The pedaling technique thread

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Apr 21, 2009
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coapman said:
Anquetil had no problem with his frontal position, same position same technique except that mine is a more powerful version and more aerodynamic due to the use of the Scott Rake bars.
Do you have any data to support that. Problem with anecdotes is that maybe Anquetil was good despite the way he rode (Sean Kelly is the prime example of this, always looked awful on the bike).

And of course Scott Rake bars are illegal and out of production for 20 years.

The aerodynamics and power delivery components of your theory can easily be tested with any power meter. I'm surprised you haven't (well not that surprised really) performed any testing.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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FrankDay said:
Ugh, because that is how science is, one study is never adequate to prove anything. In the instance of this study, the authors showed that independent cranks significantly change the pedaling coordination of cyclists who currently use fixed cranks. Their data suggest that there could be a positive effect from the change (IE improved) but they did not look at what it would take to effectively change the coordination for long periods nor whether such changes actually provide any benefit to the rider, hence their statement that "Further studies are needed …"

In the case of Hug study I think it would be interesting to see if the variability they saw after one session tended to converge to an "average" pattern after a longer period training like that, how long it takes to "permanently" change the pattern, and whether, once the pattern is established, if there is an advantage. (It would also be interesting if they repeated this study in the aero position.) That is what needs to be done if one wants to study PowerCranks effectiveness. With the availability of cranks like the Pioneer system this ability will soon be available to almost anyone who wants to take this on at very little cost. Maybe we will see this in my lifetime.


Are the muscles used by a PC'er across the top similar to those used by someone kicking a ball in slow motion. What makes PC'ers at BDC more powerful there than those who have scraped the mud off their shoes for endless years. All the experimenting I did almost 30 years ago confirmed that the more you try to pull up from 7-10 o'c, the more torque you will lose in your down stroke. That's the first question that needs to be answered.
 
Sep 23, 2010
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coapman said:
Are the muscles used by a PC'er across the top similar to those used by someone kicking a ball in slow motion.
I would presume so although I would expect that the PC'er is not using the HF's so much as they are transitioning from pulling up to pushing down coming over the top (at TDC the HF's could be totally relaxed and the foot would stay up because it is supported by the crank) while someone kicking a ball still has to hold that leg up as the foot is supported by nothing. Bringing the foot forward involves the same muscles.
What makes PC'ers at BDC more powerful there than those who have scraped the mud off their shoes for endless years. All the experimenting I did almost 30 years ago confirmed that the more you try to pull up from 7-10 o'c, the more torque you will lose in your down stroke. That's the first question that needs to be answered.
People only lose force on the downstroke during the transition because one side of the equation is not equal to the other so the strong side has to hold back some while the weak side develops. This takes a significant period of time. One doesn't develop underused muscles to be the equivalent of muscles that have been highly trained for 10 years or so in 10-15 sessions. One doesn't undo years and years of ingrained coordination in 10-15 sessions. As Greg Lemond told me once, he spent years developing this technique. My guess is you weren't as motivated as Lemond to keep it up.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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CoachFergie said:
Do you have any data to support that. Problem with anecdotes is that maybe Anquetil was good despite the way he rode (Sean Kelly is the prime example of this, always looked awful on the bike).

And of course Scott Rake bars are illegal and out of production for 20 years.

The aerodynamics and power delivery components of your theory can easily be tested with any power meter. I'm surprised you haven't (well not that surprised really) performed any testing.

Anquetil only excelled in time trials when plenty of uninterrupted high gear high power output could be used and if you could use my technique you would understand why.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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FrankDay said:
People only lose force on the downstroke during the transition because one side of the equation is not equal to the other so the strong side has to hold back some while the weak side develops. This takes a significant period of time. One doesn't develop underused muscles to be the equivalent of muscles that have been highly trained for 10 years or so in 10-15 sessions. One doesn't undo years and years of ingrained coordination in 10-15 sessions. As Greg Lemond told me once, he spent years developing this technique. My guess is you weren't as motivated as Lemond to keep it up.

My explanation is that it's due to split concentration, it takes the same concentration to apply minimal torque at 9 as the maximal that can be applied in the down stroke, resulting in a weaker down stroke and I don't believe years of PC training can change that fact. It takes total concentration to apply maximal force, that's why all my torque application from each leg is applied in 180 degrees.
 
Sep 23, 2010
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coapman said:
My explanation is that it's due to split concentration, it takes the same concentration to apply minimal torque at 9 as the maximal that can be applied in the down stroke, resulting in a weaker down stroke and I don't believe years of PC training can change that fact. It takes total concentration to apply maximal force, that's why all my torque application from each leg is applied in 180 degrees.
The intent of training with PowerCranks is to remove the need to involve any concentration on pedaling technique, to make the new technique ingrained and natural. Then, all the rider need concentrate on is how hard they want to ride and where they are going. The technique takes care of itself. That is what people do now because essentially no one (maybe you do) actually thinks about pedaling technique except for brief and rare instances (if at all) during a race. PowerCranks are just trying to change the underlying technique to something more efficient and powerful.
 
