The pedaling technique thread

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Jun 4, 2015
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CoachFergie said:
And lets not forget this study, soon to be published in full, that provides excellent data that a cyclist who has been pedaling like he was riding uncoupled cranks for SEVEN years, what some would call immersion training, found that he improved efficiency and lowered metabolic cost by changing to a way of pedaling more like he was riding an uncoupled crankset.

" Unique Equipment

The lab creates all of their own cycling equipment in order to design experiments and control variables optimally.

One such piece of equipment is called an eccentric cycle ergometer – a bicycle whose pedals are driven by a motor as a way to test the cyclist’s lengthening contractions.

The main goal in using this machine is to resist the pedals as efficiently as possible given that the power of the motor is much greater than the cyclist’s leg power.

Martin said the movement measured on this machine is analogous to weight lifting: a person does not get sore as they lift the weight, but rather when a person sets the weight down – known as the eccentric, or lengthening, contraction.

“We have used this machine both as a training model and as a damage model,” Martin said. “You can do this very cautiously and get a tremendous training response. Or you can do it very recklessly and get incredibly sore.”

At the end of a 7-week training period using this machine, lab participants increased their power dramatically, Martin said. "


A dramatic increase in POWER, almost as good as PC's.
 
Jun 18, 2015
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backdoor said:
A dramatic increase in POWER, almost as good as PC's.
Not really sure what your point is Noel. Yes we build our own equipment but we're not in business to sell it. In fact we have a paper in Journal of Applied Biomechanics that lays out exactly how we built that eccentric erg and encourages others to build one for their own lab.
The study referenced in that interview showed an increase of 9% (not 40%) arising from significant increases in muscle thickness. The whole context of the study was that previous investigations with ecc cycling had shown hypertrophy but no change in concentric muscle function. We tested further after the training period to allow time for damage repair and adaptations and found increases. Also, this has nothing at all to do with pedaling technique. It just shows that when you increase muscle size by doing eccentric cycling (like the negative part of weight lifting) you also increase muscle power. No bizarre interpretations required. Abstract below.
By the way, how on earth did you find that interview and what was your purpose? Here is the link to the whole article if others might be interested: http://www.cyclingutah.com/fitness/university-of-utahs-neuromuscular-lab-studies-cycling/
Cheers,
Jim

Int J Sports Med. 2014 Jun;35(7):559-65. doi: 10.1055/s-0033-1358471. Epub 2013 Nov 14.
Chronic eccentric cycling improves quadriceps muscle structure and maximum cycling power.
Leong CH1, McDermott WJ2, Elmer SJ3, Martin JC1.
Abstract
An interesting finding from eccentric exercise training interventions is the presence of muscle hypertrophy without changes in maximum concentric strength and/or power. The lack of improvements in concentric strength and/or power could be due to long lasting suppressive effects on muscle force production following eccentric training. Thus, improvements in concentric strength and/or power might not be detected until muscle tissue has recovered (e. g., several weeks post-training). We evaluated alterations in muscular structure (rectus-femoris, RF, and vastus lateralis, VL, thickness and pennation angles) and maximum concentric cycling power (Pmax) 1-week following 8-weeks of eccentric cycling training (2×/week; 5-10.5 min; 20-55% of Pmax). Pmax was assessed again at 8-weeks post-training. At 1 week post-training, RF and VL thickness increased by 24±4% and 13±2%, respectively, and RF and VL pennation angles increased by 31±4% and 13±1%, respectively (all P<0.05). Compared to pre-training values, Pmax increased by 5±1% and 9±2% at 1 and 8 weeks post-training, respectively (both P<0.05). These results demonstrate that short-duration high-intensity eccentric cycling can be a time-effective intervention for improving muscular structure and function in the lower body of healthy individuals. The larger Pmax increase detected at 8-weeks post-training implies that sufficient recovery might be necessary to fully detect changes in muscular power after eccentric cycling training.
 
Jun 4, 2015
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PhitBoy said:
backdoor said:
A dramatic increase in POWER, almost as good as PC's.
Not really sure what your point is Noel. Yes we build our own equipment but we're not in business to sell it. In fact we have a paper in Journal of Applied Biomechanics that lays out exactly how we built that eccentric erg and encourages others to build one for their own lab.
The study referenced in that interview showed an increase of 9% (not 40%) arising from significant increases in muscle thickness. The whole context of the study was that previous investigations with ecc cycling had shown hypertrophy but no change in concentric muscle function. We tested further after the training period to allow time for damage repair and adaptations and found increases. Also, this has nothing at all to do with pedaling technique. It just shows that when you increase muscle size by doing eccentric cycling (like the negative part of weight lifting) you also increase muscle power. No bizarre interpretations required. Abstract below.
By the way, how on earth did you find that interview and what was your purpose? Here is the link to the whole article if others might be interested: http://www.cyclingutah.com/fitness/university-of-utahs-neuromuscular-lab-studies-cycling/
Cheers,
Jim

Int J Sports Med. 2014 Jun;35(7):559-65. doi: 10.1055/s-0033-1358471. Epub 2013 Nov 14.
Chronic eccentric cycling improves quadriceps muscle structure and maximum cycling power.
Leong CH1, McDermott WJ2, Elmer SJ3, Martin JC1.
Abstract
An interesting finding from eccentric exercise training interventions is the presence of muscle hypertrophy without changes in maximum concentric strength and/or power. The lack of improvements in concentric strength and/or power could be due to long lasting suppressive effects on muscle force production following eccentric training. Thus, improvements in concentric strength and/or power might not be detected until muscle tissue has recovered (e. g., several weeks post-training). We evaluated alterations in muscular structure (rectus-femoris, RF, and vastus lateralis, VL, thickness and pennation angles) and maximum concentric cycling power (Pmax) 1-week following 8-weeks of eccentric cycling training (2×/week; 5-10.5 min; 20-55% of Pmax). Pmax was assessed again at 8-weeks post-training. At 1 week post-training, RF and VL thickness increased by 24±4% and 13±2%, respectively, and RF and VL pennation angles increased by 31±4% and 13±1%, respectively (all P<0.05). Compared to pre-training values, Pmax increased by 5±1% and 9±2% at 1 and 8 weeks post-training, respectively (both P<0.05). These results demonstrate that short-duration high-intensity eccentric cycling can be a time-effective intervention for improving muscular structure and function in the lower body of healthy individuals. The larger Pmax increase detected at 8-weeks post-training implies that sufficient recovery might be necessary to fully detect changes in muscular power after eccentric cycling training.

