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Foot placement when Jumping

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I generally ride on the balls of my feet . mainly proper body positioning standing 6'4" ish . I was told that when taking off and landing ,my feet should rest on arches . I've tried this and it sucked ASS landing .Almost snapped my ankle .  is this bogus advice or do I need to adjust  ? .

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I always stand on the balls of my feet when jumping, and most everywhere else for that matter. Some times when I seat bounce straight out of a corner I'll only have one foot on the pegs but that's an exception.

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Balls of your feet but you should always be ready to adjust position. If you are going to take a hard hit you need to get back on your arches so you have more support. If you don't your ankles are REALLY going to feel it. The key to jumping is being loose on the bike. The looser you body, the better the results. Watch the fast guys and take notice how much they move around on the bike. Esp their feet. They set up for the next obstacle while airborne whether it is a downshift, a brake tap, getting on the seat or getting themselves up on the tank and a leg out for the corner.

 

I'm not suggesting you go out and try this, as it does take a lot of skill and confidence on the bike but it is a good learning tool. The way I learned to loosen up on the bike is to kick one leg out in the air. Next jump I do the other. You will look like a goon doing it but it has really helped me gain confidence when jumping. I make far less mistakes while jumping because I am developing the skill to adjust without having to think about what I am doing. Once you gain that confidence your feet will begin to do what they are supposed to do because the rest of your body will lead them.

 

Hope that makes sense! It is all directly related and moving your feet will feel awkward until you are comfortable in the air.

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Thanks Dubb .

 the reason the conversation got brought up was that my boot kept snagging the edge of the frame on my RMZ where the sub frame bolt placement is . I would try and move my foot forward so the boot doesn't snag but then I was involuntarily tapping the rear brake and downshifting . so that's a no go not with size 12 .

 the other thing that was brought up about foot placement was when I jumped a good size double .The bike went sideways "again" but this time I couldn't pull it back and ride it out .  The bike and I created a cloud of dirt  and walked away with a little scratch .

 In the past I've a problem with the bike kicking sideway when taking some good air . it helps when I slow the rebound but I think that maybe I'm weighing more on one side of the bike . My friend John thinks that I'm not getting correct body balance because I don't have my feet placed flat on the pegs . the problem with that is I cant get flat footed on the pegs .if I did ,my ass would be so far over the back of the bike I'd be back flipping taking air .

 

Heres a pic of the scratch I got after we got done riding  .Got back to the house and cleaned it out .

 

154707_10202081367659635_703130713515228

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Thanks Dubb .

 the reason the conversation got brought up was that my boot kept snagging the edge of the frame on my RMZ where the sub frame bolt placement is . I would try and move my foot forward so the boot doesn't snag but then I was involuntarily tapping the rear brake and downshifting . so that's a no go not with size 12 .

 the other thing that was brought up about foot placement was when I jumped a good size double .The bike went sideways "again" but this time I couldn't pull it back and ride it out .  The bike and I created a cloud of dirt  and walked away with a little scratch .

 In the past I've a problem with the bike kicking sideway when taking some good air . it helps when I slow the rebound but I think that maybe I'm weighing more on one side of the bike . My friend John thinks that I'm not getting correct body balance because I don't have my feet placed flat on the pegs . the problem with that is I cant get flat footed on the pegs .if I did ,my ass would be so far over the back of the bike I'd be back flipping taking air .

 

Heres a pic of the scratch I got after we got done riding  .Got back to the house and cleaned it out .

 

154707_10202081367659635_703130713515228

I know what you mean and I totally understand since I wear a size 12 and am all of 6'4. I had a huge fear of jumping for the same reasons you describe. One thing I can vouch for is that it doesn't really matter where your butt is. Use your chest to weight the front end. Even if your butt is sticking over the rear, the weight of your torso will keep the front end low. This is why I am not a fan of extremely high bars because even if you use good form it will allow you to get too far over the rear because odds are the most comfortable position will be for the bars to be in line with the forks. 

 

Just keep at it and get your confidence up. My guess is that you are tensing up when jumping because you are afraid of the way the bike will react. Exactly what I did. Find a jump that you are comfortable with (has a smooth take off) and work on the foot exercise I described earlier. I cannot begin to describe how much it helped me. It was suggested to me by a local pro after he watched me jump a few times. It built confidence faster than any other exercise I have tried! 

