Have you ever come to the end of a long ride or race and could barely grip the handlebars? Your weak hands are not only putting you at greater risk of falling off but are forcing you to ride slower at a time where you need speed the most. Strengthening hour hands/forearms can greatly improve your bike handling skills as you will gain a stronger grasp on the handle bars which will lead to better control when cornering, jumping and riding through the rough. Stronger hands will also mean that you will be able to ride harder and faster for longer because you will be less fatigued as the hours pass. There are a number of ways you can strengthen your grip without expensive hand strengthening gizmos.
Shock Pump/Arm Pump = fatigue in your fore arms derived from absorbing shock when riding down rough trails. To reduce shock pump, take a look at some of the exercises below:
- Chin Ups
All you need here are monkey bars or a chin-up bar. If you don't know what chin-ups are, basically all you do is hang from a bar and lift yourself up until your chin is above the bar, lower yourself then repeat. Lifting your body weight will give your hands a great workout as well as working your lats which are useful when pulling up on the handlebars.
- Just Hang There
If you can't do chin ups just hang on the bar for a while. Start by holding on with both hands and progress to holding with one hand. Run yourself through some timed sets and progressively overload your workouts.
Roll up a towel, grab a friend and get each of you to hold onto either end of the towel with one hand and start tugging! This is a cheap and easy way to start strengthening your hands/fore arms.
When doing your grip exercises, make sure you don't over train as you will run the risk of Carpal Tunnel syndrome which can be quite painful.
Image courtesy of Steven Michelau