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Lock yourself into your bike for ultimate control

And now here’s the punch line:

When you constantly row/anti-row, you’re not just balanced on the bike — you’re locked within it! You’re locked between your hands and feet, which are always pulling toward each other or pushing away from each other.

During a row you’re pulling up/back with your hands while you’re pushin down/forward with your feet.

The rowing lock is circular: pulling your hands toward your torso, pushing your feet away from your torso, pushing the bottom bracket away from you and pulling the handlebars toward you.

Imagine putting your palms on the outside of a bowl, pressing them toward each other and picking up the bowl.

During an anti-row, you’re pushing down/forward with your hands while you’re pulling up/back with your feet. These forces are much smaller than row forces, but they are critical.

The anti-rowing lock is also circular, but in the opposite direction as the row.

Imagine putting your palms on the inside of a bowl, pressing them outward and picking up the bowl.

The more aggressively you row/anti-row, and the more seamlessly you transition between push and pull, the more powerfully you’re locked in.

In this video, Dee Tidwell from Enduro MTB Training tests the RipRow™ at its hardest setting. Because he’s generating close to 200 pounds at the bar, he has to drive his torso and brace hard between his hands and feet. Watch his heels drop when he rows and raise when he anti-rows. The movements are more subtle on the bike, but great riders are creating the same stability in order to manage big forces. 

In this video I try to explain this concept to a student. Turn up the sound. I’m a bit awkward in front of the camera, but I hope the point is made.

The more you commit to a section of trail, the smoother it feels.  And the more tentative you are the less controlled it feels? When a skilled rider fully commits to a trail, she also commits to a powerful row/anti-row cycle.

Row/anti-row is obvious in Aaron Gwin’s riding style. Check out this World Cup downhill win … and and watch how he anti-rows over the rises.

Gwin is one of the best mountain bikers in the world, and do you know what’s really cool? He’s not performing magic. His bike is dialed, his positions are perfect and he consistently rows and anti-rows through the technical sections.

And you can learn to do the same thing!

Your mission, should you choose to accept it:

  • Set up your bike for your body.
  • Dial in your riding positions. From low hinge to full upright, and everywhere in between.
  • Become a row/anti-row master. Pump tracks are a great place to practice. The RipRow™ is even more effective. I’ll post on this site when we’re ready to take orders.
  • Take the constant cycle — and engagement — on your rides.

One more thing: Heavy feet, light hands!


What do you think? How’s it going? Please post in the comment field below or on our Facebook group.

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2 replies
  1. orgrom
    orgrom says:


    I was wondering how the manual fits into the principle of rowing and anti-rowing. Is the front wheel lifted with an anti-row, when performing the manual?

    Or is it a different movement altogether? I have previously been taught to push your hips way back to the point where you are hanging of the rear end. Is this wrong? Or is this an exception where your weight is not centred above the bottom bracket?


  2. Lee McCormack
    Lee McCormack says:


    Thanks for reaching out.

    I consider that an exception.

    I no longer practice or teach the old fashioned lean-back manual. I think (for most riders) it teaches a potentially dangerous habit (leaning back in bumps), and it’s not a movement pattern that helps in other ways.

    I believe we should practice the smallest number of skills that accomplish the most goals. Row/anti-row (aka rip/row) works great. I pump-manual all the time, but I only lean back when I’m afraid or making a mistake.

    I hope that helps!



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