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Learning to Relax Your Arms and Grip

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I'm new to motocross and am trying to learn as much as I can as fast as I can.  When I'm not at the track I am reading or watching videos on different techniques, advice, etc.  One of the most common things I've seen is the importance of gripping with your knees and keeping a loose grip of the handle bars.  I try to be very conscientious of this when I'm riding.  I grip with my knees, but I'm having a hard time keeping my upper body loose and often notice that I'm holding the handlebars very tight.

Does anyone have any advice on how I can learn to keep my upper body loose?  Or any tricks that help make this technique feel more natural?

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Normal. Time in the saddle will make a big difference, MX is not a natural thing for the body or mind!

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and you grip with your legs more by standing on the balls of your feet and pointing your toes slightly inward so when your knees bend, your legs squeeze the bike automatically. 

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32 minutes ago, Piney Woods said:

Normal. Time in the saddle will make a big difference, MX is not a natural thing for the body or mind!

Thanks, that's reassuring.  I just keep reading and seeing this as one of the most important fundamental riding techniques, so I'm eager to get it down!

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3 minutes ago, burntvalves said:

and you grip with your legs more by standing on the balls of your feet and pointing your toes slightly inward so when your knees bend, your legs squeeze the bike automatically. 

Yep.  I have read this and seen it in videos.  I think I have this down pretty well.  Standing on the balls of my feet already feels natural.  Next time I'm on the track I'll try to pay more attention to my toes and making sure they are slightly inward.  

Thanks!

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Next time you go out, maybe not on a busy track though, ride around the track or feild or wherever holding on with just one hand. If you can find somewhere a bit downhill you can swap hands and release your throttle hand. Even try short bits with no hands. You can keep your hand (s) that you let go with right near the bar so you can grab hold again if you think you're gonna crash.

You should be able to do a complete lap of the track with only your throttle hand on the bars, both sitting and standing.

What you're doing is teaching yourself that you don't need to grip the bars at all, the bike will still work fine.

Don't try it at full race speed  :eek:

Edited by DEATH_INC.

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For everything focus on being pushed through your pegs. Whether your sitting or standing, on the gas or on the brakes, you adjust your body position so that all the forces go through your legs. Keep you hands loose think ok sign grip 👌. Regularly readjusting your grip too it helps prevent hanging on too tight.

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I practice loose grip riding by just opening up my fingers, only using pressure on the palms of my hands to control the bike. Its amazing how little you actually need to hang on, even in rough terrain. 

During a race I will do this for a couple minutes if I can fell the arms swelling.. gets me an arm re-charge that can be crucial. 

Edited by Turn,TheScrew
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On 1/14/2020 at 10:32 PM, temporarily_locked said:

For everything focus on being pushed through your pegs. Whether your sitting or standing, on the gas or on the brakes, you adjust your body position so that all the forces go through your legs. Keep you hands loose think ok sign grip 👌. Regularly readjusting your grip too it helps prevent hanging on too tight.

This makes sense - gotta use your legs as a 2nd suspension.  I'll try the regular hand readjustment next time I'm on the track and see if that helps.  Thanks for the advice! 

 

3 hours ago, Turn,TheScrew said:

I practice loose grip riding by just opening up my fingers, only using pressure on the palms of my hands to control the bike. Its amazing how little you actually need to hang on, even in rough terrain. 

During a race I will do this for a couple minutes if I can fell the arms swelling.. gets me an arm re-charge that can be crucial. 

That's an interesting technique, but it makes sense.  I'll give this a shot next time I'm on the track as well.  Thanks for the advice!

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A ton of people will tell you to grip with your knees and they are right but also you need to engage your core. I find myself holding on for life and wearing my arms slap out. Then I remind myself to use your core to hold yourself forward and relax those arms. 

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On 1/16/2020 at 2:30 PM, turborex696 said:

A ton of people will tell you to grip with your knees and they are right but also you need to engage your core. I find myself holding on for life and wearing my arms slap out. Then I remind myself to use your core to hold yourself forward and relax those arms. 

This is why for me personally, I like the thought of:  Toes in or at least straight, definitely not bowed out, hips unlocked by keeping your back straight so your bend is at the hips and then use the hips to control the bike in all directions; front-back-left-right.  This keeps all of your body including your arms relaxed but engages all the body muscles needed as needed automatically. You don't have to think about it. Lots of times no matter what people do to ease the tension on their arms, they can't because they're hunch backed so your hips/core can't be engaged and you have to make up for that with your arms.

Edited by Bob N Lisa Stanley

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The whole race, starting line bike noise etc jack's the adrenaline so it's common to hang on and tense. Not something that's easy to get used to. Get a lap in and settle down.

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Besides some of the great advice already given, one that works for me to this day, thinner grips. Stay away from thick grips and try thinner ones. They let me relax my grip easier and more often.

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On 1/14/2020 at 7:32 PM, temporarily_locked said:

... Regularly readjusting your grip too it helps prevent hanging on too tight.

The above. Even to the point where you're almost letting go of the bars/controls. You have to be holding with the legs and driving with the pegs to do so as noted in all the posts. My habit is to flip between one and two fingers on the controls. More so for maintaining a loose grip than which finger(s) is on the control. If your hands are moving around they are not locked on. Well at least a whole lot less. Also if you can get your bike set up and cornering correctly your really just slightly pushing on the bars (counter steering). That feeling is so good your mind will automatically chase it if you get it working. 

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U must unlock your upper and lower body by moving the hips rearward

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On 1/12/2020 at 3:40 PM, JSerg99 said:

I grip with my knees,

I grip with my lower legs, but not so much with my knees.

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Lots of good advice here. I can add that I find it helpful to keep a low upper body. Not by bending your legs, but by rotating forward from your waist/hips. A tall stance accentuates acceleration and deceleration “pendulum” effect, which makes it much more difficult to counteract these forces.

Toes pointed inward a bit really helps to add stability.

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Try getting into and holding the attack position off the bike as well.  Stand with your knees slightly bent and bend at the hips.  And instead of holding on to something, let your arms dangle, move them around, flex up and down with your knees - get comfortable with being bent over without having to use your hands to support your upper body. 

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What about taking jumps on a hardpack track. Do you not hold tight when you land? I do both but maybe thats why i i struggle with armpump to.

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Edited by FREAKI91

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