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For the "pedaling technique doesn't matter crowd"

Moderator: King Boonen

23 Feb 2013 23:52

FrankDay wrote:Yes, you of the "what does efficiency have to do with performance" camp must have loved this:


As you would have loved this comment...

For example, whilst ‘pedalling in circles’ allows pedalling to become mechanically more effective, this technique does not result in short term improvements in gross efficiency.
Hamish Ferguson
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24 Feb 2013 00:11

The Jobson paper does a good job of outlining the varyious mechanisms of how cycling efficiency improves through various means and in the case of strength training points to the lack of a mechanism to why it would increase cycling efficiency.
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24 Feb 2013 00:25

A big question with regards to efficiency is efficient for what?

If testing untrained or poorly trained subjects any form of training is going to lead to an improvement in efficiency. This is why we always have a control group. This is why we aim to use highly trained subjects.

Then type of testing becomes important. If you test a TT rider and Sprinter at the same wattage and at 80rpm it will show the TT rider is more efficient. However test at 120rpm and the Sprinter will be more efficient.

Then when you do get results like Luttrell you repeat the test and you find in Burns, Williams and Sperlich that efficiency did not improve.
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24 Feb 2013 00:45

Regard this quote from Jobson's
'Gross efficiency and cycling performance: a brief review'

"Together, the experimental evidence suggests that the acquisition of new pedalling techniques does not result in significant increases in gross efficiency in the short to medium term. However, more research is needed to thoroughly address long-term adaptations to changes in pedalling technique with respect to cycling efficiency"

The wording is ackward, but I think that 'in the short to medium term' refers to the duration of learning and adapting to the 'new pedalling techniques'. So, it is questionable whether there really was meaningful 'acquisition of new pedalling techniques' and whether the testers' physiology had adapted to the new techniques.

I think it is also worth remembering (if I understand correctly) that with uncoupled cranks it is NOT necessary to apply a particularly large amount of 'positive rotational force' to prevent 'uncoupling' - the 'uncoupling' only occurs if one crank 'falls behind' the other.

This is important because it might be that experienced, well trained, competitive cyclist already apply force in that manner, or can easily adapt to it without having to change their technique or force-application by any significant amount.

My guess is that uncoupled crank training would be most useful for cyclists who regularly experience uncoupling while pedaling, and for experienced cyclists when the duration or intensity of a session causes uncoupling to occur.

Jay Kosta
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24 Feb 2013 01:03

JayKosta wrote:My guess is that uncoupled crank training would be most useful for cyclists who regularly experience uncoupling while pedaling, and for experienced cyclists when the duration or intensity of a session causes uncoupling to occur.

My guess is you are correct. :-) Of course, the duration and intensity of the training must be enough to overcome and correct these deficiencies. That is where the argument is, me thinks.
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24 Feb 2013 16:47

By the way...

I am not a 'true believer' in PowerCranks - I've never tried them, and don't personally know anyone who has.

I DO believe in the value of 'keep your feet moving' to avoid 'negative torque', and perhaps to give some additional 'positive torque' - as long as the effort of producing the additional torque does increase desired performance.

For cyclists who have difficulty 'keeping their feet moving', uncoupled cranks make it obvious and can assist in changing pedaling technique to avoid the uncoupling.

And YES, there are many other factors that are more important to performance than pedaling technique, but correcting a poor pedaling technique can improve performance.

Jay Kosta
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24 Feb 2013 17:39

JayKosta wrote:And YES, there are many other factors that are more important to performance than pedaling technique, but correcting a poor pedaling technique can improve performance.


Can you describe poor pedalling technique? Or give some examples?
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24 Feb 2013 18:02

CoachFergie wrote:Can you describe poor pedalling technique? Or give some examples?

============================

If I tried uncoupling cranks and found that they did 'uncouple' when I attempted to pedal in a TT-style, then I would try to change my technique to avoid the uncoupling.

It would be interesting to test elite competitors to determine whether their style results in frequent uncoupling. If uncoupling was rare or infrequent then perhaps learning that style would benefit those who aspire to better performance.

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24 Feb 2013 18:15

JayKosta wrote:If I tried uncoupling cranks and found that they did 'uncouple' when I attempted to pedal in a TT-style, then I would try to change my technique to avoid the uncoupling.

It would be interesting to test elite competitors to determine whether their style results in frequent uncoupling. If uncoupling was rare or infrequent then perhaps learning that style would benefit those who aspire to better performance.


