How to Jump a MTB

This is a thread meant for discussing various techniques and/or bike setup for jumping bikes, most likely MTB. I will try to grab a few references (like videos) to cover the initial aspects.


Thanks Chad, great work.

Should we just have a MTB skills thread to keep everything together or easier to search this way?

With regards your point on the other topic, I think you could be dead right, I noticed I kept yanking the bike off to the right which made me think I was trying too hard.

  • I wondered about that. There was a “cornering” thread already.
  • So I started this one but I am totally open to whatever makes sense. We can tweak the thread title and first post to match whatever people want to see.
  • I figured we can handle your Jumping issue and go from there.
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  • OK, makes sense. It might help to watch the videos (which I didn’t do yet. I grabbed a few quickly populate a bit, but I suspect the sources are reliable) and see what they say.

  • But I wonder if you need to work on the “second half” of a bunny hop style jump, where you focus on moving/rotating the bars forward, while at the same time lifting feet and tucking legs. The goal to increase overall height, but also get your body re-centered after the initial up/back launch.


I know it’s a Facebook link, sorry about that, I can’t find it on YouTube.

This is my local XC trail network and where the Nationals are. The rock garden at 3.53 is the approach to the jump, there’s footage of the jump at 4.16


You should barely be yanking at all to clear most MTB jumps. A typical tabletop in a bike park or MTB trail jump line only requires a little bit of well-timed leg finesse.

Some riders who can really boost the jumps to get elevation will pull pretty hard, but that’s entirely different can of worms.

So am I looking to “row” the bike? i.e. let the bike rise as high as possible without moving my weight?

No, because a row in the context of MTB suggests stiff legs and moving your arms.

Legs should be supple and you’re pumping the transition with your lower body. Arms are just there to direct the attitude/angle of the bike.

LOVE THIS. Thanks, @mcneese.chad!!!

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Cool, I got a quick view and want to watch again. I might have an idea or two for you to try.

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That would be awesome thanks!

I’ve also just asked on the FB page for a YouTube version for easier sharing.

I can jump but not with great height or style so I am am still learning. Kyle and co have a good explanation but you do need to learn how to bunny hop first.


Based on a look with lots of stop/start/stop pauses:

  1. Entry speed is important, so getting a clean run out of that prior rock garden is something to focus on. If you feel slow coming out of that, it will likely throw off your approach and launch off the jump face.

  2. This looks like a nice “pump and pop” type of jump.

    • You want to get a good preload compression by dropping your body down (compress arms and legs a bit) on the way into and through the little dip, right before the actual jump ramp. The lady in the white and pink nails this perfect if you watch and re-watch. This is the “pump” part.

    • Then as you roll into the jump face, you “pop” by unloading your legs and arms in sync, on the face of the jump, before the front tire clears the lip. Importantly, you want this (and the pump before) to be centered over the bb, with no real shift forward or backward. Feet and hands working essentially in time together, not one before the other, or more than the other.

    • With the right entry speed, this is about carrying your rolling momentum forward, but emphasizing the “up” part with the pump & pop.

    • As you float the middle, a slight shift forward with your upper body may be beneficial, in effort to aim for the down slope of the landing. This largely comes from the first half of being centered and a general momentum, but since you have a history of being rear heavy, a conscious effort to move forward a bit might help.

I am far from a great coach for riding, so this might not make sense or be the best way to describe, but hopefully it helps.


Excellent thanks!

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Thanks Jase. Saved :+1:

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I nailed it :+1:. Exactly as you described with the pop using the dip. Still not a natural jumper and had a few awkward attempts too. Felt good the first time though!

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Hell yes!!! :smiley: That is so awesome to hear!!!

Congrats :crown:

You might find this channel useful for all mtb and bike handling skills. Friend of the TR podcast Lee McCormack does a lot of the explanations so they make sense and are often explained in a different way to the standard approach.

For what it’s worth, with my clients I try to bring everything back to staying relaxed as possible. Most riders should never be ‘yanking’ on the bars or fighting the bike. That brings tension, which generally results in hugging a tree (not in a good way)!


Good link. The Kyle and Amber series of skills videos are very well done.

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I took an MTB skills class with Ian Massey ( here in the SF Bay Area a few months ago. Learning how to told tension with my posterior chain on the bike made a tremendous difference in all aspects of my riding.
I can’t do the lesson any sort of justice but I’ll try to relay the most important part:

Both heels down, chest up, tuck your tailbone, pull against the handle bars with your shoulders packed (not reaching forward) and bending at the waist, make sure your hips are open (think trying to spread the pedals apart. You should feel this in your glutes). Once you get this right you’ll feel your glutes and hamstrings supporting your weight.
From here, practice, practice, practice. This position/ tension made popping the front up for manuals soooo much easier.
I honestly think a lot of pro’s and coaches are trying to convey the same message in different ways. Most of what I have seen and read makes more sense to me after taking that class.

I am still trying to perfect jumping with it but I can tell you that when I get it just right it feels smooth and controlled. I am nailing it about 85% of the time now, and have even started trying tricks like table tops and One-Handers, which I recently learned is also called a “Hi Mom” haha.