Whole Body Grip Strength = Full Dirt Bike Control
Are you constantly battling arm pump or having issues maintaining control of your bike? If so, then there’s a good chance you’re not gripping your bike properly. It’s a common mistake many motocross and enduro athletes make, and it can cost you valuable time on the track.
The biggest misconception about gripping a dirt bike is that all of the gripping is done with your hands. That’s wrong. You should be using your hands AND your legs to grip your bike. Doing so will help insure you’re keeping the bike as stable as possible while preventing yourself from falling off at the slightest bump.
The thing is, you can’t have an optimal grip strength if the parts of your body that control your grip aren’t up to the task. Strength is key in having a firm, solid grip, and you’re not going to achieve that without working out the appropriate muscles – in this case, your upper arms, forearms, calves, and thighs.
Keeping that in mind, here are a few grip exercises to add to your fitness routine that will improve your grip and thus your time on the track.
The 3 Key Grip Exercises For Improving Control
Exercise #1: Calf Raises
Your calf muscles play a big part in gripping the bike with your knees. So you want to make sure you’re working out your calves every week.
By far the best exercise for strengthening your calves is to perform simple calf raises. That’s all it takes. Four sets of 15-20 reps ought to do the trick. Here’s how to do them:
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart and keep your legs straight.
- Push yourself up using the balls of your feet, allowing your heels to raise off the ground while keeping your balls on the ground.
- Keep your abdominal muscles pulled in to help prevent shifting.
- Slowly lower your heels back to the ground. That’s one rep.
Exercise #2: Wrist Rollers
Strong forearms are the key to having a solid, firm grip on your bike’s handlebars. They’re also the key to combating arm pump.
One of the most effective hand grip strength exercises for strengthening your forearms is doing what is called wrist rollers. Here’s how to do them:
- Take a small weight (10-15 pounds) or fill a gallon jug with water and tie it to a four-foot length of rope.
- Next, tie the other end of the rope to a ¾ to a 1-inch wooden dowel.
- Once it’s assembled, manually wind the rope onto the dowel using your hands. This will lift the weight up towards the dowel.
- When the weight reaches the dowel, unwind the rope, letting the weight slowly descend to the floor.
- Do this for three sets of 10 reps (with a rep equaling a complete wind and unwind circuit)
Exercise #3: Squats
There’s no better grip exercise for your upper legs than squats. And your upper legs play a major supporting role in helping your legs grip the bike as needed. Here’s how to perform simple squats at home:
- Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart and your toes pointing slightly outward.
- Keep your back as straight as possible throughout the movement.
- Next, squat down as low as you can go while keeping your back straight – preferably to the point where your butt is almost touching the floor.
- Finally stand back up with your feet, back, and legs in the same position. That’s one complete rep.
- Complete three sets of 10 reps, increasing the weight or resistance as needed.
- As an aside, this same technique is used when performing squats with a barbell and weights.
Add these simple grip strength exercises to your rider fitness routine, and you will start to see major control improvements!
If you have any questions or anything to add, please leave them in the comments or on our FaceBook page!