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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, I am just curious as to how many of you have tired and almost weak forearms after a ride involving steep downhills where you have to be on the breaks a lot. Pretty much it is mainly the right forearm - using that break the most. No tingling or numbness but now even almost 2 hours after the ride the arm is tired!

interested to see how you guys are and if you have any solutions
 

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Semi-Hairless Sasquatch
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You could try rotating the brake levers fore or aft to get them in a more comfy position.

Also, I have a lot better luck w/ the brake levers inboard of the shifters and one finger braking w/ my index finger personally. Seem to put a good deal less stress on my hands/fingers and have a better grip on the bars w/o having to white knuckle it.

Next time you ride pay attention and see if you find you're death gripping the bar, try to stay loose.

I don't really have too many problems w/ my forearms, but I used to tweak out my fingers and wrists before I got my levers angled in a way that worked well for me and converted over to one finger braking.
 

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ride like you stole it
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I never really had a problem until my first day of true DH, then I was pretty sore. I've been told squeezing tennis balls does wonders for forearm strength. Also make sure that your levers are in line with your "average" forearm position, it makes a big difference.
 

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T.W.O.
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Sid Nitzerglobin said:
You could try rotating the brake levers fore or aft to get them in a more comfy position.

Also, I have a lot better luck w/ the brake levers inboard of the shifters and one finger braking w/ my index finger personally. Seem to put a good deal less stress on my hands/fingers and have a better grip on the bars w/o having to white knuckle it.

Next time you ride pay attention and see if you find you're death gripping the bar, try to stay loose.

I don't really have too many problems w/ my forearms, but I used to tweak out my fingers and wrists before I got my levers angled in a way that worked well for me and converted over to one finger braking.
+1 I think your brake lever pointing too far down so when the bike is point down on the steep descend it put too much tension on your forearm. Try adjusting it to point more forward a bit it should help. And +1 on the death grip too.:thumbsup:
 

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Johnny Dependable
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Dude it's totally normal. When I started downhilling I had such bad forearm pump it made me want to cry. Big difference between standard cross country riding and rides with lots of steep downhill demanding you be on/off the brakes a lot. Your muscles will build up over time and you won't even notice it after a while. Just remember to stretch a bunch and self massage your forearms after each ride and drink a bunch of water.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
thanks guys - i will look into a slight adjustment of the brakes. But I will admit i had some death grip going today. I didnt need to most of the time but it can be habit
 

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Yep, for sure the grip is too strong, and levers are prolly too far down. Few other things, you can take slack out of the cable at the lever by backing out the adj screw. This will decrease the travel in the brake line resulting in a shorter pull with your fingers. You should be able to pull just with a finger tip or two. But, make sure that you still leave at least a little bit if play in the line. You may also be leaning towards the front a bit much putting more of your weight on arms and wrists. Last, think about breathing while descending. It is natural to hold your breath or short breathe when doing some of the more demanding/exhilirating parts of the ride. No oxygen to the muscles = lock up. Plus will help moderate your heart rate and control adrenaline thus relaxing you somewhat. Coming from the MX world, this is something youre taught when you first start riding. Hard to do even short amounts of riding if your not breathing correctly (sounds silly but its true) :thumbsup:

Phil
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
i am going on a trip for work and will be off the bike for a week - but when i get back on i will focus on the death grip after i adjust the levers. I think its one of those mental things but also physical because to make the hands light you have to use a lot of core and quads to hold you up - is that how you guys see it?
 

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Yeah sure, core and upper body strength is a benefit but not the most important. Real simple, just guide the bike with your hands, dont choke it. At speed you body position and weight transfer dictate more where the bike is going than your hands do anyway.
 

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Semi-Hairless Sasquatch
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surftime said:
i am going on a trip for work and will be off the bike for a week - but when i get back on i will focus on the death grip after i adjust the levers. I think its one of those mental things but also physical because to make the hands light you have to use a lot of core and quads to hold you up - is that how you guys see it?
You hit the nail on the head as far as engaging the core/quads to control weight transfer IMO.

Not leaning on the bars/grips makes it so much easier to maintain a secure but light grip on the bars and not lock up the arms and wrists.

Making sure to use my core to support my upper body has also been a productive focus for alleviating issues I would have w/ my shoulders and wrists on longer (70-100+ mi) road rides.
 

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Take up rock climbing. Once you're able to hang off dinky little rocks on a wall, hanging onto the bars and working the brakes is easy. Take it easy on the first couple sessions though or the forearm pump you get will make what you just got from biking seem minor.
 

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Sid Nitzerglobin said:
You hit the nail on the head as far as engaging the core/quads to control weight transfer IMO.

Not leaning on the bars/grips makes it so much easier to maintain a secure but light grip on the bars and not lock up the arms and wrists.

Making sure to use my core to support my upper body has also been a productive focus for alleviating issues I would have w/ my shoulders and wrists on longer (70-100+ mi) road rides.
I totally agree with this. In other words, learn to balance your weight on your pedals then the bike floats under you instead of the bike controlling your body. If you consciously pay attention to balancing your weight on your pedals you will see what I mean. You can tell if you have it right by how much pressure you have on the bars. Ideally, you want to be balanced so that you could take your hands off the bars and not fall fore or aft. Of course, don't take your hands off but use them as a gage to know if you are positioned correctly fore/aft. Check this periodically during your ride until it becomes automatic.

Also, make sure your brake levers are in far enough that your index finger engages the brake handle near the end. I'm assuming that if you are riding downhill you already know that you should be using just one finger (index finger) for braking. That allows you to have twice as much grip power on the bars (a 3 finger grip is about double what you get with just two). If you aren't already one finger braking then adjusting your brake levers inward and moving to one finger will be one of the most effective changes you can make to improve your riding and not wear your arms out as quickly.
 
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