Whenever you RipRow, you improve your balance, coordination, core engagement, full-body strength, endurance, power, fat burning and hormones. When you RipRow for mountain biking, BMX and motocross, you’re doing something even more profound: You patterning deep, permanent riding skills.
You will become a truly great rider by applying these principles:
1. Your best riding happens on a subconscious level
For our purposes your mind has two parts:
The part you control. You think it's the big part, but it's not.
The rest. This is where most of your life, and all of your shredding, happens.
These parts are often called the professor and the chimp. I like the term professor. It conveys knowledge and awareness. Instead of chimp, I prefer “lizard.” It conveys simplicity and resistance to extinction.
Your professor earns a living and buys great bikes. When you ride, it scans ahead and chooses clever lines. It can control your body movements, but only at very slow speeds. You’re ripping along then a scary rock locks your gaze: all of a sudden everything feels awkward, and you slow down. We've all been there. That's because our lizards aren't fast enough to process riding data.
Your lizard is simple. It has a collection of learned patterns. In the beginning these are [bad] instincts. As you gain mastery, these become [good] skills. Your lizard's main jobs are 1) don't die, 2) make babies and 3) read situations and apply patterns at very high speeds — way faster than you can think.
If you're a passionate rider, you’ve experienced Flow: when time slowed down, your body performed perfectly and you felt euphoric. In that moment, your professor turned off, and your lizard took over.
A moment of unconsciousness in my back yard:
2. You have to teach yourself good habits
If you’re a normal person, when you’re threatened (riding a gnarly downhill, hitting a Supercross jump, or skiing off a cliff), you instinctively tense your muscles and push your head away from danger. These things are wrong.
If you do the wrong things and survive, your lizard says: “Ah ha! Last time I entered an off camber turn, I locked my arms, gritted my teeth, leaned back and thought terrible thoughts, and I didn’t die, so it'll surely work next time.” When that happens, you’ve built a pattern.
Once that pattern is burned in, it’s permanent. Any time you push too far beyond your limits — into fear — your lizard will likely choose the old, bad habit. That’s one reason we never ride afraid.
The best way to deal with your bad habits: Build new habits that are so good your lizard chooses them over the old ones.
Thank you shred lizard for handling the details:
3. Focus on the two essential movements that empower great riding
So far I’ve written 10 books about mountain biking, and I’ve taught about 6,000 riders of all levels. I love what I do! One result of my time and passion: I’ve been gifted real insight into how bikes work, how bodies work, and how bikes and bodies work together.
At the very base of riding (whether MTB, BMX, MX, horses, etc), there are a few universal movements. At the beginning level, we think about pushing the bars across crests, pulling bars through troughs, extending our legs into holes and bending our legs over bumps. At a higher level, these moves get integrated into a row and an anti-row. At an even higher level, the row and anti-row become a single cycle of round radness.
This smooth, powerful movement can be seen in the world’s best riders. I’ve been riding at various levels of suck for 30 years. One day I was testing a RipRow prototype in my garage, during a snowstorm, a la Rocky IV, and all of a sudden I found the elliptical row/anti-row pattern. It had eluded me for decades. But there it was, in an instant. Bam! I thought of the top pros I’ve ridden with, and all of a sudden they weren’t doing magic — they were simply rowing and anti-rowing.
And you can do it too, right in your garage or living room.
4. Olympic rowers don't only train on stationary bikes, nor should mountain bikers. If you want to ride your best, you need a riding-specific trainer
The more your RipRow feels like your bike (or motorcycle or horse), the better your practice will empower your riding.
Follow our RipRow setup directions, then make the distance from your bike’s bottom bracket to the grips exactly the same as the distance from the RipRow deck to the grips. We call this the RAD (Rider Area Distance), and it’s the simple, elegant way to dial in your bike for shredding. Learn about the RideLogic bike setup system.
Practice RipRowing in a bike stance. For extra realism, use the pedals. Practice in your bad stance too. Soon you won't have a bad stance.
Set the seat to your descending height. Having the seat in the way feels more like riding, and it helps you dial in your all-important hinge.
When you RipRow, watch POV riding footage. Try to match your RipRow moves to the trail. Our RipRow Factory Pilot pro racers do this a lot. Trying to match the speed of a top pro is … humbling.
Here are some killer workouts. They're so fun you forget your heart is hitting the rev limiter.
5. While you are RipRowing, your brain is riding sweet trails
The primary RipRow movements are universally great exercises, and they come straight from great riding technique.
- Shredlift: exploding out of a BMX gate, sprinting, climbing up a ledge, snapping a sweet pump-manual, wheelie dropping off the end of a log
- Lowrow: controlling your bike through downhill bumps and drops
- Roundrow: pumping, hopping and jumping with pro-level smoothness
- Corner: generating traction (and speed) in a turn
- Slalom: carving left-right-left-right down a sweet singletrack
When you RipRow, your wheels can't wash out and there are no trees to hit, so you can pay close attention to your body. Whenever you RipRow, focus on something specific:
Balance. Keep the deck level by driving your weight into both feet. The app (being tested now) will help by showing the current deck angle.
Core engagement. Everything from your shoulders to your hips should be turned on. This is essential.
Perfect hinge. If your quads burn, you’ve shifted your knees forward to a squat. Push your knees and hips back.
Big hip drive. When you explode upward, push hard with your glutes. Keep your arms straight. Generate huge power from your core. The cleaner this is, the better you climb.
Full range of motion. When you anti-row, get as low as you can and push the bars as far away as you can. The cleaner this is, the better you descend.
Make everything round. At the high level, on the RipRow and the bike, all of your movements will become elliptical, smooth and incredibly powerful. As soon as you’re ready, you should do the bulk of your RipRow work with round movements.
When you RipRow, you move your body exactly like when you ride technical terrain. The more you RipRow, the more your body perfects the movements. You flood your muscles with electricity, and you burn the patterns of great riding directly into your nervous system.
Even a small amount of RipRow practice makes a huge difference. We recently loaned a RipRow to a writer at Outside Magazine. He said:
“You said that I'd notice the difference after one day's use, and I laughed, but it was true. When I rode the next day, I was better aware of my ideal body position, particularly on descents ... Wow!”
Start by learning great technique. Gradually add intensity, duration and resistance. Teach your body to RipRow better. Make it work harder. We want your lizard, when it’s under stress, to respond with even better technique and to apply the technique even more aggressively. This is important: When the workout gets harder … RipRow better!
Going fast ... about to fly into the unknown ... get low and RipRow.
6. Trust your RipRow practice and ride better than ever
When you go out and ride, know you’ve done great practice. Not only are you stronger than before, you’re also more skilled — at the most fundamental neuromuscular level, where it counts most.
Your lizard knows this. As long as you ride the way you RipRow, your lizard will automatically recalibrate your speed, your lines and your fun.
You don’t have to think, “Yesterday I did 500 hops in my living room, so this hop should be better.” Your lizard knows you’ve done the hops, and it knows the exact muscle firing patterns to hop perfectly, and your hops are better.
You’ll clean technical climbs without worry, and you’ll rip gnarly downhill sections so perfectly you’ll find yourself watching from a third-epson perspective. “Wow, I didn’t know I could do that.”
Yes, you can do that.
When you RipRow the following week, dig even deeper into your technique. Next weekend, enjoy riding at an even higher level. Repeat.
Have fun out there,