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Leaning back on the RipRow™ and on a mountain bike

Leaning back on the RipRow™ and on a mountain bike

Hi Lee,

I have a quick question for you.  When I'm RipRowin' on a higher setting (9+) and am doing ShredLift sprints, the front end of the Rip Row will often lift off the ground when I extend my hips to the bar.  I've tried moving my feet further forward but it still happens if I really pull hard with my hips (which is the idea I think).  Any thoughts?  

I recall when we were riding together at Dakota Ridge, there was a large rock that I needed to quasi-bunny hop at speed up and over and one of my issues with smoothly transitioning over the rock was leaning too far back on the row portion and thus impacting my rear wheel with enough force to kill some momentum.  Could I be leaning too far back on the heavy Shredlifts and thus unintentionally facilitating the liftoff?  Would a short video clip be beneficial?  

Thanks for your help.  Have a great day!


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Thanks for reaching out, and for these great questions. 

Before you do anything else, you have to see this post: Bunny hopping on a RipRow™.

RipRow™ Wheelies

If the front end of the RipRow is popping a wheelie, you’re leaning back too far. This is super common, both on the machine and on a bike. Most riders, when they want to pull the bars really hard, cheat by leaning back with their body weight.

I'm supposed to be a great RipRower, but in this screen shot I'm leaning back against resistance #12, and I'm popping a little wheelie. 

Ideally, when you ShredLift or do other serious pulling moves on the RipRow™, you’ll generate power while 1) balanced on your feet, and 2) generating the force internally, between your hands and feet. This requires WAY more strength and coordination than leaning backward. 

I know this because I went to REVO Physiotherapy and Sports Performance in Boulder, CO, and they put me and a RipRow™ on a force plate. The plate shows exactly where my center of mass is — and even though I fancy myself an expert RipRower, I was leaning backward against heavy bar forces. Hmm. 

With their machine constantly showing where my center of mass is, I was able to quickly change my patterning. 

The keys to perfect, balanced ShredLifting seem to be:

Stand in a moto stance. If you’re advanced, put the balls of your feet on the pedals. You can upgrade to a bike stance later, but the moto stance requires more fore-aft balance, so it's great practice. 

When you pull the bars, imagine you’re a scissor jack lifting a car. Drive your hands and hips toward each other. Smash your feet straight down into the ground. 

Try not to lean back! The more you feel that urge, the more you need to lock your hands to your hips. This might be a new feeling. Imagine doing a crunch while deadlifting and rowing. The more your hips drive forward, the more your hands should anchor backward. If it was easy, everyone would do it. 

When you do this correctly, your core will scream. I could do 100 reps at #12 the old, cheating way. When I did it correctly, my abs burned at 8 reps. 

But I’ve adapted to the better form, and so will you.

In this video I'm doing a heavy ShredLift workout. You can see me struggling with the same balance issue — especially at #12. I pop a wheelie at -9:52.

If you want to train max raw strength, it's OK to lean back a bit (but not so much the RipRow™ wheelies).

Most of your RipRow™ work should be at light resistance for long intervals. This is how you forge perfect movement patterns — and makes riding a feel easy. 

Smashing rocks with your back tire

Dakota Ridge is no joke! Here’s a video of two great riders (Matt Fisher and Nate Hills) shredding that trail. Your results may vary.

I guarantee you’re leaning back too far on the bike.

1) It's how most people try to hop. The old way, which everyone but me still teaches, involves leaning back into a manual then popping off the rear wheel. This A) is bad patterning B) puts you off balance and C) can be super dangerous. At low speeds your bike hung up and stopped you. At high speeds that mistake can catapult you over the handlebars.

This image is from Bicycling Magazine. I used to teach this technique, but now I know better. Leaning back on your bike causes front-wheel washouts and over-the-bars endos. We should never practice leaning back.  

2) Leaning back is the normal human fear reaction. No matter who you are, when you pass a threshold of fear, you will lean back. That's what people do. Just like in alpine skiing. 

3) You've accidentally been leaning back on the RipRow™.  

Clean up your RipRowing. Your riding will follow.

Make sense? 









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