Body position mistakes you need to avoid when mountain biking

Mountain biking for beginners is different from that of enthusiasts or professionals who have been doing it for years. But one of the ultimate goals that each cyclist can agree with despite experience levels is performing well at it. Achieving this is dependent on so many elements like fitness, training, nutrition, cycling clothing, the condition of the bike and the accompanying accessories. But the most important one that can often be overlooked is your body positioning when riding.

Getting this right not only guarantees that you have a successful ride on the trails, but it also reduces the chances of sustaining injuries. So, in this article, we’ll dive into some of the body position mistakes you might be making when you’re out biking on the mountain trails. We’ll also recommend where to search for the best mountain bike for sale and mountain bike clothing in South Africa. But first, let’s talk a bit about the effects of poor body positioning. 

The impact of poor body positioning 

Poor body positioning when biking could increase the risk of pain, injury and poor posture that could last for a long time. When you’re incorrectly positioned, you can put unnecessary weight on other areas of your body. The pressure on areas such as your neck, back or knees can result in pain and injury. The worst part is that you might not feel the impact at first or you could simply ignore it and pin the pain on exhaustion. So, it’s important to always position yourself correctly to avoid negatively impacting your health. 

Common mistakes you might be making 

To stay safe and be able to enjoy your ride without unknowingly bringing on consequences, you need to avoid these following mistakes; 

Gripping too hard 

Gripping onto your bike is important to secure you; however, a lot of cyclists make the mistake of gripping way too hard. Doing that won’t make you relaxed on the bike, and it will build up a lot of pressure on your forearms. By the time you wrap up your ride, your arms are cramping up, and you’ll need to peel your hands off of the bike. A proper grip is light; think of it as though you’re holding onto a glass. You grip enough for it not to slip out of your hand but not too much that you can end up crushing it. Apply the same grip firmness on your bike, and you’re good to go. 

Incorrect riding position 

You may be forward tilting or backward tilting, both of which could cause neck and back pain. Or you position your seat too low or too high, resulting in knee pain or strain on your hamstring. What you need is balance and the correct distribution of weight. And, while riding positions may vary according to factors such as your physical characteristics and the terrain, there is a simple method. That involves keeping a slight bend on your arms while keeping your chin up and looking forward, with the handlebar hiding the front hub from your view. It should make it easy for you to find a good position for descending. In our previous post, we provided descending tips to help you improve your skills

Incorrect foot position 

Foot position is key in riding effectively. When it’s incorrect, it can affect your pedalling and therefore, riding speed. When you’re pedalling uphill, it becomes a horizontal fit, so your foot needs to be flat on the pedal. But when descending, you have to drop the heel backwards and use a back and forth heel movement to create a good balance on your descend. 

Looking down 

This is not a mistake you want to make because when you look down, you won’t see the terrain and be able to spot the obstacles ahead. Bring your head up to see the terrain earlier and place yourself in a neutral position on the bike. 

Incorrect positioning when cornering 

When you’re making a turn on a corner, it’s important that you stay tall with your leg, drop your heels, keep your elbows wide and head over the stem. Lean over the bike and drive your weight back into the corner. Doing this will allow you to get the right amount of grip to turn the corner without any trouble.

Final thoughts 

Mountain biking in South Africa is one of the most revered and fun sports that can be beneficial for your well-being – but only if you’re doing it right and positioned correctly. Apart from the health impact, good positioning affects how much grip you have, how you roll through terrain and how much speed you can carry. 

So, avoid making these mistakes above, and you’ll be able to enjoy the ride. Visit Chris Willemse Cycles online store today and you will find cycling clothing for sale, a dual-suspension mountain bike for sale or a dual-suspension mountain bike frame for sale, as well as everything else you need to make your cycling journey as easy as it should be.