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Thanks Dubb.. I'll work on that and your right about the freezing in the air . I haven't figured out how to get my mind at ease to manipulate the bike in air yet .

 I did a few days ago ordered some Carbon fiber frame guards to help aid the movement of my feet so they don't hang on the edges of this and that on the frame . would've went aluminum but didn't find any available  so carbon fiber is what I'm running with . I have a few jumps in mind I can exercise that theory you suggested and will do .

Thanks again

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What kind of boots do you wear?

 I have Fly Mavericks and Answer mx boots . they are both kind of cheap and both sets hang on the edges . its when I have my feet bent and the inner side of the boots poke out . I really don't wanna spend the cash for some high quality being that I'm a weekend rider though its every weekend . :D

Edited by xx-rmz450-xx

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 I have Fly Mavericks and Answer mx boots . they are both kind of cheap and both sets hang on the edges . its when I have my feet bent and the inner side of the boots poke out . I really don't wanna spend the cash for some high quality being that I'm a weekend rider though its every weekend . :D

You really should consider it. Better boots will help immensely! I wear Tech 10's and just got a pair of Gaernes 12's and neither set hang up at all. Plus they will hold up better than the cheaper boots. I think you will be surprised at how much better feel they provide through your feet.

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just making sure: ball of your foot is right behind your toes, arch is the middle closer to the heel.

 

The rule of thumb is balls of your feet all the time unless you are about to take a big hit where there will be a lot of stress on your ankle in which case you switch to your arches. If you are hitting a jump cleanly then balls of feet for both, if you are coming up short or oj'ing then arches for the landing.

 

 

A video of some little jumps my wife took . you can see how I freeze in the air .

 

It's not just that your frozen in the air, it's that you are frozen on the face. Your body position has improved, it could use some fine tuning but is good enough to start moving around relative to the bike on the face. Even though you are forward on the bike, throttle is bringing your front end up in the air. The best way to counteract the rotation is to get your weight moving forward relative to the bike on the face so that when you can go into the air your momentum neutralizes the rotation cause by throttle. Take it slow and experiment. On safe jumps practice landing front wheel first and both at the same time. Make sure you are landing on the throttle as well.

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The rule of thumb is balls of your feet all the time unless you are about to take a big hit where there will be a lot of stress on your ankle in which case you switch to your arches. If you are hitting a jump cleanly then balls of feet for both, if you are coming up short or oj'ing then arches for the landing.

 

 

 

It's not just that your frozen in the air, it's that you are frozen on the face. Your body position has improved, it could use some fine tuning but is good enough to start moving around relative to the bike on the face. Even though you are forward on the bike, throttle is bringing your front end up in the air. The best way to counteract the rotation is to get your weight moving forward relative to the bike on the face so that when you can go into the air your momentum neutralizes the rotation cause by throttle. Take it slow and experiment. On safe jumps practice landing front wheel first and both at the same time. Make sure you are landing on the throttle as well.

Thanks Die_Trying for chiming in and giving some advice .  I'll definitely put it to practice  as well as Dubb's advice . A lot of times I naturally feel like I should move more forward but restrain myself in the case of  a endo mishap .  In my beginning days it seemed like that's all I did . I've been Jumping into arroyos and kipping the idea of landing front first intentionally to help aid my confidence in landing on down sides of jump and stop looking for the short coming flat lands . I've found that Squeezing with my ankles rather then a freeze squeeze with my knees helps .is this alright to do ?

Edited by xx-rmz450-xx

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You are more likely to break or sprain (hyperflexion) an ankle on the balls of your feet...so your comment is strange.  When you are on your balls...there is more leverage on the joint.  Experienced riders, for instance, know to move their feet all the way forward till their heel stops hit the pegs when they are going to case big.  I broke my wrist on this one without even crashing.  Rode it out.  I knew I was going to take a big hit...and moved my feet up on the pegs.  If had not, I am pretty sure I would have broken my ankle or tib/fib.  As it was...I broke the peg and crushed my right wrist.

