Pump technique: Arms, legs or what?

Nice video Lee. Viewing it, I have a couple of questions about pumping that I’ve been wondering about for a while.

In my own efforts to pump, I’ve been able to generate my most effective action through my arms and the front wheel. In reading about pumping, however, I’ve always got the impression that I should be gaining more power from my legs.

Now in your video, it appears to me that you are pumping this section mostly through our arms, with relatively little leg motion. Could you comment on the relative importance of arm vs leg pumping? Thanks.

Excellent question, Grasshopper.

1MB Quicktime

I usually save this information for paying gigs, but I love you guys, so here’s the basic version:

– All riders should learn to pump through their legs. Driving your weight into the pedals, and keeping your hands neutral, is the foundation of a good riding position. From what I’ve seen in my teaching, most riders (at all levels) have a hard time keeping their torsos level and absorbing/pumping with their legs. Same in bump skiing.

– When I teach pump, we always start with the legs. We pump around the track or through the 4X/BMX rhythm with very light hands, driving all the action through the pedals. “Leg pump” ensures good balance, and it generates a ton of power.

– “Arm pump” gives you more immediate backside. Most riders find this easier to do technically, but very taxing physically. Arm pump works especially well with smaller, tighter rollers. Arm pump is mandatory when you’re ripping quick side-to-side transitions (like in the video).

– At a higher level, pumping uses your entire body. Watch the video frame by frame. When I approach a roller, I lift with my arms, then my legs. Notice how low I am on the crest of the roller. When the front wheel hits backside, I push with my arms. When the rear wheel hits backside, I push with my legs. This happens very quickly. Braaap!

– Look at the last roller in the sequence. Watch the bike squirt forward when the legs take over. The arms might be more noticeable, but the legs are doing the real work.

I hope that helps. Come take a clinic, or wait for the video. 🙂

— Lee

This post refers to: Pumping an S section

2 replies

Comments are closed.