You may have heard that it is important to grip your dirt bike with your legs, but wonder why it is or how to do it. Luckily for you, below I will tell you why it is important to grip your motocross bike with your legs and how to get better at it.
The benefits of gripping your bike with your legs
- More bike control Your legs should be your main way of controlling your bike, if you’re not gripping with your legs you’re controlling your bike with your arms. Not only is this going to lead to quicker fatigue, you will also have no control over what the rear half of your bike is doing 0n any section of track.
- Holds bike straight In rough situations, ruts and whoops, gripping with your legs is very important because it helps hold your bike straight. Not only does your bike going straighter save you energy, it could also prevent a crash.
- Less Arm Fatigue/Arm Pump If you’re just hanging on for dear life with your arms, I’ll bet your fighting arm pump issues. Gripping with your legs will take some of the stress off your arms and hands, allowing you to loosen up your hands grip a bit, reducing fatigue and arm pump.
- Less likely to get kicked into awkward position When gripping with your legs you are less likely to have a foot ripped off or be bucked into an awkward position by a bump or kicker (think onto/over the bars). This is important because both of these situations could lead to a crash.
How to grip with your legs better
- Stand on the balls of your feet It is nearly impossible to grip your bike when standing on the your arches of your feet because your toes are pointing outwards. Sit in a chair, point your toes outward and try to touch your knees together, it’s awkward and difficult. Now do the same with your toes pointing straight forward, it’s simple. Riding on the balls of your feet puts you in a better position and makes gripping your bike more natural.
- Practice by squeezing a ball between your legs It isn’t too often that you squeeze something between your legs, getting a feel for it will help. Buy a ball that is about the same width as your bike from a local department store and practice squeezing it between your knees at your desk, in your car, anywhere you have a chance. You can choose the duration, I would say no less than 10 minutes at a time. When doing this you should feel you inner thigh (adductor) muscles fire.
- Strengthen your legs Strengthening your upper and lower legs will help you squeeze your bike and reduce leg fatigue in motos. It’s a win win. Though strengthening your entire leg is important, for bike squeezing purposes strengthening your inner thighs will make the biggest difference.
- On the bike practice When riding, make sure you are on the balls of your feet, think about it, practice it. You need to do this to grip with your legs better. Do the same thing with gripping with your legs – think about it, force yourself to do it. Riding on the balls of your feet and gripping with your legs will improve your riding immensely.
If you want to continue to improve your motocross skills and speed, this is an important step. The earlier into your motocross “career” you are, the easier it will be to develop good habits like riding on the balls of your feet and gripping with your legs, so start practicing today!