Sep 23, 2010
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Here is another interesting study:

Adjustment of muscle coordination during an all-out sprint cycling task.

Results showed that Sprint induced a very large increase of EMG activity level for the hip flexors (multiplied by 7-9 from 150 W to Sprint) and the knee flexors and hip extensors (multiplied by 5-7), whereas plantar flexors and knee extensors demonstrated a lower increase (multiplied by 2-3).
So, when cyclists want to maximize their power for short periods what do they do? They increase what occurs on the back stroke more than what they do on the down stroke. Where are the "just push harder" people when you need to have a discussion?

Edit: what is interesting to me here is that when sprinting (which usually occurs at the end of the race) cyclists tend to maximize their use of the HF's and other "backstroke" muscles yet, if those muscles are not adequately trained (as is the usual case as demonstrated by Dorel) those muscles are the relatively more fatigued and deficient at the end of the race when they need them to be relatively more available. I am looking forward to hearing the argument that it isn't necessary to train those muscles regardless of which pedaling technique you believe optimum.
 
Apr 21, 2009
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coapman said:
Anquetil only excelled in time trials when plenty of uninterrupted high gear high power output could be used and if you could use my technique you would understand why.
Why would I spend time training in a position I can't use in competition using equipment I can't use in competition. That would be like deluding myself that any gains from uncoupled crank use transfer to performance using coupled cranks when several well performed studies show otherwise.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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FrankDay said:
Here is another interesting study:

Adjustment of muscle coordination during an all-out sprint cycling task.


So, when cyclists want to maximize their power for short periods what do they do? They increase what occurs on the back stroke more than what they do on the down stroke. Where are the "just push harder" people when you need to have a discussion?

Edit: what is interesting to me here is that when sprinting (which usually occurs at the end of the race) cyclists tend to maximize their use of the HF's and other "backstroke" muscles yet, if those muscles are not adequately trained (as is the usual case as demonstrated by Dorel) those muscles are the relatively more fatigued and deficient at the end of the race when they need them to be relatively more available. I am looking forward to hearing the argument that it isn't necessary to train those muscles regardless of which pedaling technique you believe optimum.

Sprinting is completely different to steady riding. When a rider needs to apply more force to his pedal than his own body weight, pulling up can be used. and most muscles should be capable of doing that without any extra training.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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CoachFergie said:
Why would I spend time training in a position I can't use in competition using equipment I can't use in competition. That would be like deluding myself that any gains from uncoupled crank use transfer to performance using coupled cranks when several well performed studies show otherwise.

As I have already said, I am not interested in competition or what stupid bans are in existence, my only objective was to find what all cycling experts claimed did not exist, the perfect pedalling technique.
 
Apr 21, 2009
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coapman said:
As I have already said, I am not interested in competition or what stupid bans are in existence, my only objective was to find what all cycling experts claimed did not exist, the perfect pedalling technique.
Congrats, your pursuit of the trivial has been successful then!
 
Apr 21, 2009
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coapman said:
Yes, I gave up competition when one of the riders in the club tested positive for a PED.
Everyone needs a goal. Not sure why you would chose something so meaningless.
 
Jan 20, 2010
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coapman said:
I don't care what legal or illegal, I had an objective.
That comment puts things in perspective and probably reduces the target market down to a handful of people around the world.

What about the power data?
 
Mar 10, 2009
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Night Rider said:
That comment puts things in perspective and probably reduces the target market down to a handful of people around the world.

What about the power data?

Common sense is all that's required, when you can more than double the sector of tangential force effect between 2 and 4 o'c in each pedalling stroke, it has to be more powerful and more effective in time trials, which explains how Anquetil could produce the extra power whenever it was needed.
 
Apr 21, 2009
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coapman said:
Common sense is all that's required, when you can more than double the sector of tangential force effect between 2 and 4 o'c in each pedalling stroke, it has to be more powerful and more effective in time trials, which explains how Anquetil could produce the extra power whenever it was needed.
How did you measure Anquetil's power?

If it has to be more powerful then you should be able to easily show this with any power meter.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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CoachFergie said:
then you should be able to easily show this with any power meter.
No problem, if I was prepared to waste money on a PM and then learn how to fit and use it.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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CoachFergie said:
Everyone needs a goal. Not sure why you would chose something so meaningless.

That's understandable, because you have not the slightest interest in pedalling technique.
 
