marg26

Strains from bad rear hop technique?

8 posts in this topic

Been practising trials for a year and was wondering today if arm/shoulder strain could be a symptom of bad rear hop technique?  I think perhaps I'm not leaning back enough with my body and using my bent arms to try to force the front wheel up as a consequence. Can be seen in this video.

Does that sound right? Or is trying to learn trials on top of daily commutes on a rigid MTB just going to do that to someone well past the prime of their youth?

This afternoon spent some time practising rear wheel hops off a 1ft kerb and trying to maintain the balance/position to continue with a few more hops after landing (instead of the front wheel landing shortly after rear). This forced me to lean back more than usual which while feeling a bit precarious also felt like a step in the right direction.

I've been aiming to do rear hops on a low 1ft wall for a while now, went to do it toward the end of my session today but didn't have the balls/confidence yet.

Edited by marg26

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What do you mean by strain? 

Is there a specific place where it hurts and is it made worse by certain movements (on or off the bike)? 

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If you're fairly new to trials then my guess is that you're using muscles in a new way and what you're describing is a soreness due to these muscles being pushed a bit. The result of that is that your body should work to build those muscles so that it's better prepared next time. Trials uses your shoulders a lot and if you stick with it you'll find that your arms and upper body in general should develop well to cope with what you're doing.

In terms of technique it definitely looks like you're a bit too upright and could do with lowering the front more and leaning back to compensate. If you haven't seen it already check out AliC's video:

 

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2 hours ago, isitafox said:

What do you mean by strain? 

Is there a specific place where it hurts and is it made worse by certain movements (on or off the bike)? 

Not DOMs for instance. Maybe overuse? Sometimes minor twinges raising arms above head. I've been trying to build upper body strength on and off (mostly off) for the past few years and have found it incredibly easy to over do it (or I'm just a wuss). But the feeling recently with rear wheel hops is slightly different so wondered if bad rear hop technique is known for causing strains in the more forward facing part of upper arms/shoulders (I don't know anatomy sorry). As mentioned, it is slowly improving. Re upper body strength one of my goals was to do handstands, and a week ago I decided to do a chest-to-wall handstand (walking my feet up the wall starting in plank position) once every day to see how it goes. I've been doing a warm up (random stuff from youtube) in prep which seems to help overall, and also using it to warm up before trials bike which I think is helping - but a week probably isn't long enough to be sure. Sorry get a bit rambly with this stuff.

Yes have seen that Ali C video, should definitely refresh myself with what he says. Re upright position, I recall what he says about not bringing bars to chest, but I kind of feel a bit more balanced that way on top of the bike.

Edited by marg26

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I think one issue could be that you're fairly stiff on the bike (which is natural until you get the muscle memory later on). Being stiff means you're not using your muscles efficiently and using muscles you don't need to use. Your body is probably being shocked by it and could be causing the symptoms you're getting...I remember I got really painful fingers after about a year of riding, about the time I was doing more backwheel stuff.

It does look like you're a bit too steep on the bike too and with a very elbows in position, riding elbows in whilst straining them is pretty brutal on the shoulders, it's kinda like trying to do a bent arm lever in the gym, something most people would struggle to do without much training.

My advice? Hold off the backhops for a week and let your shoulders recover, meanwhile try and work on two wheel balance and see about getting a more relaxed posture (easier said than done)...there's no shame in taking a step back if needed and running before you can walk can slow you down in the long term. Once you feel like tackling backhops again try rocking onto the back wheel with an endo and try and find the balance point without hopping, use your body weight, your hips, knees anything to keep on that point...that should help you stop being as stiff and should take some stress off your arms and shoulders.

Good luck.

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I'd have thought if it's the front of your shoulders there'll be a grip and pulling element affecting you. Like Ali says the position of your arms and the bike in the vid show you're pulling to keep the front end up rather than balancing, you should be able to hold the balance on the rear wheel for a second or two without hopping if you're in the right position. 

Another thing that I think will be adding to it is it sounds like the rear brake is slipping slightly which would cause you to squeeze the bars and brake lever harder than you need which again will be adding pressure on to your bicep and shoulders. 

I can send you a video showing a really easy stretch for the front of your shoulder if you want? Should help a bit, let me know (Y)

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Thanks for taking a look at the video and giving feedback. Definitely agree re stiffness and lack of muscle efficiency, the amount of effort I put into small moves just doesn't scale up to the big moves. Re my body position, I think it's slowly coming along, I do reach the point from time to time where I hold balance for a second or so without hopping, but it takes an amount of focus on what I'm doing, maybe like ticking off everything on a checklist, that I'm still getting used to when riding a bike. Not so keen on the advice to hold off from the backhops for a week, but actually probably pretty sensible.

Yes please to the stretching video, it is something I've felt would help.

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I didn't take the trials bike out over the Christmas period, and only went out a couple of times on the MTB (vs the usual daily rides to work & back). Wasn't until around NYE I went out on the trials bike. This time stopped myself from bring the front wheel up as high as I could while rear wheel hopping. It did feel to be an improvement, and felt better immediately after the ride, but the dull pain still sporadically comes and goes over the week that followed.

I don't think it's rear hops so much as anything where I made a sudden energetic move, which sometimes is just to pull myself back into stable position on the bike.

I thought to try some wrist/forearm stretches which I've used in the past: starting with hands and knees on floor, palms down, fingers spread, rotate both hands outwards until fingers point back to knees. It's a stretch I really need to be careful not to put too much stress on the wrists with, so usually start with my bum back near a more seated position. Then begin to lift my back toward horizontal which gives a good stretch all up my arms toward shoulders around even lats.

Abi Carver has a series of yoga videos on her youtube channel meant to be good for mountain bikers, so going to try a few of them. Also starting to learn to swim, so hopefully a non-impact form of exercise will do my shoulders good :-)

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