travel for traction purposes, and it forces you to ride way smoother and use more of your arms and legs. I never get arm pump on that bike.
     
  24. OGRipper

    OGRipper Turbo Monkey

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    Absolutely, and "Ride More" is definitely part of the original list. Some of us are just saying there are things you can do to supplement what you get from riding. A little extra work pays big benefits, especially once you're a little older. I'm almost 44 - riding is not enough to keep me fit and strong all around.

    Also, rock climbing.
     
  25. CrabJoe StretchPants

    CrabJoe StretchPants Reincarnated Crab Walking Head Spinning Bruce Dick

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    Do you know what you don't get arm pump on?

    A HoverRound.
     
  26. boylagz

    boylagz Monkey

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    Ive been riding for a lil over 2 yrs and have been climbing for 8. I have no scientific evidence whatsoever but I havent experienced forearm pump riding downhill, ever. I think these 2 activities go quite well together :)
     
  27. HardtailHack

    HardtailHack used an iron once

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    1- Buy a Powerball, use it and never get arm pump again, also, watch more porn.
     
  28. Lelandjt

    Lelandjt Turbo Monkey

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    #1 tip: STOP USING LOCK-ON GRIPS!!!!

    You want shock absorbing rubber or foam between your hands and the bar, not a layer of plastic taking up space and reducing the amount of rubber or making the whole thing thicker. You definitely don't want your hand resting on an alloy collar if you like riding on the outside end of the grip. Do you really change your handlebar parts often enough to need lock-ons? Do you care more about that convenience than riding comfort? I switched all my bikes to Titec Porkrinds a few years ago and haven't had arm pump since. And no, they won't slip if you glue them on with Gorilla Glue or something else strong. Cut them off when necessary and spend the $8 for a new pair.
     
  29. FlipFantasia

    FlipFantasia Turbo Monkey

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    hahahah
     
  30. norbar

    norbar Turbo Monkey

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    I recently got an advice about this from my ladyfriend and suspect RM will find it most excellent. The suggestion is "you have to squeeze my boobs more often". I suspect she is right since arm pump I rarely get.
     
  31. ChrisRobin

    ChrisRobin Turbo Monkey

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    I found messing with the brake lever position helped a lot. I brake with the index finger and have my saint levers almost touching the grip at full brake lock.
     
    #31 -   Oct 18, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2013
  32. demonprec

    demonprec Monkey

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    i switched to a big dia grip and also stiffened up my fork that helped a ton , i also run the levers as close to the grip as i can so i,m not having to stretch my fingers to brake , when not braking i take my finger off the levers . all these have helped me alot with arm pump . learning too roll thru more sections with no brakes has helped alot as well .
     
  33. BigBoi

    BigBoi Monkey

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    My pinky and ring finger get seriously stiff and painful on both hands. Sometimes it's so painful that I have trouble just keeping my hands on the grips thru high speed chattery stuff (braking bumps in particular). In fact, I just broke my wrist at Mtn. Creek last weekend on the 3rd straight day of riding when my hand came off the grip fliyng down a rocky section of Ripper.

    I have large grips for my large mits and recently switched from elixirs to saints to help prevent hand fatigue.
    I lift weights to strengthen my hands and arms too.

    Any ideas? Does anyone else have this issue?
     
  34. acair422

    acair422 Monkey

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    i'm surprised people are moving the lever closer to the bar, seems to me you may want it further out so that your finger isn't "reaching back for it". I've also messed around a bit with my handlebar rotation (rolling them back towards the seat). I have also heard that in reality a big part of hand cramping is a result of friction in the forearm tendon sheaths that don't allow things to move properly, maybe a bit like old cable/housing. I also get really bad hand cramps and am still looking for a remedy...
     
  35. TrumbullHucker

    TrumbullHucker trumbullruxer

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    cool! stoked to see this thread made it to 3 pages.
    stretching before hitting the mountain is great too
    today at mtn creek i took some air out of my front tire and stiffened the fork a tad and i def felt a positive difference. brakes NEED TO GO.. i am working so hard to lower my speed at correct areas of the trail that my pinky finger and ring finger are locked in a curl position and have zero finger power lol
    hurts like a bitch and slows me down alot
    ill pass on the switching forks just for arm pump idea, i really enjoy my boxxer and have 0 complaints.. so better brakes/pad/bleed, grip size are the biggest bike changes i will do; along with the necessary workouts


    keep the tips and ideas rolling!
     
  36. demonprec

    demonprec Monkey

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    even rebuilding your current boxer can help you out one of the guys i ride with said rebuilding his helped reduce arm pump when he road Whistler
     
  37. demonprec

    demonprec Monkey

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  38. CraigS

    CraigS Monkey

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    I personally found that brake lever positioning and fork setup is a huge contributing factor for arm pump.
     
  39. TrumbullHucker

    TrumbullHucker trumbullruxer

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    yeah, def going to rebuild my boxxer this winter ( new seals too cause there was liquid showing on the right leg seal )
     
  40. acair422

    acair422 Monkey

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    for those who can't afford to go switching forks and all that, all tips would be appreciated!