The way in which you grip your sprint bars is important as it can mean the difference between winning and losing (particularly when races are won and lost by thousandths of seconds).
Incorrect grip position can also leave you in a stalled position in race attacks where you lose fractions of seconds whilst regaining a strong hold before accelerating with race bunches, or handicapping your ability all together in maximising peak forces.
There is a correct way in which you should be gripping your bars and this will make a big difference to your performance, say for instance in time trial events where you need to get out of the gate fast leaving no time for readjusting hand positions before taking off.
The below image highlights the correct grip for a sprint bar setup.
You will notice the following:
- The hand is in a neutral position and the forearm is flush (runs smoothly through the back of the hand).
- The wrist is does not collapse inwards. A collapsing wrist will put pressure on the palm of the hand where the palm makes contact with the bars.
- The wrist does not twist outward. A wrist that twists outward will feel as though there is a slight stretch running from the wrist through to the top of the forearm
Utilising the hand grip position shown above will allow you to pull up directly on the bars when launching out of the starting gate to accelerate. If the hand grip position collapses inward or twists outward, you will be unable to maximise the transfer of force, power and speed.
The same principle applies when you’re riding around the track. If your hand position varies from the correct position, you will lose time in readjusting your hand grip before accelerating, or lose acceleration due to ineffective technique.
The following images show both incorrect hand grips (highlighted in red) and correct grip (highlighted in green). The shaded areas demonstrate where pressure is applied through the various grips.
If you find you ride with either of the incorrect grip positions highlighted above and you find it difficult to maintain a neutral hand grip position we’d recommend revisiting your bike set up, overall body position on the bike, and ensuring you have good core stability.
A neutral hand position highlights that a rider can maintain a strong core and neutral body position whilst maintaining a prominent power line through shoulders, elbows and wrists (see below).
If you have any questions or comments regarding sprint bar grips, please leave them in the box below.