Have you ever experienced arm pump when riding your dirt bike and were frustrated in the feeling? We’ve all been there before.
It’s a quick way to spoil what would have otherwise been a great ride. You instantly lack strength and handlebar control while trying to keep up with others out there on the ride. Argh!
Arm Pump is due to a build up of lactic acid inside the forearms which leads to the nerves and muscles losing the ability to function normally. As dirt bike riders experience this frequently, there are some things we can do to help reduce the impacts and continue riding strong.
Today we’ll look at what you can do about it so you can spend more time twisting that throttle and less time worrying about going over the handlebars.
Reducing Dirt Bike Arm Pump
There are various ways that you can actually reduce the arm pump. Some are old wives tales which others are tried, tested and true ways in which riders have found which works well.
One thing is for sure – there is no magical whizzbang cure here. You can’t eliminate this, however you can try and reduce the onslaught.
Here’s how dirt bike riders typically reduce arm pump:
1. Warm Up and Stretch Before Riding
Yes – we know this is as awkward as going to a yoga class, but it’s gotta be done. By warming up and massaging your muscles, you’re able to start moving blood flow throughout your body. Focus on your arm area including the forearm and bicep. Some riders will use the roof racks of their 4×4 to hang off or even a nearby tree. Don’t forget to stretch the hands as well!
2. Go Dirt Bike Riding More Regularly
It’s most common to see riders who don’t ride that often complaining about arm pump. This is because their arms aren’t conditioned to the feeling and thus, their body responds appropiately. You’ll be mentally training your arms to push through the hard times by riding at least once per week.
3. Enhance Your Riding Skills and Techniques
Most of us could really nip up our riding skills by going on a training course or simply by watching some YouTube videos. There are certainly some things that we have been doing wrong for all these years without realizing it. One key and immediate improvement is to grip with your legs and not your arms, allowing your arms to be free for clutch and throttle control.
4. Buy Some New Gloves That Promote Circulation
Wearing tight gloves is a real culprit that we don’t always think of. After all, your hands seem to be just fine. Truth is: the blood isn’t circulating properly. Of course you’ll want gloves that fit well but just ensure that they aren’t restricting anything including finger movement. Also, a wrist brace could be reducing blood movement too along the arm.
5. Stay Hydrated and Use Hydration Drinks
Even on a cold day, you’ll need to stay hydrated. The problem is that most riders only start hydrating after they’ve started riding. Bad idea! You should focus on getting hydrated before the ride so that dehydration has no chance to take hold, and thus, you can continue riding strong! Pack a Gatorade in your backpack for a lunchtime drink too which will help with the blood sugars.
6. Adjust Your Bike Controls
There is an art and science in having the best dirt bike setup. From the dealership, they set these up for the average of all riders, and most riders aren’t average. Have a play around and adjust your clutch and brake level angles. Also, ensure they are easy to use as they shouldn’t be tight at all. If they take more than 2 fingers to actuate, then they are certainly too tight and need lubrication!
We all struggle with arm pump but it becomes progressively less the more often you ride. You’ll just need to get better prepared when out there on the tracks and you’ll become a more safer and confident rider in no time.