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To those who don't get arm pump


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I hate you.

It's out of control, and weights have made it worse. Did an internet search last night and got over 100 hits. Comments like "Just relax and don't hold on tight" and "ride 2 or 3 days a week". Yeah sure ๐Ÿ™‚ Used to take five laps to pump up, relax a few minutes and gone for the day. Now it just won't go away. I'll try anything.

Mark

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The Gary Semics video on avoiding arm pump is not bad. (It's pretty short, but there's also some fun jumping stuff at the end...)

You're probably way faster than I am, but the thing that has helped me delay pumping up is to hold on more with my knees and "row" like Gary Semics talks about in his other videos. Like when I go to sit down (especially entering a turn at the bottom of a fast downhill), I clamp my knees and use the friction to control my sit-down. That totally keeps your weight off your arms, and they can stay relaxed as your legs absorb the g's of the controlled sit-down.

And you use the clamped-friction thing for rowing on the bike on fast uphill whoops sections too -- keep clamping, sliding, letting go with your knees to hold onto the bike and support your body weight. If you use your arms at all on fast uphill whoops, they're toast at the top of the hill.

Just a couple things that helped me. I'm still learning, and keeping arm pump away is a huge part of it.

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I found that pro-tapers really, really helped. I used to be the same way, quick pump up first moto then none the rest of the day. i resisted protapers because i just didn't believe they could make that much difference. i was wrong. I just don't pump anymore. i'm sure the other oversized brands work as well. I'm a believer.

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One thing that has really helped me is to stretch my fingers back towords my forearms in both directions( front and back) This really stretches out the muscles in my wrists, hands and forearms and helps to relax them. I do this as much as I can at the track, even if I don't feel any pump. I also found that staying away from caffein before riding makes a huge difference.

JR

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I've got Renthal Twinwalls, and am not thrilled with the bend. They're the Mcgrath, which have little sweep, which is what I thought would help. Wrong, and will probably get Emig bend or similar to Honda bend. I am already doing the hand stretches and using a dumbbell bar with a shoestring and weight (painful little exercise!)

It's funny, but I saw that Semics video for sale last night and thought....hell, I don't want to spend $20 to deal with this. Brilliant thought process, spend thousands on a bike, nice bars, grips, etc etc, but can't ride it due to pump and won't spend $20 to fix that. If that video helps, I'm all over it. I definitely have not been using my knees enough, so my arms are doing all the body braking.

And I love my cup of java in the morning, but would be willing to forsake it if it will help (will bring some in a thermos just in case ๐Ÿ™‚).

I NEVER had this when I was a kid racing 20 some years ago. Woke up, drove to the track, sat on the line, raced 20 to 30 minute motos without a thought. The answer is out there.........

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Don't lift weights. Don't use those little grip squeeze exercice things. Don't hold yourself on the bike with your arms, use your legs to grip the bike. Stretch your fingers out and relax your grip in the air. I used to get it occasionally, but these things worked for me and I never get it now.

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I have to lift weights, but think I need to change the routine. I've dislocated my shoulder, and it'll pop if I don't keep my shoulders strong and bulked up. More reps with less weight. But clearly, not using my legs to grip the bike. Interestingly, used to destroy the graphics on my RM (aftermarket any brand), but the ones on the CRF still look like new. Arm pump not bad on the RM, but bad on the CRF. Maybe the different seating position, etc, is making it less natural to grip with my knees. But I've got very strong legs (lots of mountain bike riding), so they've got lots to give to the cause here.

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rmark If you are going to lift weights at the end of every workout grab a light 8 or 10 pound dumbell and do wrist curls until you can't feel your arm take a break and do it again. do this for 3 sets after everyday's workout and eventually you will be able to go for about 15 minutes before your arms pump up. The actions that cause arm pump on a motorcycle are unique to riding so your arms don't get use to it unless you ride, that is why most guys only get it at the beginning of the season. If you train your arms to not get tired so quickly you will lessen the possibility of arm pump. Most people lift weights in sets of 10 or 12 so thier arms and muscles get use to working in short bursts. I train hard from sept until april, I usually put on about 10 pounds of muscle every winter, about 8 weeks before riding season starts I start doing the wrist curls, I usually do them while I am on the bike or treadmill, it has almost eliminated my early season arm pump. By the way I don't lift weights at all during the riding season.Hope this helps. MIKE

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I get wicked arm pump....I've found that the more I ride the better it gets (probably a combination of using better technique, getting in shape, etc.) but I've also read that top racers do not lift weight during the season because it actually makes arm pump worse. My Dr. who is also a riding buddy, suggests taking Midol. It has a "cramp relieving" agent which works very well...I've tried it some for a weekend ride in Moab, and it seems to work pretty well...but I'm single so it's tough to walk into Target and buy it! Give it a whirl, just don't let the wife catch you dipping into her supply!

