Motocross legend turned coach Ryno Hughes posted a video of Justin Hoeft’s excellent whoops technique. This got me thinking about ripping and rowing — and how some off-bike practice might make Justin even faster.
In good motocross technique, the rider balances on the footpegs in an athletic “attack” position and lets the motorcycle move under him.
If you look under the surface, you can see a very clear rip-row movement pattern:
When the front wheel hits a bump, the grips move toward the rider and the pegs move away from the rider. In the world of RipRow™, this is a row. Pull your hands toward you while you push your feet away from you. This movement is at the center of many human-powered activities including BMX, mountain biking, rock climbing, making a family and, of course, rowing.
When the rear wheel hits a bump, the grips move away from the rider and the pegs move toward the rider. In the world of RipRow™, this is a rip (also called an anti-row). Push your hands away from you while you pull your feet toward you. We use this movement every time our bike (BMX, MTB or MX) rolls across a crest.
Accelerate out of the turn, line ‘em up, engage with the first whoop and: Row. Rip. Row. Rip. Row. Rip. Row. Rip. Row. All the way through the section. Braaap!
When Justin's hits bumps, he lets his hands and feet react to them. Watch the video closely: Front wheels hits, there's a pause, then his hands move backward. He stays well balanced, and it’s smooth. He is, after all, a pro.
But what would happen if he trained these movements — the rip and row — off the motorcycle? What would happen if he made the movement patterns even more engrained, even more powerful and even more automatic?
Here’s the Straight Row on a RipRow™. This movement is very close to what Justin is doing, but my cockpit is set smaller and I’m using a wider range of motion. Scroll forward to 4:00.
If a racer like Justin trained on a RipRow™, could he get even better? Could he start rowing before his front wheel hits the bump? Could he start ripping before his back wheel hits the bump?
If he could trail this, I’ll bet he'll be even smoother. And smoother is faster!
What do you think?