Mechanical bulls may not be as popular as they once were, but that doesn’t make them obsolete. Many bars, clubs, and even unexpected events have mechanical bull riding available for brave attendees.
Does it look scary? While it can be difficult, it’s far easier than trying to ride a real bull (and not to mention far less cruel).
We want to help you feel confident when you get in the saddle. Keep reading to learn all about mechanical bull riding, how to start, and how to impress all of your friends.
Learn to Fall
This might seem silly, but our first piece of advice is to make sure that you know how to fall. This is almost more important than learning how to ride in the first place.
We know what you’re thinking: “But I don’t want to fall!”
While the goal of the game is to stay on the bull, you are going to fall. Falling is an inevitable part of mechanical bull riding, and if you don’t know how to do it right, you can hurt yourself.
You always want to protect your head, neck, and back (with the neck being the most important here). One of the benefits of a mechanical bull over a real bull is that you don’t have to worry about any rogue legs. With that in mind, try to fall away from the machine to avoid injury.
Improve Your Grip Strength
One of the most important things, when you’re riding the mechanical bull, is your grip.
While some venues are relaxed when it comes to non-competitive bull riding, others require that you only have your dominant hand on the bull. It can rest on a rope handle or on a leather (or pleather) handle or strap.
You want to have an underhand grip rather than an overhand grip, and it can be helpful to have a pair of gloves to avoid any cuts or callouses.
For your own personal safety, you don’t want to wind your wrist into the strap. While you may think that it gives you more security, it actually increases your risk of injury.
There are several ways that you can improve your grip strength to make this easier. It’s best to try strength training. When you do curls with heavy dumbbells, your hands have to work hard to grip the equipment.
You could also try hanging from bars or jungle gyms.
You also want to improve your thigh grip. When the bull is moving, your thighs are more helpful than your hand. The hand will stabilize you, but the large muscles in your legs will keep you from falling.
Do leg exercises like squats, lunges, and deadlifts. Make sure to stretch out your hips, hamstrings, and PSOAS muscles.
Dress for Success
On TV, you’ll notice people riding bulls in bathing suits, dresses, and other clothing that isn’t exactly situation-appropriate. On an easy bull ride or a ride by someone who’s experienced, this might not be an issue. If you want to get good, though, you need to dress right.
You want to wear something that will cover your legs and still provide a bit of friction. Jeans are best for this. While bare legs will help you stick better, they’ll also rub against the bull which can cut them up or give them friction burns.
Make sure that your chest is covered to avoid any awkward wardrobe malfunctions.
Balance Is Key
When you’re riding the bull, you’ll be sitting up straight near the front of the saddle. Your hands will be only a few inches (if that) in front of your body.
Your non-dominant hand can provide a counterbalance. You can hold it out with a bend to try to steady yourself. Even with the counterbalance, though, your goal is to stay as upright as possible without help.
Do you know what the key to balance is? It’s a strong core. This means that exercising your core often may help with your bull riding.
Do weighted core exercises to help improve your abs and back. When you tighten your muscles while you’re riding, you’ll discover that you’re able to balance more easily.
If weighted exercises are out of your league, start with bodyweight core exercises. You can even try yoga or pilates to give yourself a good foundation.
Practice Makes Perfect
You won’t get better at anything without practicing often. This means that you’ll be going on bar crawls and riding the mechanical bull whenever it’s available.
If you want to host a party with your own mechanical bull so you can practice amongst friends, consider renting one. There are several mechanical bull rentals available. Check them out!
You’re going to fall a lot while you’re practicing. You may have days where, no matter what you do, the bull beats you every time. Keep trying and you’ll improve your skills in no time.
Don’t Freak Out
This is the hardest part of riding a mechanical bull when you’re first getting started. Don’t panic!
The longer that you’re on the bull, the faster it’s going to go. The goal is to send you flying. When the ride gets more difficult, try to maintain your composure.
You need to stabilize your core, keep gripping, and keep your head in the game. Don’t look at anything around you or you risk losing your balance or getting dizzy.
Mechanical Bull Riding: Fun and Thrilling
Go to your local cowboy-style bars and get in the saddle. Mechanical bull riding is a fun game, and you’ll be proud every time you beat your personal best score.
If you have a knack for it, why not join a mechanical bull riding tournament? Get a trophy and show off your skills!
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