When coaches coach, they often exaggerate their body positioning to get their point across.
These exaggerations can cause confusion, and the common cue to ride in attack position leaves many hopeful mountain bikers misinformed.
The general cues for this 'attack position' are:
Have you ever seen this ‘exaggerated attack position’, or been taught it? Looks aggressive right? However the only time you’d need to get into what might otherwise known as a ‘tuck’ position is when you’re on a super smooth and straight trail and you’re trying to reduce air drag!
So for the majority of riding situations this is a rare position to be in, and very limiting too.
You see, our ankles, legs, hips and arms need to be available as our primary suspension, and when set up properly they have way more travel potential than our bike suspension.
What is often demonstrated as ‘neutral position’ is closer to is needed for attacking the trail, and attack position is actually a disposition, or in other words a mindset you need to have when the trail gets challenging.
Body position set up for challenging terrain is actually similar to our bike suspension with a little bit of sag, perhaps on average 25% when ripping down a trail. This allows us to soak up bumps and also extend the bike into dips and holes in the trail. Though be careful, this sag setting isn’t a rule, mountain biking is so dynamic and we are constantly adjusting - it’s a real-time dance.
Our body suspension is super sophisticated, it’s not just reactionary like our bike, but also anticipatory! So if a big bump is coming up we can rise up to a zero sag position so we can better absorb/erase the bump.
Other similar cues to ‘attack position’ are: neutral position, bent elbows, boobs to the bars, chicken wings, stem to sternum, chin over the bars. Have you heard of any others? Please share below!
If you’re a coach please be sure to add more context to these cues, and if you’re hearing this advice from a coach, please keep this tip trap lesson in mind!
RLC is an online mountain bike learning platform established in 2015 by Ryan Leech. Ryan has been a coach and a professional rider for the past 24 years and is currently sponsored by Norco, Shimano and Marzocchi.
Ryan began developing tutorials to share his knowledge and skills with members of his community and quickly began to devote 100% of his time to this platform.
These courses are designed with thoughtful progressions to help every rider assess their current skill, and practice with appropriate progressions. For example, the cornering course contains 49 video lessons and the jumping course contains 76 lessons.
Along with detailed progressions, you also get 24/7 access to a world class coaching team. Ryan’s network of coaches and ambassadors provide detailed and customized feedback to anyone who has a question. If you submit a video, make a comment or send an email, you can expect to get personalized feedback within 24-48 hours.
Over the last 4 years, RLC has helped thousands of riders reach their goals. We’ve received an overwhelming amount of positive feedback from our members and we’ve seen them make some serious progress in their skills.