Balance on the BMX track

Hi Lee,

I’m new to BMX racing and have been finding your book Pro BMX Skills very useful, however my coach keeps telling me to keep my elbows up and out. I’m riding a cruiser and am 170cm tall. I find this really difficult to do when I am hanging back behind the seat (weight still centered). My front wheel becomes very loose. Do you have any tips which will let me learn to keep my elbows up even whilst pumping but keep the front wheel planted. I seem more in control with my elbows in. Any help you could give me would be greatly appreciated.


Hey Jess,

Thanks for writing.

A few thoughts:

• If you are hanging back behind the seat and your front wheel is loose, you are not centered. You are too far back.

• In this case, you are literally hanging back behind the bottom bracket, and it’s very hard to keep your elbows out because your arms are holding you onto the bike.

• First, find center. You know you’re in the center when your hands are neutral. You won’t feel any pull on your fingers or push on your palms.

• When your elbows are out too far, you lose strength. I don’t want to conflict with your coach, but I suggest trying a more neutral position, with your elbows at about a 45 degree angle from your torso. Sometimes your elbows will be wider or closer — BMX is dynamic! — but 45 degrees feels to me like a good mid point.

Watch Brendan Fairclough ride the 201 Sea Otter pro pump track. On average, his elbows are at about 45 degrees from his torso:

Lots more pumping knowledge in the book Pro BMX Skills.

Find center and experiment to see what works for you.

Rip it!


Know more. Have more fun!

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