All experienced mountain bikers have been there – out on the trail so long that grip starts to go and your hands cramp badly. This transforms a potentially fun downhill blast into a painful and dangerous experience – you’re hanging on for dear life with weak ﬁngers. There is help to be found, though. Doing these basic exercises will improve the strength of your hands.
In cycling, your grip is the primary point of control, and its importance should really not be underestimated. Although simply getting out on the bike more often will help your grip get stronger, these exercises will deﬁnitely speed up the process.
As is the case with all exercise, it’s much better to start off lightly and build up, but the secret is to do it as regularly as you can – why don’t you try to incorporate these into your regular training regime?
They say that an honest eye and a ﬁrm grip are a fair measure of a person. With the added bonus of a super-solid, granite-like handshake, these exercises might just help your career prospects, too! Just try not to crush any ﬁngers in your interviews – that’s never a good ﬁrst impression to make.
1. The Monkey Curl
With a dumbbell in each hand, start with straight arms by your side and curl the weights upwards until your arms are at 90 degrees. Next, curl your hands towards you, bringing your knuckles in to your sides. Do this ﬁve times before lowering the weights to your side and starting again. Try to do the movement four times in a row.
2. The Praying Mantis
Start with the dumbbells by your side. With the backs of your hands facing forwards and away from you, do a reverse bicep curl, trying to keep your elbows tucked into the body as much as possible. This will help the muscles in the back of your forearms get stronger and more able to take strain. Do three sets of 15 with a weight that feels right.
3. The Wrist Twister
Use light weights and be extra careful to avoid injury with this exercise. Standing with your forearms at 90 degrees to your body and your elbows tucked in to your ribs, rotate your lower arm and wrist through a full 180 degrees. Focus just on the lower arm and wrist, attempting to isolate the correct muscles in each. Repeat 20 times for both of your arms.