The human body is an amazing “machine” that can create a wide variety of movements. One of the reasons that it is so effective is that it is made to make use of wedges.
Just so we’re all on the same page, a wedge is defined as a tool that can be used to separate two objects or to resist movement. It is the key to strong, efficient movement in a lot of sports and it is something I am recognizing more and more on my mountain bike.
For example, a few weeks ago I was riding along when I realized that I was using my arm as a wedge between my shoulder and handlebars to help me corner and stay stable as I dealt with trail impacts.
And the key to using this wedge was my elbow position.
In this video I show you how, if my elbows were behind the handlebars, I had a strong wedge but, if my elbows got on top of the handlebars, my wedge was useless. This has a direct impact on your cornering and ability to keep the bike under control during hard impacts.
As you can see in the video, keeping your elbows in the sweet spot is the goal and your handlebar width plays a major role in that.
If my hands were too wide it made it hard to keep my elbows from flaring out into the “scarecrow position” I see so many riders using. This gets my elbows on top of my handlebars and makes the pressure I could create and resist with my wedges useless.
If your handlebars are 30+ inches wide then you most likely have trouble keeping your elbows in a good position through your full range of motion in your cockpit. At some point your elbows flare too far out and get on top of your handlebars. This is going to make it impossible to use your wedge effectively, resulting in inefficient and unbalanced movement.
If you haven’t seen it yet, be sure to check out the post Your Handlebars Are Too Wide: A Case Study where I show you how your hand position affects your elbow and shoulder position on the bike and how to find the right width for you.
There is a saying in fitness that if you want to get fit, look at what everyone else is doing and then do the opposite. Unfortunately, that advice applies to mountain biking more and more every day. Ditch your 30+ inch wide bars, make better use of your wedges and watch your skills and confidence improve.
Until next time…
p.s. This kind of “underground skills training advice” is what you can expect from the 2 Day Primal Skills Camp. Couple that with the unique training tools and methods I’ll be sharing and you have an experience unlike anything else in mountain biking.
If you’re curious about how to “do the opposite” of what everyone else is doing then visit https://www.bikejames.com/primal-skills-camp to learn more.
Plus, if you sign up before the end of the month you get a free pair of Catalyst Pedals and a free isometric training strap. But don’t wait, only a few spots are left and this Early Bird Bonus goes away soon.