A couple of weeks ago I posted the replay from my webinar on the Top 3 MTB Skills Training Myths, and while I got a lot of great feedback on it I also know that not everyone had the time to get into and see everything I talked about.

One of the myths I talked about is something I wanted to touch on today because I think it is important that every rider knows what it is – the advice to “get your elbows out” when on your bike. This advice has resulted in an epidemic of what I call the “scarecrow posture” since riders have their elbows so far out that they look like they could be plucked off their bikes and hung in a cornfield.


The problem is that while this advice was well meaning, what it does is push riders from one compensation/ dysfunction into another one. You still don’t have what you really want, which is a stable upper back and good palm pressure into the handlebars.

The truth us that when you push your elbows too far out then you disengage your lats and create a bend in your wrists. Among other things, when this happens it makes it harder for you to corner your bike properly. This makes “elbows out” incomplete advice at best and the start of bad habits at worse.

As part of the webinar I shot a short video going over how all of this affects your ability to corner your bike. I also show you how your wrist position, upper back and palm pressure should be your focus, not the position of your elbows. Once you “feel” what I describe in this video your elbows will be where they need to be.

Just to be clear, this advice in and of itself isn’t bad. If I see someone with their elbows caved in and despite my cuing them to get their shoulder blades tucked and good palm pressure into the handlebars they still have their elbows in a bad position, I will tell them to get their “elbows out”.

The problem is that creating balanced, efficient movement is the goal and without understanding how that should feel you end up with a lot of riders trying to act out good riding form. I’ve had to tell riders with the “scarecrow posture” to get their elbows in so that they were in a better position to stabilize their upper back and apply pressure into the handlebars.

Learn how to focus on the right things and riding suddenly becomes a lot simpler and more fun. Hopefully this video will help you do that.

Until next time…

Ride Strong,

James Wilson

MTB Strength Training Systems

p.s. For a lot of riders, getting their upper back engaged on the bike is pretty tough because they have trouble getting it engaged off of the bike. Living in a sedentary society where we sit too much also has a lot of riders fighting common dysfunctions like tight pecs and shoulders and rounded shoulder posture.

All of this makes it much harder to apply skills training advice on the trail. What you need is a plan to help you 1) move better, 2) stress proof your improved movement and 3) show you how to apply it all to the trail.

If you want to get a plan that is made specifically to help you improve your MTB specific movement, strength and skills then you should check out the 90 Day MTB Skills & Fitness Program. For just $19 you can get the only program that encompasses everything you need to see a dramatic improvement in your riding.

If a step-by-step plan like this sounds like something you could use, then click here to learn more and get your copy today.

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