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Row and anti-row everywhere you go

As you learn throughout this site, the most important movement pattern for MTB, BMX and MX is the row/antirow cycle.

When you row, your hands and hips drive toward each other. Your feet push forward while your hands pull backward.

Every time your bike trends upward — through a trough, up a ledge, launching a hop —  the bars come toward you, and you should row.

Riding up a ledge uses a big row. Watch how the hips and hands drive toward each other. 

When you anti-row, your hips and hands drive away from each other. Your hips pull backward while your hands push forward.

Every time your trends downward — over a crest, down a ledge or landing a hop —  the bars go away from you, and you should anti-row.

Rolling off a ledge uses an anti-row. Watch how the hands push away from the hips.

Jumping is the simplest (and sweetest) expression of row/anti-row. In this video watch the row/anti-row cycle. 

Watch this wheelie drop. Do you see the row off the edge and the anti-row in the air?


As you’ve already seen, there are numerous styles of row/anti-row. Here are the basic types:

The “ShredLift” creates maximum power. In this type of row, your arms stay straight. When you drive your hips up and forward, your rock-hard torso levers your shoulders up and back, and that pulls your bars backward.

The row phase of the ShredLift is the key to creating max torque for technical climbs, gate starts, wheelie drops, big hops and most other power moves. The anti-row is critical for riding down steep slopes (and loading the row).

Straight row on a RipRow™ prototype. This is very much like a deadlift, but for shredding … a ShredLift! 

I like this guy! See how his position changes with the slope? When you ride Slickrock Trail in Moab, UT you do this all day long. 

The “LowRow” helps you ride downhill. When you have speed, you need more control than power. When you’re in a deep hinge you have maximum arm range for braking, cornering and bumps, and you can manage angles very quickly. That’s why the classic attack position works so well for descending. If you’re going to pick any one position for downhills, this is the one.

Hinged row on a RipRow™. Your hips stay locked in space while your upper body manages ups, downs and turns.

The fully  integrated “RipRow” enables true ripping. This challenging skill combines elements from the ShredLift and LowRow. You use hip drive to pull the bars backward, then you quickly hinge and push the bars forward. This pattern is the key to high-level technical climbing, pumping, pump-manualing, hopping, jumping and — ultimately — cornering.

When a skilled rider pumps through rollers, rocks and other big bumps, this is what the cycle looks like. Constant row or anti-row, driven by the hips and integrated from hands to feet. Notice how fast I drop my torso as I begin the anti-row. This gets my shoulder behind the bars so I can push them away.

Great riders are in a state of constant row/anti-row. The movements might be tiny, or there might be more arm than leg movement, or it might be happening sideways in a turn, but the pattern is always running.

One of the greatest, Aaron Gwin, wins a World Cup downhill without a chain. His race run was full of rows and anti-rows, but there’s a very nice one at 0:37. Check it out:

When you carry this constant full-body engagement and rhythm down a trail, it’s easy to match your rows and anti-rows, your heavy and light moments, to the terrain. If you focus on this skill, it doesn’t take long for your body to do it subconsciously. Awesome, right?

Next: Lock yourself into your bike for ultimate control 

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