Trouble Shooting: Arm Pump

I recently had a conversation with a rider who was looking to get back into racing after a little break.  He is a quick kid and riding a 450.  Now, unless you are Davi Millsaps or Josh Hill, most people are going to have to take a little bit to get back into race mode, especially if you are of a smaller stature.  Even if you are a mini rider stepping up to big bikes, arm pump is something that might be a burden.  I was thinking to myself, why do you get arm pump?  A few ideas popped into my head and some of them might be easy to fix, while others may take some time.

First of all, form is the most important thing.  Obviously, you want to keep your head up, looking ahead and not at your fender.  Your elbows should be squared up, grip the bike with your legs and keep a neutral, attack position over the bike.  This is numero uno.  If you have your elbows are down, your back and arms come into play more.  Once this happens, your upper body becomes fatigued and you just get tired.  Thus, you get a death grip on the bars.

This leads me to my next idea.  Gripping with your legs keeps the bike from dancing underneath of you.  It tracts straight in the rough stuff and you don’t ride like a goon.  As I have said before in previous articles, your legs are a larger muscle group and take a greater load of stress for longer periods of time than your chest and arms.  If you have “chicken legs” (i.e. weak legs), then they are going to burn out early in the moto.  When this happens, your upper body has to compensate and takes over.  If you are still riding when your upper body burns out as well, your form suffers.

When you have been off of the bike for a while, you lose that moto “muscle.”  You’ll feel those muscles when you ride after a long hiatus and your back or your quads are sore.  This happens for northerners that can’t ride in the winter.  You’ve lost the endurance and strength.  That is why is it important to train in seasons if you live where the weather won’t let you ride.  Don’t kill yourself with cardio; concentrate on getting back that overall strength.  Once, regionals and regular weekend racing starts, you can go back to cardio and interval sessions.

Finally, maybe you have a mental problem.  Not, literally; you don’t need to see a therapist.  What I am talking about is a mental block, so to speak.  You “psych” yourself out and at races or qualifiers and you make yourself more nervous.  Maybe you need to podium to win the series or something.  You add stress to yourself on the line and second guess your abilities.  That is the difference between champions and the guys who fill up the gate.  Dungey, Stewart, Carmichael, Villopoto…they all knew what they had to do, but they just went out and rode.  Block out the doubts and ask yourself, how did I get here?  You did it once before, just let it flow out of you.

If these suggestions don’t work, get forearm surgery ….that’s a joke.  Don’t do that.


Posted on Jan 28 2010, under Riding Techniques, Training | No Comments »

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