Edited by Blutarsky

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You seem to be approaching riding from a position focused standpoint.  That is not good.  Riding is about balance and equilbrium.  Position is the tool to acheive that.  Body position is the means...not the goal.  When you are driving in your car...do you look at an upcoming corner...calculate how much you are going to turn the wheel...(18.5 degrees lets say)...then turn the wheel 18.5 degrees and hold it no matter where you are on the road?  Hell no...that would be absurd.  But that is exactly how you are riding. 

 

Find a GP style track...or even a nice natural terrain trail.  Put it in 3rd...and go putt around.  Stand 100% of the time.  Hold onto the grips as LOOSE as you can.  Accelerate and decelerate with this loose loose grip.  Try to keep your body in balance such that you are using your overall position to balance against the motion.  When you are accelerating...you will be farther out over the front of the bike.  When you are decelerating or braking...you will be further back.  Try not to either pull on the bars, or push on the bars.  As soon as you use your hands to push or pull...you screwed up.  Your hands are your feed back mechanism.  At that point...you squeeze with your knees, and use your core body strength to reposition yourself. 

 

You will also find that your body has to anticipate and precede your throttle and brake changes.  IF you are slowing, you will be further back on the bike.  If you are back...and you pin it...you are going to have to let off.  You are too far out of position to pin it.  So what you will do..is while you are still decelerating...you will let your body shift forward, out of position for braking, but in position for acceleration.  Then just as you are getting so far foward that you are really out of position for braking...you will get on the gas.  You will essentially catch yourself with the throttle.  This balance is the motion that you see good, fluid riders make.  It is easy to say 'be loose', and 'move around' on the bike...but you havae to understand why you move.  The reason you move, is to stay in balance.

 

Do this balance drill.  What you will find, is that no matter what throttle you are using, if you are in balance (body position fore and aft balancing acceleration of deceleration), you will be pretty close to the correct position for a good jump take off.  If you are pinned...you better be WAY forward...or you are going to boner air it.  If you are coasting into a jump face...and you are way forward....you are going over the bars.  Again, your hands are your feed back mechanism.  If you are loading into a jump face...and you are not pushing or pulling with your hands, and you are not holding on with your knees...if you are just perfecty in balance...you are pretty much dialed.  Most of the time you will be hitting a jump accelerating slightly to strongly.  This means that the bike will be pushing you THROUGH THE PEGS.  If your grip is light coming into a jump face...you are probably doing it all correctly.

 

Now, there are some cases where you purposefully get out of balance to make the bike do certain things.  Watch Eli Tomac in the sand.  He looks like he is sitting on the back of the seat...but he is actually standing...pinned...railing an outside line.  He is totally out of balance, and that position take a huge amount of strength to hold, and a huge amount of practice to still be able to work the controls properly.  Another exmple would be a seat bounce where you purposely put energy into the rear spring and balance that with throttle.  But that is A rider + level stuff.  For must of us...just learning to be in balance is 90% of the battle.

 

So...to fix your jumps....stop jumping.  Learn to balance against throttle and braking.  When you hit a jump face...your goal should not be a certain position....it should be balance.  Balance is a feeling, not a position.  Once you learn to balance your body into jump faces...you will find that the body motions in the air come naturally and intuitively.

Edited by Blutarsky
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I overjumped a 5' high 15' long tabletop last week and was riding on the balls of my feet. First, I knew I overjumped it, but I was relaxed. Second, I had been landing on the balls of my feet on bigger jumps and crunching my ankles and paying little attention to that fact. The result of that overjumped tabletop was a torn Gastrocnemius (calf muscle). I have not been able to take a step for an entire week, and yesterday was the first time I was able to walk with six inch strides. I am definitely not going to be able to ride at the same level of intensity I was riding at before this happened for about six weeks. Repeat; I am grounded for six weeks!

 

I cannot stress this element of riding enough; mastering the skill of switching between the arches and the balls of your feet at the right time is the skill we should be trying to master, not just trying to ride on the balls of your feet whenever you aren't braking or shifting.

 

Blutarsky; thanks for posting that broken peg. I think that will send it home for the lucky ones who read this.

 

Be safe, and don't geek out too much on technique... Bike time will teach you the balance stuff Blutarsky mentioned, also.

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Edit: I did not tear my Gastrocnemius. I tore my Achilles tendon. Don't land on the balls of your feet when you're jumping.

Edited by anoolite76

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