Get more out of your cycling by creating a more efficient pedal stroke.
You’ve spent a lot of money on your bike and invested countless hours in all weathers to get fitter and faster on your bike, but if your pedal technique is inefficient, then you are expending a lot more energy and effort than you need to.
Swimmers spend a lot of time in the pool, not just improving their fitness, but also honing their technique. Combined, technique and fitness will contribute to a better and more efficient swimmer. It is something that cyclists can learn from; we invariably spend a lot of time “putting in the miles” to become stronger and faster, but rarely focus on our technique.
The French term, “souplesse”, is often used to refer to someone who has a supple and flowing pedal cadence. A smooth pedal stroke like this can make the rider look like they are riding effortlessly, whereas a rider that is mashing at the pedals, not only looks like they are making hard work of it, they are also expending a lot of extra effort for very little return.
There are 4 key points that you need to focus on when improving your pedal technique:
- Cadence – The faster you can pedal in an easier gear, then the further you go for less energy expenditure.
- Engage Your Glutes – Your glutes are huge powerful muscles, but riders often just rely on their quads to keep their momentum going. Get your position right on the bike. Get you saddle height right, ensure the fore and aft position is correct and get your body position right for the terrain you are riding.
- Pedal in a circle – It sounds obvious, but most riders have dead spots in their pedal stroke because they only engage with the pedal at the top of the pedal stroke. ushing the pedal over will pay massive dividends. This can only be achieved by engaging your glutes
- Relax – All of the points above can cause a rider to tense up and hunch their shoulders. This can lead to aches and pains and will prevent you from maintaining a smooth and high cadence.
Just like a swimmer, a cyclist needs to practice on each of these aspects to improve their technique. It is not just a case of thinking, “Right, I know what I need to do, now let’s go and do it”. Each technique needs to be practiced over and over again with a conscious and reflective learning style. Only when you have mastered each technique can you pull them all together and master an efficient pedal technique.
For more information on pedal technique or any other aspect of skills or performance coaching, get in touch with us, or join us on one of our coaching weekends.