I was scrolling through some social media dirt bike pages the other day when I noticed a strange photo. It was a young man’s arm inside a clear plastic tube, with some type of crazy knurled knob on the end of a bolt that was tightened down to apply pressure to the forearm muscle. “What type of medieval torture device is this?,” I thought, and then I immediately recognized what it was for. Arm pump. It was a new device for the treatment of pain and stiffness due to arm pump! The device is called the 4arm strong device, and it got me thinking.
For as long as men have been riding motorcycles, they have been doing battle against the hated enemy of arm pump. We’ve all experienced the swelling, stiffness, and lack of grip strength that usually occurs within ten minutes or during the first long uphill. You’re helpless against it, and most of us just deal with it and know that it’s going to happen. Usually the best thing to do is stop, flex your hands, and stretch your forearms to get some relief. I’ve been riding for over thirty years, and I’ve heard a bunch of different “cures” for arm pump, from mild to wild. Here are a few of my favorites:
There are many old-timers out on the trails who swear by this one, but I don’t know if I buy it. They claim that having “a few” cocktails the night before a ride will thin out your blood so it flows through your swollen, knotted muscles more easily, which is the main cause of arm pump. You guys feel free to test this one out on your own, but never ride when you’re under the influence.
Okay, I get it. Increased blood flow through your muscles from the magic blue pill. But how do you explain the bulge in your pants when you’re surrounded by dirty, sweaty men? Plus, it’s got to be really uncomfortable. I’d stay away from this one, and save it for the ladies.
The idea here is once again to thin your blood so it flows through your arm muscles more easily, eliminating arm pump. Some guys I ride with crush up a baby aspirin and put it in their hydropack so it works during their ride, or take one in the morning. They claim it works.
This is the stuff those guys at the retirement home use to attract women. It’s a cream that’s great for sore muscles, but it’s got a unique and pungent aroma. Apply a liberal portion to your forearms pre-ride or pre-moto to help your muscles stay relaxed.
Some guys just don’t want to deal with arm pump anymore. In desperation, they turn to medicine to relieve their issues by having surgery! This seems like a drastic and expensive solution to me, but if you don’t mind Frankenstein-like scars on your arms, it’s a great option. Most of the guys who have the surgery swear by it.
Those are some of the goofy arm pump cures I’ve heard through the years, but I want to know what you guys think! Please share your arm pump cures, whether you’ve tried them or not, so we can all learn and maybe have a good chuckle. Also, anyone who has tried the 4arm strong device please share your results and thoughts here.
In the meantime, stretch before, ice after, and stay hydrated to reduce your chances of getting arm pump on your next ride. Good luck!