3 Benefits of Strengthening Your Dirt Bike Grip
As a dirt bike rider, one of the essential techniques you can develop early on in your career is that of dirt bike grip. A better grip (with both arms and legs) will, in most cases, drastically increase your performance in a short amount of time. In this article, I’m going to share with you the significant benefits of improving your dirt bike grip and a couple of easy and practical methods to add to your rider fitness program, Let’s get started!
Benefit #1: Drastically Reduce Arm Pump
Arm pump is that fatigued and jello-y feeling you get in your forearms during either an intense or more extended riding session. It dramatically diminishes reaction time, braking, clutching, stability, and control. While it affects some riders more than others, everyone experiences arm pump to some degree or another.
Improving your dirt bike grip while riding your dirt bike lessens the amount of arm pump you experience.
Benefit #2: Maintain Better Control
You’re always one landing or turn away from getting pitched and losing control of your bike. Loss of control, even for a split-second, can take seconds off of your time. And the one thing that can instantly give you better control of your bike is to improve your grip strength.
Benefit #3: Improve Overall Stability
While posture plays a significant role in maintaining balance and stability on your bike, you will inevitably break position if you ride long enough. When that happens, your grip strength will play a huge part in maintaining the stability of your dirt bike. Your hands and your legs both ensure that you’re not rocking all over the place, sacrificing an otherwise solid run.
Two Quick and Easy Exercises You Can Do Right Now To Improve Your Grip Strength
Hand Gripping Exercise: Wrist Rollers
Wrist rollers are a simple addition to your rider fitness routine, and an easy way to start improving your grip strength right away. What they do is increase the strength and endurance of your forearms, the primary muscle group at work, when it comes to grip training with your hands. Here’s how you do them:
Take a small weight (5-10 lbs.) or a jug of water and tie it to a four-foot length of rope. Next, tie the other end of the rope to the middle of a wooden dowel (you can purchase at any hardware store).
Once you assemble everything, you’re ready to start the exercise. What you want to do is “roll” (or wind) the rope onto the dowel, lifting the weight up towards the dowel. Once you cannot roll the weight up any further, “unroll” (or unwind) the rope, letting the weight steadily drop back down to the floor.
Remember, endurance is what you’re looking to improve. So, a lighter weight at higher reps is preferable. Try starting with three sets of 10 reps, where one rep equals one complete “circuit” of rolling and unrolling.
Leg Gripping Exercise: Calf Raises
Your calf muscles supply the brunt of the work for maintaining a solid dirt bike grip. For that reason, you want to focus your conditioning on strengthening your calves. The best exercise for strengthening your calves is the classic calf raise.
The calf raise is very simple to perform. Just stand with your feet hip-width apart, keeping your legs straight. Then, press up using the balls of your feet, thrusting your body upward and allowing the heels of your feet to rise off of the ground. Make sure you pull your abominable muscles in, so your body is not shifting too much. The key is to stay as straight as possible while performing the exercise.
To make the calf raise a little more challenging, try doing them on an elevated surface (i.e., standing on the edge of a chair or top of a thick book). This allows you to increase your range of motion, leading to a complete workout.
You can also add weights to increase the intensity of the exercise. Aim for four sets of 15-20 reps each.
Having a strong dirt bike grip is essential to lessening the effects of arm pump, having better control of your bike, and maintaining stability when you’re thrown off balance. And targeted grip strength and endurance training are a proven and effective way to boost your grip strength in a relatively short amount of time.
Combine rider fitness training with a regular riding schedule, and you’ll have a great start towards getting a “grip” on keeping your bike under control.
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