There is nothing worse than getting arm pump while riding. You ride tight, unable to hold onto the bars, only for it to become worse and worse! Forearms throbbing and hands aching, you sit at the side of the track wondering how do I get rid of this dreaded arm pump! Fear not, we have the answer…
What is arm pump?
Arm pump is caused by restricted blood vessels in the forearms. The restriction backs up the blood coming from the heart. While the blood is backing up, more blood continues to be pumped into the forearms. The result is a blood traffic jam. If not for fascia, the blood would keep pouring in until your forearms explode. The forearms can only expand so far before the limits of the fascia are reached resulting in forearms that feel rock hard.
How does arm pump occur?
Hydration is extremely neglected by most people that train and race. What is going on when I am dehydrated and what does it mean for arm pump? So, when you are dehydrated your blood volume will then decrease. The result of this decrease in blood volume is a drop in blood pressure. To counteract this change in blood pressure, your brain sends signals to your body to constrict blood vessels. With this constriction, your blood flow can be disrupted. Instead of a smooth flow, blood will experience a turbulent flow when the blood vessels are constricted. The turbulent flow can cause some blood to swirl or even flow backwards. With this swirling or backflow, there is a large buildup of pressure in the veins. This pressure can cause swelling of the veins which can put pressure on the surrounding tissue and nerves, which then limit the blood flow to parts of your muscles. The result of this is arm pump. To help prevent or reduce arm pump, there are a few things you can try:
How do I get rid of arm pump?
Warm up. A proper warm up can release lactate buffers into your blood stream. A stationary trainer is great way to warm up and to help get your heart moving. Jumping jacks, jump rope are just some of the activities. Getting your heart rate up before hopping on the bike can cut down on arm pump.
Bike Setup. Having your bike properly set up for you will ensure that you're comfortable and loose on the bike. Having your suspension set up for your weight and skill level is part of the keys. Making sure your controls are easy to be accessed can help lower your arm pump.
Technique. Focusing on breathing and being loose in the arms is another key to help getting rid of arm pump. Squeezing your legs and keeping your elbows up are another key technique to take your riding to the next level. Use proper technique when riding. Try to maintain a relaxed grip on the handlebars and avoid over-gripping, which can contribute to arm pump. Learn more HERE.
Arm-pump surgery. Arm pump surgery has become popular among pro racers. It's an incision that is made to the forearms fascia to eliminate arm pump. It has a 50/50 ratio of it working or not. There's no guarantee. Some incisions actually close up during the healing process defeating the entire purpose of the surgery.
Hydration plays a key role in arm pump and more importantly managing it. Having a high amount of electrolytes are crucial. By having a lot of electrolytes, it will open up your blood volume. By increasing your blood volume it will open your blood vessels to make sure blood flows smoothly in and out of your muscles. Make sure you are properly hydrated before and during your ride. Dehydration can contribute to arm pump.
Arm Pump can be caused by various factors, including over-training, poor bike setup, and lack of activity between rides. To prevent or reduce arm pump, it is important to stay active and avoid over-training, ensure that your bike is comfortable and properly set up. Massaging your forearms and warming up before riding can also help. In severe cases, arm-pump surgery (fasciotomy) may be necessary to relieve the constriction of muscles during strenuous activity. However, this surgery is still relatively new and may not always be effective. To prevent arm pump, it is important to listen to your body, maintain proper throttle control and gear selection, and take breaks to rest and recover.
Easy digestible Carbohydrates play another major role in helping to get rid of arm pump. A mix of complex carbs and simple carbs give a gradual supply of energy over a prolonged period that is ideal for Motocross and Off-road races. Carbohydrates are your bodies main fuel source. Replenishing your carbohydrates gives you more energy and increases your muscle glycogen to refuel to muscles to increase your performance.
Hydro Power’s Endurance Fuel is the trick to help get rid of arm pump for motocross and off-road athletes.
Here’s what Kalil Scales has to say about Hydro Power.
"Hydro Power is amazing! I had a chance to try it out while racing on a hot 90 + degrees Fahrenheit day and I felt hydrated and focused all day with no signs of arm pump. Not to mention the flavor is tasty too”. Go try us out here to see what all the hype is all about!