Dirt Bike Tips: Basic Body Position
Welcome to OAO’s Dirt Bike Tips! In each post, we’ll break down a basic riding technique. Our goal is to give you quick, simple points you can easily digest, remember, and put to work during your ride. With these posts, we also aim to give you snippets of insight you might not get anywhere else!
ALSO, we’ve collaborated with strength trainer Erika Hurst to include training exercises - a #MotoFitTip if you will - that can be easily added to your routine to help support related muscles and joints! Let’s braaap to it!
BASIC BODY POSITION
Whether sitting or standing, these are the basics of how to position your body:
Body should be over the pivot point of the bike
Chin over the handlebars
Elbows bent, aiming up and out
Knees gripping/squeezing the sides of the bike
Getting Your Body Over The Pivot Point Of The Bike
Many riders who are new to dirt bikes tend to sit too far back on the bike, with their knees out in front of them. Maybe because they’ve ridden cruiser-style motorcycles, or just relate to how we sit in cars, go karts etc. On a dirt bike this is incorrect, it throws off the center of gravity and can increase arm pump (arm pain and fatigue due to exertion and swelling that affects blood flow).
I know that as an adult starting out on a smaller bike, it can feel strange and unnatural to feel like you have nowhere to fit your legs. Nonetheless, whether sitting or standing on a dirt bike, you need to get your body more forward, over the pivot point of the bike (where the seat dips, close to the tank) and tuck your legs underneath. It will feel weird, require extra balance and strength, but when you master it you’ll be a BOSS. So, next time you get on that bike, SCOOT ON UP.
Learn With Movement, Everything Is Adjustable
Movement and speed play a big role in how you put techniques to work, and how you adjust in different scenarios. For example, in the image below, you can see that my body and head are further back, and my back is slightly curved. This is because I am braking, not accelerating, because there’s a bottleneck of riders in front of me - something you can’t see in the photo. This is simply to illustrate that learning a technique doesn’t mean you’ll immediately meet some rigid idea of perfection. Form and technique are adjustable as you ride and move with the motorcycle.
MOTO FIT TIP
Because your body needs to be central on the bike the core of your body needs to be strong and mobile to adjust as you ride. Two simple exercises that can help increase hip mobility as well as strengthen core and legs are Glute Bridges and Planks.
These help us learn how to hinge at our hips and engage our glutes and hamstrings rather than our lower back.
Set up with your shoulder blades elevated on a bench
Drive through your heels and squeeze your butt to lift your hips
Avoid arching through your lower back at the top
Do these for 3 sets of 8-12 reps
These train our core to be stable enough to resist any movement or jarring through our midsection to protect our spine.
Set up with your body in a straight line from head to heels, actively pushing your chest away from the floor
Tuck your ribs toward your hips to engage your core, squeeze your butt, armpits, fists and quads hard and hold this position (when done correctly, you shouldn’t be able to hold this for very long)
Avoid letting your head drop or hips sag and holding your breath
Do these for 3 sets of 3 five-10 second holds
Special thanks and (insert praise hands emoji and burrito emoji) to Erika Hurst for collaborating with OAO! Follow us on Facebook and Instagram and join our email list to make sure you don’t miss dirt bike tips to come!