But we don't race with uncoupled cranks. What pedalling errors are you seeing with coupled cranks that need to be corrected?
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24 Feb 2013 19:45

CoachFergie wrote:But we don't race with uncoupled cranks. What pedalling errors are you seeing with coupled cranks that need to be corrected?
Fergie, of course, unless you are looking for errors (as you don't) you cannot see them. You cannot see what you don't look for. Even if you are looking they are hard to find because the feet seem to move in a relatively smooth circle on coupled cranks regardless of the form. That is the major benefit of uncoupled cranks, to allow the user to see some of these technique errors and to help the rider to correct them whether they choose to race on uncoupled cranks (some do) or on coupled cranks (as most choose). When the ability to actually measure pedal forces becomes widely available then I predict it will soon become obvious that technique matters and the ability to know more about technique than even uncoupled cranks tells you will allow further improvements, I predict. We will see.
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24 Feb 2013 20:44

FrankDay wrote:Fergie, of course, unless you are looking for errors (as you don't) you cannot see them. You cannot see what you don't look for.


Well as a Coach I do prefer to look for ways to improve. But most errors stand out like dogs balls. Was videoing my riders doing gate starts last night and comparing them with standing starts from the Elite riders in the world.

Even if you are looking they are hard to find because the feet seem to move in a relatively smooth circle on coupled cranks regardless of the form.


That is where I look at the well performed studies on pedalling technique and realise it looks smooth because it is.

That is the major benefit of uncoupled cranks, to allow the user to see some of these technique errors and to help the rider to correct them whether they choose to race on uncoupled cranks (some do) or on coupled cranks (as most choose).


What errors? Sounds like uncoupled cranks are a solution to a problem that doesn't exist.

When the ability to actually measure pedal forces becomes widely available then I predict it will soon become obvious that technique matters and the ability to know more about technique than even uncoupled cranks tells you will allow further improvements, I predict. We will see.


This technology has been available for years and has been well researched.
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25 Feb 2013 00:27

A 'easy test' tool might be careful listening to tire noise when riding rollers, or on a trainer.

If the tire noise is a steady constant sound then the power is probably being applied in a fairly constant amount around the full crank rotation.

If the noise 'pulses' in sync with crank rotation, then the power is probably also being applied in pulses - which means periods of strong & less power.

CoachFergie - have you noticed this type of noise differences with your riders? Is there a noise difference between your best riders and others?
Do you think the noise that I mention is useful as any type of indicator?

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25 Feb 2013 00:44

JayKosta wrote:A 'easy test' tool might be careful listening to tire noise when riding rollers, or on a trainer.

If the tire noise is a steady constant sound then the power is probably being applied in a fairly constant amount around the full crank rotation.

If the noise 'pulses' in sync with crank rotation, then the power is probably also being applied in pulses - which means periods of strong & less power.

CoachFergie - have you noticed this type of noise differences with your riders? Is there a noise difference between your best riders and others?
Do you think the noise that I mention is useful as any type of indicator?


With a wind trainer it may be hard to tell whether it is how a rider pedals or if it is to do with the tyre - roller interface.

However it was something that is very clear using a BT-ATS ergometer. I was doing a set up and noticed the fan noise increased as the rider pedalled on the left side. I asked if the rider had any injuries and he said he had previously torn his right Achilles.

Not so much on the LeMond Revolution which has a smaller (although noisier) fan.

As a coach I'm not so concerned about the noise the trainer makes more the power the rider can generate compared to the power they will need (specifically power to weight or power to frontal area) to contribute to the psychological, technical and tactical matters that make up a cycling performance.
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25 Feb 2013 14:07

CoachFergie wrote:...
I was doing a set up and noticed the fan noise increased as the rider pedalled on the left side. I asked if the rider had any injuries and he said he had previously torn his right Achilles.
...

----------------------------------------

Did you mention this to the rider as a 'problem' that needed correction?
Did the riders' right leg strength increase to be in better balance with the left with 'usual training', or was any special right leg training done (what type)?

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25 Feb 2013 16:55

JayKosta wrote:Did you mention this to the rider as a 'problem' that needed correction?
Did the riders' right leg strength increase to be in better balance with the left with 'usual training', or was any special right leg training done (what type)?


Wasn't a rider I coach but I refereed him to a good physiotherapist.

Similar deal with one rider I did coach and the physio used a counterweight on the opposite pedal so he could do some single leg pedalling to get the balance back between the legs.
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25 Feb 2013 19:10

CoachFergie wrote:Wasn't a rider I coach but I refereed him to a good physiotherapist.

Similar deal with one rider I did coach and the physio used a counterweight on the opposite pedal so he could do some single leg pedalling to get the balance back between the legs.
A few questions:

1. How long and how many sesions did it take for the rider to return to complete balance?

2. Did the rider return to complete balance? If you think so, how do you know?

3. How much did this intervention cost either the rider or the system? (In the US such an intervention would have cost A LOT.)
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25 Feb 2013 19:37

FrankDay wrote:A few questions:

1. How long and how many sesions did it take for the rider to return to complete balance?


He did 2-3 sessions a week and was back racing at his current level within 4 weeks.

