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Making MTB Elbow Pads a Riding Habit

Embrace the Trail - Gear Up with MTB Elbow Pads

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Wearing elbow pads while mountain biking protects riders from painful and debilitating injuries. However, many recreational riders resist incorporating this basic protective gear into their regular riding kit. By intentionally making elbow pads part of every ride, mountain bikers can transform the behavior into an automatic habit.

Incorporating Elbow Pads into Training Regimes

Integrating MTB elbow pads into training plans and pre-ride rituals helps mountain bikers turn wearing pads into a default behavior. Commiting to ALWAYS suit up with elbow protection – whether bombing downhill terrain or pedaling mellow singletrack – reinforces the habit.

As skills progress and trails get more aggressive, riders push their limits. Exposure to gnarlier routes increases injury risk from falls and crashes which is what mtb elbow pads are made for. However, consciously choosing to wear pads on every ride – not just “when needed” – makes doing so feel normal. Pretty soon racers reach for their elbow guards automatically without thinking twice.

Coaches should mandate pads at team practices and clinics. Repetition cements healthy habits. When top riders model wearing pads on course previews, newbies take the cue. Seeing peers incorporate basic protection signals it’s the norm, not exception.

Furthermore, building pad-wearing into training programs and skill drills grounds the habit via consistency. As part of regular routines, the behavior becomes familiar and feels natural. Riders stop viewing elbow guards as optional accessories or occasional necessities. The gear morphs into integral riding equipment.

Tips For Beginners Adapting to Protective Gear

Adjusting to elbow pads provokes common complaints from rookie riders. Straps feel tight, coverage seems restrictive, and layers add heat. However, several recommendations help acclimate to guards so wearing them is no big deal:

Choose Lightweight Construction Lightweight, breathable pads add minimal bulk or constraint. Stretchy spandex blends with perforated sleeves allow air flow to regulate temperature. Low profile designs with slim tapered shapes provide flexibility. Once broken-in, fitted pads should go unnoticed while riding. Compare different models to find the lightest, least intrusive option.

Size For Snug But Comfortable Fit Guards sized too small restrict movement while oversized pads shift and slide. Measure arm circumference properly and select correct size range. Straps should fit snugly without pinching or binding. Pads will relax slightly after several wears letting fabric contour optimally to arm shape. Don’t size up too much expecting pads to permanently stretch. Proper fit prevents irritation while supporting protection.

Practice Skills Wearing Pads Acclimate to elbow pads during skills sessions before hitting trails. Repeated motion loosens materials allowing more flexibility. Focus drills also divert attention from gear sensations. Moving intentionally through handling routines redirects notice from pads themselves. Launching directly onto rough terrain can overly highlight pad contact. Get accustomed to feel during lower risk practice to normalize adaptation.

Pair With Other Protective Gear Adding knee pads, padded shorts and lightweight body armor creates uniform coverage. Keeping major joints shielded reduces perceived isolation around a single protected area. New riders often report focused pad sensation because unpadded zones still feel exposed. Expanding protection across more contact points balances physical and psychological adaptation.

Through concerted effort mountain bikers can make wearing elbow pads an unconscious habit instead of optional equipment. Integrating guards into regular training regimens, peer modeling and skill building removes mental barriers. Protecting arms from routine falls eliminates painful hits that can sideline dedicated riders eager to progress. Consistency and commitment allows pads to simply become integral gear that enhances resilience on rugged trails.

Beyond all of that, choosing the right MTB elbow pads will help you to have ones made for your type of riding and style. This will go a long way to helping you wearing them.

About the Author

Tony K

Senior Technical Writer,

Tony K is a technical editor at He has a focus on downhill bike riding but still loves xc bikes too.

With more than ten years of mountain biking experience and more than 5 years testing mountain bikes, Tony has ridden and tested hundreds of different bikes and products, everything from XC to enduro bikes. Tony regularly competes in mountain bike races while seeing how long those compontents can hold up which gives me a lot of insight.

When he isn't shredding down a mountain or camping out, he is writing reviews for Mountain Bike Experience.

Rides: Surly Lowside, Canyon Exceed