In previous posts you learned that in order to enjoy the off-road sport is vital to acquire enough muscle endurance in the areas of your body that suffer most when practicing Trial, Enduro or Motocross. That’s the only way you will be able to enjoy without suffering from arm pump on the bike and being able to keep your hands on the handlebar without risking an injury or a surgery.
Now that you know why is this happening to you, we are going to show you what is the ultimate solution. and with the right training, you will be able to take your enjoyment of riding and racing to the next level.
What’s your starting point?
There are many reasons why you may be suffering from arm pump on the bike. For instance, because you don’t train them enough or because you train them too much.
Maybe, when preparing a race, you are putting your muscles under a lot of stress. Or maybe you’ve just undergone an injury and you need to recover your muscles before riding back again.
Anyways, the first thing you need to ask yourself is: what is the real reason I’m experiencing arm pump on the bike?
Let’s see if any of these is your case:
Case #1: You just began riding and your muscles are still adapting
If you just began riding a dirty bike and your forearm muscles are having a hard time adapting to the stress of the ride, you must begin training your muscles with simple exercises to strengthen and condition your arm muscles.
When practicing grip strengthen exercises, always use light weights and be careful not to overload your muscles.
Don’t overtraing because you think that you can give more. Be patient and let your body create the adaptations you need. Otherwise you may create a much bigger problem.
Don’t make worse your arm pump on the bike by overtraining
That simple. The easiest way to gain that forearm muscle endurance is to put them under the tensions of the bike.
The more you ride, the better your forearm response will be. But you must train smart and in coherent doses. It’s worthless to ride to the exhaustion one day and then not grabbing the bike for a month.
Distribute the hours you spend riding so they are enough each week, but you don’t have to ride them all at once. Ride along several days for short periods of time.
In our Training App for Riders we’ve created the perfect routine of physical training at the gym or on the bike, you don’t overtrain and your workout days are evenly distributed along the week.
Above all, never again make the mistake of allowing arm pump on the bike become unbearable.
Pushing yourself to the limits of pain is a great mistake. You must allow your forearms to create the adaptations needed to improve for riding. That you’ll do by following a training routine that makes you progress consistently.
Case #2: You race or ride frequently
It’s most likely that your forearms are much better adapted to the dirty bike. In this case, muscle endurance is what should take up your time in order to increase your fatigue tolerance.
We recommend you train your endurance through sports that make a great use of your hands and forearms, such as climbing, swimming, rowing…
Climbing is a great ally for training arm endurance
The specific work to end arm pump on the bike should move around resistance.
Particularly, focus on isometric exercises that hold muscle contraction for several seconds. A fun and safe way to train this is by including indoor climbing in your weekly training routine.
This will force you to work on different types of grips and you’ll be able to hold finger flexion for longer as your muscles begin adapting more to this kind of efforts.
In the long term, you’ll avoid that hand blocking feeling when riding, and of course, you’ll get rid of that unpleasant arm pump on the bike.
Riders like Alfredo Gomez are already using these complementary sports to improve on the dirty bike.
But if you lack the time needed to go climbing, you can also include some specific grip exercises in your workout schedule, whether you practice them along with other exercises or specifically at the end of your training sessions.
A great option is to practice the pinch grip while doing a farmer’s walk, as we show you in the videos down below this article.
Case #3: You’ve undergone an injury
If you find your forearms very weak due to a recent injury o because you haven’t ridden in a long time, you should check with your chiropractor. This professional will make you specific exercise recommendations to slowly recover your muscles.
Our suggestion is that you begin recovering your grip by practicing simple finger opening exercises, using some kind of finger resistance bands (like Powerfingers) o burying your hand inside a sand bucket.
Case #4: You don’t usually suffer from arm pump on the bike but you want to prevent it
If you don’t usually suffer from arm pump on the bike and you just want to improve your forearms to feel safer or minimize discomfort, don’t train your grips specifically, since you will already be training them with other exercises like deadlifts, kettlebells swings etc.
Our recommendation is that you make sure to keep a balance with the antagonist muscles involved in holding the handlebar, for which you may practice some finger opening exercises with resistance bands.
You should also stretch your body from your toe tips to your chest. In our Training App por riders we’ve put together some specific stretchings to guarantee the health of the muscles that suffer most when riding or racing your dirty bike.
What’s the best time of your racing season to train your arms?
Specific training to beat your arm pump on the bike and forearm endurance should only be done during those periods of time in which you ride or race less.
In the middle of the racing season or when you are going to attend to several riding dates very close in time, preferably focus on working with the bike and properly stretching your muscles.
The races are going to cause a lot of fatigue in your finger’s flexing muscles and it’s not convenient to train them more. Otherwise, you could end up harming your performance in your Trial, Enduro, and Motocross races.
Train your forearms during your pre-race season or when you have a couple of months amog races. That’s the ideal time to gain grip strenght and forearm endurance.
Tips to beat your arm pump on the bike faster!
Use Fat Gripz
This is a rubber piece that is placed on the object you are about to grab, like a bar, a dumbbell… And works to make the grip wider.
This way, it’s more difficult to grab the weight and you force your forearms muscles to work a move range they are not used to, resulting in working their resistance. This is one of the main pieces of equipment for riders we talk about in our post about a home gym.
Do finger extension exercises
Besides the finger’s flexion work, you must train the opposite move, the finger’s extension. This way you’ll be training your hand’s internal muscles and turning them into strong parts of your body. This is a great way to prevent injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome.
Strengthen your hands
Hands are responsible for many issues in forearms and wrists. Weak hands mean much more tension on the wrist and a weak link on the chain. Strengthen your hands with these simple exercises and have them ready for grabbing the bike.
Practice hanging exercises
You’ll improve your grip by just hanging from a bar for a few seconds or doing simple exercises like pull-ups. Add difficulty to the exercise by adding the Fat Gripz to the bar (you’ll see how fun this is).
If you are already a grip expert, try handing from the bar but removing one or several fingers.
Remember to stretch your muscle fibers and your facias. Muscle stretching will allow a better blood flow that will bring more nutrients and oxygen to your muscles. This will result in faster removal of the waste generated in your muscles by the effort of holding the handlebar.
Without a proper elasticity, your muscles will push down on your veins and make you feel that discomforting muscle soreness when riding. This is key to finish once and for all your arm pump on the bike.
Check out the video in which we show you these three solutions. We’ve translated it for you, so turn English subtitles on.
How to relief arm pump on the bike after riding or racing
What if you need a more prompt solution for your arm pump on the bike while you train your forearms to not be sore in the long term?
Well, here you can watch a video we made with 3 simple exercises with a foam roller to alleviate arm pump after an Enduro, Trial or Motocross course or race.
Check it out and don’t forget to turn English subtitles on, we’ve translated it for you 😉
Was all this information helpful for you? Could it also be for your riding buds that always complain about arm pump? Share it with them or on your social media and help us spread the ultimate solution for arm pump on the bike. Help us improve the physical condition of every amateur off-road rider!