2. Did the rider return to complete balance? If you think so, how do you know?


The physio has a wattbike at the gym he operates from and we measured from that. His return to a current standard was measured via an SRM.

3. How much did this intervention cost either the rider or the system? (In the US such an intervention would have cost A LOT.)


Very little, we had a local engineer whip up a couple of axles that we could hang a counter weight from. In NZ we have ACC which is essentially a Government accident insurance scheme that covers treatment. Outside of that he was a carded athlete within High Performance Sport NZ and rides for a team that would have covered any costs.

Only real cost was time. But if he was worried about that he shouldn't have crashed in the first place.
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25 Feb 2013 20:11

CoachFergie wrote:He did 2-3 sessions a week and was back racing at his current level within 4 weeks.
Racing at his current level (whatever that means) is not evidence of a return to being balanced. So, 8-12 sessions, over 4 weeks, was sufficient to return a severely weakened leg to the equivalent of the uninjured one? Very impressive. Not quite my experience.



The physio has a wattbike at the gym he operates from and we measured from that. His return to a current standard was measured via an SRM.
You diagnosed his condition from simply listening to him on rollers and not from a wattbike or SRM. Why didn't his SRM pick up this imbalance before?



Very little, we had a local engineer whip up a couple of axles that we could hang a counter weight from. In NZ we have ACC which is essentially a Government accident insurance scheme that covers treatment. Outside of that he was a carded athlete within High Performance Sport NZ and rides for a team that would have covered any costs.

Only real cost was time. But if he was worried about that he shouldn't have crashed in the first place.
I asked about the cost to the system. The fact there was little out of pocket cost to the athlete is immaterial. Someone paid for this. So, you had a local engineer "whip up a couple of axles" that you could hang a counter weight from? And, then the cost of the physio paid for by someone else. And, we don't even have any evidence presented he was returned to full balance despite substantial cost. In the US that treatment would have cost someone at least a couple of grand plus the $200 or so to make those special axles that may never get used again (they will probably be lost if they ever want to use them again).

Anyhow, you went to all this trouble when it would have been much easier and probably a lot less costly to simply put him on a pair of uncoupled cranks for a few weeks (where the other leg acts as that counter weight). But, we know there is no evidence that uncoupled cranks work for anything so you simply could not have brought yourself to do that. I understand.
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25 Feb 2013 20:41

FrankDay wrote:Racing at his current level (whatever that means) is not evidence of a return to being balanced.


I didn't say it was.

So, 8-12 sessions, over 4 weeks, was sufficient to return a severely weakened leg to the equivalent of the uninjured one?


I never said what level of injury we were dealing with, or even what type of injury for that matter.

You diagnosed his condition from simply listening to him on rollers and not from a wattbike or SRM.


I am not in the business of making diagnoses as I am not a Doctor or Physiotherapist. In this case the Physio made the assessment that there was a imbalance and it was his prescription of single leg pedalling with a counterweight.

The other case was a chap I was doing a set up on and could hear from the erg and when I asked he said he had torn his Achilles previously. I referred him to a Physiotherapist.

Why didn't his SRM pick up this imbalance before?


That isn't what an SRM measures

I asked about the cost to the system. The fact there was little out of pocket cost to the athlete is immaterial. Someone paid for this. So, you had a local engineer "whip up a couple of axles" that you could hang a counter weight from? And, then the cost of the physio paid for by someone else. And, we don't even have any evidence presented he was returned to full balance despite substantial cost.


What substantial cost are you talking about?

In the US that treatment would have cost someone at least a couple of grand plus the $200 or so to make those special axles that may never get used again (they will probably be lost if they ever want to use them again).


If I told my physio that he would be on the next plane to the US.

Not very special at all, very easy to make and I'm sure the physio will use them regularly.

Anyhow, you went to all this trouble


Ummmmmm, not a lot of trouble at all.

when it would have been much easier and probably a lot less costly to simply put him on a pair of uncoupled cranks for a few weeks (where the other leg acts as that counter weight).


That would be far more expensive than what we did.

But, we know there is no evidence that uncoupled cranks work for anything so you simply could not have brought yourself to do that. I understand.


That's good to hear you are accepting the wealth of evidence that shows that uncoupled cranks do not improve cycling performance.
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26 Feb 2013 03:09

There is now a new thread for pedaling technique. AND, there is a thread for uncoupled cranks - eg Powercranks.

I am closing this thread as hopelessly off-topic. It went off-topic a long time ago. Now we have a thread where discussion of Powercranks or uncoupled cranks may be continued, for all who desire to continue that conversation.

And, we have a thread for general discussion of pedaling technique, where specifically focusing on the small subtopic of uncoupled cranks will be regarded as off-topic.

This thread is now closed.
It is of great use to the sailor to know the length of his line, though he cannot with it fathom all the depths of the ocean. ~ John Locke
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