A smooth and graceful rear wheel lift is an essential building block for crisp bunny hops. It doesn’t require any front brake to help influence the lift, nor does it require the aid of clipless pedals.
You’ll need to start tall in order to create the downward movement needed to compress the rear shock and to load your legs for the jump. If you’re on a hardtail, it’s the same theory for your rear tire. Your legs bend down quickly to accomplish this, your arms bend too, just to help with the foot focused loading of weight.
You’ll then start jumping upwards against the pressure of the shock which will compress it further. You’ll then begin rising upwards with the rebound of the shock.
Since we’re not going for lift, there is no need to exaggerate this motion. Just begin to get a sense of the timing for compressing and jumping back up.