Arm Pump--Help

38 replies to this topic
  • guidster

Posted June 05, 2002 - 08:39 AM


I am having real trouble with Arm pump when on the MX track. I can trail ride, hill climb, etc. all day, but 15-20 minutes of Moto and I am through! I am in good shape, work out the forearms, etc., but am really not that competitive because of my darn arms! I don't recall arm pump being this much of a problem when I was younger (32 now). I am curious about how many others out there share this affliction and what if anything they have done to help with the problem.

  • Yak

Posted June 05, 2002 - 08:43 AM


firmer, thinner grips will decrease your grip force and reduce the pump.

  • John_Lorenz

Posted June 05, 2002 - 08:51 AM


Read this article to start

then ask question if you have any :)

  • yznvegas

Posted June 05, 2002 - 09:13 PM


Try getting some of those spring loaded grip things that were popular back in the 80's. Squeeze em all day at the office and that should help out a little.

  • thumper4life

Posted June 05, 2002 - 09:37 PM


dont do anything active with your arms at least 2 days before your race...muscles need up to 72 hours to repair so give them some time once done excersizing for the week. do some forearm stretches if you're ever bored like bending your wrist down and holding it bending it up/twisting etc. also, the day of your race, as close as to the time you're leaving your house as you can fill up your bathtub with extremely hot water and soak your arms for about 5 to 10 minutes.

i hardly get arm pump ever, if i do get a pump its a slight hand/thumb pump which is very annoying to me. anyone got an idea how to get rid of the hand/thumb pump? maybe loosening up my grip would help :)

  • Shawn_Mc

Posted June 05, 2002 - 09:48 PM


I get the thumb deal like Thumper4life. But I get it in 4 laps. Im 40 y/o and not in terrific shape, but if it wasnt for my arms, I know I could go 10 laps at full race speed.

The hand spring thing I did back in the 80's, made my arm pump worse. Not saying that will happen to you, but it happened to me. No bueno! The old 82' CR250 shook it head bad enough without being pumped up!

  • yzboy

Posted June 05, 2002 - 11:33 AM


Guidster, 20 min before your race or ride take a couple of aspirin. They say the aspirin helps thin the blood? it works for me. good luck :)

  • yznvegas

Posted June 05, 2002 - 11:38 AM


Shawn, I don't see how building your forearm muscles with a grip thingy could make your pump worse. All it does it increase forearm and grip strength, I don't see how this could increase arm pump. I am not saying it didn't happen to you but I am just curious if there wasn't something else at work to give you forearm pump. I think the only thing that would do that is if you didn't give your arms enough recovery time, like someone else said, at least 72 hours prior to the race.

  • CyPrice

Posted June 05, 2002 - 11:44 AM


Arm pump is a strange thing and everybody will have a different solution. Here is mine. I noticed the only time i got arm pump was the first few laps on a track or if I went to a track i had never been to before, arm pump would have me in the pits after about 3 laps. I never got pumped up on my local track i visit once a week. I decided my unfamiliarity with the terrain would cause me to clench the bars a little tighter than normal, once I had a new track figured out, I loosened up and the pump was gone. However it is very difficult to relax when you are trying to beat that punk on the CRF to the inside of the next corner.

  • BigDesto

Posted June 05, 2002 - 11:51 AM


Before my races and on the starting line, i would put my fingers on the grips and stretch the **** out of them.Pushing down with your arms so your finger tips are up, you want stretch out your forearm muscles so they have room to expand when you pump-up. Do this before your race and after to stretch-out again.

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  • Insane_Clown_Jon_Youngblood

Posted June 05, 2002 - 11:57 AM



I agree, it does seem counterintuitve that not training a muscle would improve performance, but I side with Shawn MC on this one from both personal experience and from a physiological standpoint. Case in point: the compartment relief surgery that the pro's have i.e. ronronmx, sellards, dowd et. al attempt to relieve arm pump by cutting the muscle sheath to reduce pressure. By not training the muscle it would be smaller and less constricted by the sheath, and therefore flow blood more freely (reducing pump).

For me personally, I try to pay as little attention to my forearms as possible when training and riding and it seems to work. When I say "not training the forearm", that would assume a reasonable amount of mx specific fitness, and that someone was riding and maintaing a reasonable level of conditioning as I am sure my argument would not apply to someone getting off the couch for the first time in 5 yrs. Never doubt the Shawn MC, have you seen his list of Mx injuries? We should be calling him Shawn Mc Knievel.


