BRC Articles


Start Today | Learn More

Controlling Your Free Arm

We got a question from a rider who has a tendency to move his free arm too much when he rides. He wanted to know how to control his free arm.

You must understand that everything about riding bulls is about forming the RIGHT habits. Every movement you make while riding is the result of muscle memory. By training your mind and body, you can change your positioning and style. If you realize that there is something that you are doing that is not the most efficient (like moving your free arm too much), you can fix it!

My style of riding changed quite a bit over the course of my career. When I first started riding, I would lean really far forward for most of the ride. I eventually learned that I didn’t need to lean forward that much, so I began to focus on having the right form by performing the movements repetitiously over a long period of time. I would always be doing the “bull rider dance.” The bull rider dance is what I call it when you mime a ride; you make the motions of riding, but you aren’t sitting on anything. Be careful where you do this, because doing it in the wrong place could get you arrested! The point is that you should always be working on your form and mechanics for riding bulls.

By doing movements (right or wrong) over and over again, you will start to develop muscle memory and change your style of riding. In other words, you will form new habits. Most beginner riders move their free arm too much because they haven’t formed riding habits yet and their brain is trying to keep up with everything that is going on in an 8 second ride. If you have been riding bulls for very long and you still have the problem of moving your free arm too much, then you have formed that habit and need to fix it.

Most people focus too much attention on the free arm because they think that it is the most important part of riding bulls, so when they are riding the bull they move their arm too much thinking that it’s helping them ride. Truthfully, your free arm is the least important part of riding. If you watch the pros, you see that most of the time their free arms don’t move much. Most of the movement is in the hips and shoulders. Focus more of your attention these parts and keep your free arm as still as possible until you need to move it.

Don’t settle for good enough. Keep working on your form and positioning until you are riding 100% of your bulls. It’s up to you how much you want to improve in your riding.

God bless,

Wiley Petersen