So, I'm a mountain biker, and recently, I've started doing bigger jumps on trails (5-12 ft). I ride a Trek Marlin 7 (hardtail) and I upgraded to Deity Deftrap pedals. Sometimes after landing a big jump or anything like that, my foot can slip off and the pedal pins give me a nasty cut on my shins, or bend my ankles weird and it feels kind of like AAI. So my question is where should I place my feet on the pedals when I'm doing jumps?

Edit: My shoes are Vans Sk8-Hi Classic's

  • 1
    Try to press into the lip harder. You need to counteract the “kick” it gives you, lest you and your feet by extension get ejected off the bike. Usually this lack of control aka “dead sailor” is caused by this. As for foot position, try moving the pedal backwards.
    – MaplePanda
    Commented Apr 20, 2021 at 3:41
  • @MaplePanda What do you mean by "press into the lip harder"? Is the lip a part of the jump or drop or something on the bike?
    – Jeff
    Commented Apr 21, 2021 at 2:30
  • @Jeff Just the takeoff in general. The upwards sloped, often curved part of the jump that you launch from. If you don’t press down into it, it will launch you and the bike in an uncontrollable manner.
    – MaplePanda
    Commented Apr 21, 2021 at 3:40

1 Answer 1


As for foot placement, it's no different for jumping than it is for any other riding. You want the ball of your foot over the spindle of the pedal, maybe slightly forward (5 millimeters or so) for flats. Feet straight, or even just a tiny tiny bit toes in, or heels out, to keep your knees and hips aligned and working correctly.

Slipping a pedal on a jump is all about technique in how you load the bike during as you push into the face of the jump and how you unload as you leave the lip, and what your heels are doing during each part of that action.

Heels down as you press into the jump, toes down as you take off. But here's the hitch: You don't want to lift or huck the bike into the air. You want you and your bike to travel the arc of the jump together, and you need to be loose and relaxed, with your hips over your bottom-bracket, not way back over the rear hub. When you pull and force the bike up into the air, you tighten your body and it no longer is working with the bike. When you're tight, the bike is in control, but it's in bad control. When you're tight, the bike will kick and this is where your feet separate from the pedals.

You can always feel that tightness in your elbows and shoulders. When your elbows are bent and all is relaxed, you can feel control, and that applies to everything you do on the bike.

Rich Drew is one of the best coaches in the game and has several excellent videos explaining the process. Tim MacCormack is another great coach with videos out there. Check those out and go back to basics and start small again.

  • I recommend going farther back than ball of foot over spindle. Has little to no downside and drastically reduces the load on your calves.
    – MaplePanda
    Commented Apr 20, 2021 at 17:19
  • @MaplePanda I agree there is room to vary foot position fore and aft on flats with the larger direct contact area. But to clarify, did you mean you'd recommend going further forward with the foot? Which is also the spindle going further back? As I'm picturing what you're saying, the foot further back is going to add more work for the calves, like standing more on the toes. Commented Apr 20, 2021 at 17:33
  • Wrt 'heels out': I think that depends on one's knees/legs as well. I never ride with feet straight, let alone heels out, but the opposite: heels a bit in. Likely because when I just stand upright my toes also point outwards a bit. Whenever I put my feet straight it feels very unnatural.
    – stijn
    Commented Apr 20, 2021 at 18:04
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    I've yet to hear a convincing reason why the ball of the foot should be over the spindle, there doesn't seem to be a biomechanical reason for it, and have also found it reduces calf load when riding, it reduced RPE in my legs when I moved my cleats backwards. I'm not a sprinter though.
    – Wilskt
    Commented Apr 20, 2021 at 18:15
  • @Jim_G_Phoenix Pedal spindle back in the direction of the heel. More of a mid-foot position.
    – MaplePanda
    Commented Apr 20, 2021 at 19:59

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