Apr 21, 2009
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coapman said:
That's understandable, because you have not the slightest interest in pedalling technique.
Until I see some actual evidence a different pedalling technique improves performance.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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CoachFergie said:
Until I see some actual evidence a different pedalling technique improves performance.

Quoting from 'The Science Of Cycling', "The importance of studying the way the rider applies force to the cycle and the limb movements that accompany this force application will never diminish, regardless of the technical advances that are made in equipment design. At each stage in the search for an ' ultimate bicycle' the contest will always reduce to the successful application of muscular force to the cycle."
 
Apr 21, 2009
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coapman said:
Quoting from 'The Science Of Cycling', "The importance of studying the way the rider applies force to the cycle and the limb movements that accompany this force application will never diminish, regardless of the technical advances that are made in equipment design. At each stage in the search for an ' ultimate bicycle' the contest will always reduce to the successful application of muscular force to the cycle."
Science of Cycling was written in 1988. I brought a copy from US last year for 30 cents.

Funny how you shy away from any sort of measurement of your technique.
 
Sep 23, 2010
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Here is an interesting study that looks at cadence (I assume that most people would consider cadence to be part of pedaling technique, I do). The link gets you the entire study.

http://jssm.org/vol13/n1/16/v13n1-16pdf.pdf

Abstract
We determined if high cadences, during a prolonged cycling
protocol with varying intensities (similar to race situations)
decrease performance compared to cycling at a lower, more
energetically optimal, cadence. Eight healthy, competitive male
road cyclists (35 ± 2 yr) cycled for 180 min at either 80 or 100
rpm (randomized) with varying intensities of power outputs
corresponding to 50, 65 and 80% of VO2max. At the end of this
cycling period, participants completed a ramped exercise test to
exhaustion at their preferred cadence (90 ± 7 rpm). There were
no cadence differences in blood glucose, respiratory exchange
ratio or rate of perceived exertion. Heart Rate, VO2 and blood
lactate were higher at 100 rpm vs. 80 rpm. The total energy cost
while cycling during the 65% and 80% VO2max intervals at 100
rpm (15.2 ± 2.7 and 19.1 ± 2.5 kcal·min-1, respectively) were
higher than at 80 rpm (14.3 ± 2.7 and 18.3± 2.2 kcal·min-1,
respectively) (p < 0.05). Gross efficiency was higher at 80 rpm
vs. 100 rpm during both the 65% (22.8 ± 1.0 vs. 21.3 ± 4.5%)
and the 80% (23.1 vs. 22.1 ± 0.9%) exercise intensities (P<
0.05). Maximal power during the performance test (362 ± 38
watts) was greater at 80 rpm than 100 rpm (327 ± 27 watts) (p <
0.05). Findings suggest that in conditions simulating those seen
during prolonged competitive cycling, higher cadences (i.e., 100
vs. 80 rpm) are less efficient, resulting in greater energy expenditure
and reduced peak power output during maximal performance.
 
Sep 23, 2010
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I am frequently chastised for making my 40% power improvement claim because many think it impossible and I am asked over and over again where this improvement occurs. As I have often said, such a large improvement can only be explained if it occurs almost everywhere around the pedaling circle. Since the power one delivers to the wheel is the average of the instantaneous power around one pedal circle the sum of many small improvements can add up to a lot in the end. Here is an article that discusses such a concept looked at in a different way.
From the article
…They searched for 1 percent improvements in tiny areas that were overlooked by almost everyone else…But as time goes on, these small improvements or declines compound and you suddenly find a very big gap between people who make slightly better decisions on a daily basis and those who don’t.…You probably won’t find yourself in the Tour de France anytime soon, but the concept of aggregating marginal gains can be useful all the same.
The entire pedaling circle is involved in power generation (or loss). Making small improvements around the entire circle can result in larger improvements than making a large improvement in just one aspect, the pushing part. Technique matters. That is my story and I am sticking with it.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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FrankDay said:
I am frequently chastised for making my 40% power improvement claim because many think it impossible and I am asked over and over again where this improvement occurs. As I have often said, such a large improvement can only be explained if it occurs almost everywhere around the pedaling circle. Since the power one delivers to the wheel is the average of the instantaneous power around one pedal circle the sum of many small improvements can add up to a lot in the end. Here is an article that discusses such a concept looked at in a different way.
From the article The entire pedaling circle is involved in power generation (or loss). Making small improvements around the entire circle can result in larger improvements than making a large improvement in just one aspect, the pushing part. Technique matters. That is my story and I am sticking with it.

At a cadence of 90, how do you manage to make 2160 of these marginal power improvements per minute. ( one every 30 deg of pedalling circle)

What makes a high gear TT technique sustainable ?
 

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