-chimchim ๐Ÿ™‚

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todd what exactly do you think RC pays Aldon Baker for? All of the top riders use weights they just don't bulk up. When RC hired Aldon he said he was the streongest he had ever been, You don't get strength by riding exercise bicylces you get it by lifting weights and doing it properly can build a strong MX body.MIKE

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I too am in search of that Holy Grail ๐Ÿ™‚

Not sure what you workout is like, but cardio is a must. I lift 4x a week and suffer horrible arm pump. I tailored that back to a little bit lighter weight, and more reps. I started doing more cardio. Actually I just started doing cardio period. I don't like stationary bikes or jogging, so I started playing racquetball with my workout partner. Huge difference in 3 weeks. Then I threw out my back and I am back to sqaure one. I have also noticed that handgrips, bar bend, riding postion and suspension make differences also.

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At least 3 mountain bike rides per week, at pretty high intensity for around an hour and a half each. And it's lots of fun.

Weights 2-3 times per week, focusing on my shoulder injury, but recently ramped up the weight. Time to go back to lots of reps with less weight. It's boring, but clearly was working better with less weight. Lots of time in traffic gives me plenty of time to use the grip squeezy thingy, whic has certainly strengthened my forearms, but hasn't helped with pump.

Based on everything I've read so far (btw, that mxa article was great) my problem is a combo of poor style, wrong bars, and poorly focused weight program. And yet I feel like I'm in the best shape of my life. I want a magic pill ๐Ÿ™‚ but guess it'll take some time and effort to figure out. Damn, guess that means more time on the bike and less time to work.

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The Flexx Bars from FasstCo. have helped me a lot. They reduce the shock from braking & acceleration bumps, whoops, etc. The difference was immediately noticeable. They're not cheap, but much more beneficial than standard oversize bars.

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So I've accepted that I don't like the bend on my Twinwalls. Do you guys really think a more flexy bar will help? I'm open to changing brands if it makes a diff. My local friend/dealer has Protapers and Twinwalls. Are Protapers more forgiving, as no xbar? Or should I go find those Fastco flexy bars, or ?

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Try breathing. I know it sounds stupid but one thing I learned from mountain biking many years back was to control breathing. Actually force yourself to breath through your nose. The more oxygen you get in the better off you will be. Try chewing gum while riding that will force you to breath through your nose and might relax you a bit.

Also eat early the night before and drink lots of water.

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For me, the biggest difference is CARDIO, CARDIO, CARDIO. I think I have a good body position, I hold on with my legs alot, I lean forward under acceleration so I don't pull myself using my arms, and I have my bars tall so standing is easy too. But I still had arm pump. I started a 3x weekly running program with riding on weekends and after just 2-3 weeks I was tripling my time on the bike at speed with no arm pump. I lift NO weights at all. When you can BREATHE easy while riding an aggressive pace, you ride more relaxed, and that helps alot. also when you are in better shape your heart is not pumping as hard, which also reduces blood pressure in all muscles. When in the air, relax your grip, just keep enough tension to keep your hands on the bars, that's all you need. When the muscle in the forearm is tensed up, it cannot pump blood OUT and the incoming blood (which has no choice but to go into the muscle) builds up pressure, ala arm pump. Relax, get in good cardio shape, and ride in proper position, especially when standing under acceleration, even when sitting under accleration some taller riders sit too far back and are being pulled by the bike. That cured it for me, now the only time I get it is a little thumb cramp type thingy, not quite arm pump, that happens occasionaly when I am nervous (riding 'tight'). Strength really has little to do with it, how else could you explain the 19 year old beanpole that can barely lift 100lbs, riding 10 hard laps on a rough track and he gets NO arm pump. ๐Ÿ™‚

P.S.-as a side benefit of getting into shape, I have lost at this point, 15lbs. I actually had my mother-in-law take my mx pants up (using a 'dart' she called it) because my crack would literally show when riding because the pants no longe stayed on my waist! Hehe..not a pretty sight!

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You may be on to something with the Java. I was getting severe arm pump when I would go out drinking with the buds the night before going to the track (not to mention I felt like crap!) One friday night I stayed home and the next day I had no arm pump. I deduced that being dehydrated was causing the arm pump. Since then, I drink plenty of water the night before and sip it on the way to the track and during riding. No problems with arm pump anymore. There may be other factors but this seems to be the most obvious that has worked for me.

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