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5 Ways to Instantly Improve Your Mountain Biking Skills


1) Relax.
A tense body magnifies all of the bumps on the trail and bounces you around. Relax your arms, knees, face— everything. You may have to consciously remind yourself to do it before tough sections, since your body might automatically tense up as you approach them.

2) Put your natural suspension to work.
Your best suspension is the one you were born with—your arms and legs. They should be bent at all times and moving up and down to absorb the bumps and chatter of roots and ruts. Avoid muscle fatigue by loosening your handlebar death grip and making “pushup arms”: elbows out and bent, similar to the pushup position.

3) Let your bike and body move separately.
Except for your hands and feet, your body should be open and away from the bike to allow it to float, lean, and move beneath you when the trail gets rough. This is essential in rock gardens and tight corners.

4) Let your body point the way.
Rusch aims her knees where she wants to go, and her hips and body follow, letting her steer more naturally. Don’t overthink it, she says.

5) Brake before obstacles, not in the middle of them. 
Speed and momentum are your friends: Momentum irons out the bumps in the road, and speed makes the bike more stable. Try to evaluate an obstacle before you reach it, and look for good braking on either side. Once you commit, let off the brakes and float on through until you’re clear. Brake again on the other side.

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