  • calvin

Posted June 05, 2002 - 11:59 AM


Cardio, and mountain biking helped me. Those hand held spring things made my arm pump A LOT worse. It usually takes me about the first 30min of a race to ride through the pain, but after that the next 2 1/2 hours are pain free.

  • Hokie

Posted June 05, 2002 - 12:45 PM


Originally posted by guidster:
I am having real trouble with Arm pump when on the MX track. I can trail ride, hill climb, etc. all day, but 15-20 minutes of Moto and I am through! I am in good shape, work out the forearms, etc., but am really not that competitive because of my darn arms! I don't recall arm pump being this much of a problem when I was younger (32 now). I am curious about how many others out there share this affliction and what if anything they have done to help with the problem.

For me it seems to be all about relaxing. I can ride a 2 hour HS and not get pump, but a 5 lap MX race will pump me up like crazy.

I can relax in a 2 hour race since I know I have time ot catch people. But in a MX race I am tense since there are only 5 laps to get the job done.

Try to ride relaxed, and grip with the knees!

  • Boit

Posted June 05, 2002 - 02:26 PM


Cutting out processed sugar from my diet improved my pump tremendously. We consume FAR too much sugar.

  • yznvegas

Posted June 05, 2002 - 02:57 PM


I love coca cola, I wish I could stop drinking it but it is just the BOMB. :)

  • DPW

Posted June 05, 2002 - 03:22 PM


Here's another good article, HERE. I think the only real way to avoid arm-pump is to ride and be comfortable on the bike. I believe it's more mental than physical. A good example if you go to a familar track and never get it, but a new track and you get arm-pump. It's from being a little nervous and having the death grip on the bars. Loosen your grip on the bars when you can, like in the air or straight-ways and be sure and breath while your out there. Now if I can only follow my own advice.

My .02$

[ June 05, 2002: Message edited by: DPW ]


Posted June 05, 2002 - 05:13 PM


Hey I'm a personal trainer and just got back into riding again, but I lift da' weights 4-5 days out of the week on a reg. basis. The first time I got back on a bike after 13 years was a 426 my friend took me straight to the woops. I got my first pump in many years, although I do mtn. bike once a week.I stopped and stretched them, and worked a quick massage over the muscle about 2 minutes per arm. problem sovled next day forearms sore a little. Now you can't stop mid race and do this so here is my answer to you guys and I hope it works for you. But first a little background, lifting weights in low rep ranges 1-12 reps on f. arms will help them get bigger, BUT NOT help your arm pump instead the problem is your squeezing the crap out of your grips to hold on so Here is a couple of remedies that may help. 1. Use smaller grips on yor bike. 2. You may want to use Aspirin to help thin the blood, but remember if you have bad azz crash it will also be harder to stop the bleeding, so nix that one. 3.train your arms with high reps on wrist curls, reverse wrist curls and twists(rope on a pipe twisted up and down) here is the big secret, use a fat bar when doing wrist curls. A fat bar is a 2 inch +/- diameter bar about the size where you load the plates on the end of a barbell. Do your wrist curls and bicep curls with this size of bar, it will make you keep your palms opened up in a larger size diameter and blitz your forearms like you have never felt before, doing 30 to 50 reps per set and about 5-6 sets per workout start with 1 workout per week then go to 2. The idea is your workout will be tougher than your actual sport. (mx), plus your grips will be a smaller diameter than your training bar,hence a better grip and your curculatory system will be able to pump blood in and most important be able to REMOVE IT! That is the problem you guys are getting, blood in but not fast enough blood out. Remember to use wrist curls and reverse curls, I.e. top and bottom of the forearm. Sorry about the long response. PS. carefull when shaking anything after you've built up your grip.

  • DPW

Posted June 05, 2002 - 05:32 PM


I also read it's not a good idea to lift high weight and slow reps, because it trains the muscle wrong. It's better to lift low weight and a little quicker rep. Thoughts ?

[ June 05, 2002: Message edited by: DPW ]

  • osheen

Posted June 05, 2002 - 07:10 PM


I take 5 advil in the morning of race day and 4 about mid-day. I do think that it helps.

  • Kirtwell

Posted June 06, 2002 - 02:20 AM


I suffered from the worst kind of Arm pump too.
The only thing that stops Arm pump for me is to Ride....ALOT!!!! It's the ONLY thing that works for me....I've tried the adville....lots of caffeine....ect.....but nothing compares to just plain riding.
I'm not sure if it makes you more relaxed because you ride alot or if it's just arm conditioning........maybe both.
If I quit my riding regiment right wouldn't be a week and I'd be back to that severe pain of arm pump. It really sucks. :)

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