I do frequent searches in the hope of finding something that will convince CF that it can be beneficial to work on how power is applied to pedals/cranks.
 
Jun 18, 2015
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backdoor said:
I do frequent searches in the hope of finding something that will convince CF that it can be beneficial to work on how power is applied to pedals/cranks.
Ah, if that's the case, then all the evidence points toward doing what comes naturally. Produce large forces during extension (using the large muscles that extend the leg) and relatively small forces during leg flexion. Any attempt to emphasize the pulling action seems to decrease efficiency.
 
Apr 21, 2009
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PhitBoy said:
backdoor said:
I do frequent searches in the hope of finding something that will convince CF that it can be beneficial to work on how power is applied to pedals/cranks.
Ah, if that's the case, then all the evidence points toward doing what comes naturally. Produce large forces during extension (using the large muscles that extend the leg) and relatively small forces during leg flexion. Any attempt to emphasize the pulling action seems to decrease efficiency.
Jim has convinced me with an evidence based statement!

That's what it takes Noel :cool:
 
PhitBoy said:
Ah, if that's the case, then all the evidence points toward doing what comes naturally. Produce large forces during extension (using the large muscles that extend the leg) and relatively small forces during leg flexion. Any attempt to emphasize the pulling action seems to decrease efficiency.
Save ya breath :D ... "Discussing" this with this guy is like arguing with a vegan
 
PhitBoy said:
Ah, if that's the case, then all the evidence points toward doing what comes naturally. Produce large forces during extension (using the large muscles that extend the leg) and relatively small forces during leg flexion. Any attempt to emphasize the pulling action seems to decrease efficiency.
----------------------------
I think much of the debate is whether 'doing what comes naturally' always includes the best amount of small forces during leg flexion.

If the best amount of forces during leg flexion is not being done, how would the typical rider discover that?
And in what situations is it of value to train to achieve it (and how to do the training)?

Jay Kosta
Endwell NY USA
 
Apr 21, 2009
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So little this coach does not devote any time to it compared to planning races. setting daily goals, riding, recovering, nutrition, sleep, knowing rules, bike set up, gear choice, clothing choice, equipment choice, riding skills, racing skills, tactics and management. Those things that actually matter.
 
Jun 4, 2015
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JayKosta said:
I think much of the debate is whether 'doing what comes naturally' always includes the best amount of small forces during leg flexion.

If the best amount of forces during leg flexion is not being done, how would the typical rider discover that?
And in what situations is it of value to train to achieve it (and how to do the training)?

Jay Kosta
Endwell NY USA
[/quote]

No PhitBoy is 100% correct, only the most powerful muscles should be involved in producing crank torque, small forces should not be used because they are only a distraction. Because of its dead spot sector (11-1) which gives a lower gearing effect, the natural mashing style is ideal for road racing,sprinting etc. What PhitBoy is unaware of is a more powerful combination of muscles exists which can apply and bend maximal torque from 12 to 3 o'c, this gives a higher gearing effect and reduces peak torque and stress on the knees, which makes it ideal for applying sustainable power in time trials where uninterrupted constant high gear maximal power can be used.
 
Apr 21, 2009
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Ah yes of course because a guy who's day job is looking at how we apply power to the pedals and has all the tools at his disposal to measure this, and is frequently consulted by high performance cycling teams to improve performance would be unaware of this :rolleyes:
 
Jun 18, 2015
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backdoor said:
a more powerful combination of muscles exists which can apply and bend maximal torque from 12 to 3 o'c
Sigh... for the umpteenth time Noel, I invite you to visit my colleagues at Brunel University in London or at British Cycling in Manchester so you can demonstrate this fantastical technique of yours and the resulting high efficiency.
Regarding your assertion of "powerful combination of muscles" I recommend the paper by Felix Zajac titled Understanding muscle coordination of the human leg with dynamical simulations. Journal of biomechanics, 2002. In it he does a very nice job of laying how various muscles about ankle knee and hip work synergistically to drive pedals. Once you understand what he explains, you (well most people) will understand that there is essentially one way to pedal properly.
Back to my point about "what comes naturally": What I'm really getting at there is that pedaling should not be a cognitively demanding action. At its essence, cycling is an asynchronous bilateral extension/flexion task. As such, it almost certainly relies heavily on extension/flexion synergies which are hard wired in the spinal cord. Same type of thing you use during walking and running gait. All you should really think about is how hard to go and your CNS will dial up the synergy appropriately.
Cheers,
Jim
 
Jun 4, 2015
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PhitBoy said:
[quote="
Back to my point about "what comes naturally": What I'm really getting at there is that pedaling should not be a cognitively demanding action. At its essence, cycling is an asynchronous bilateral extension/flexion task. As such, it almost certainly relies heavily on extension/flexion synergies which are hard wired in the spinal cord. Same type of thing you use during walking and running gait. All you should really think about is how hard to go and your CNS will dial up the synergy appropriately.
Quoting from Hinault's book,
"Contrary to common belief and despite the apparent simplicity of the movements, pedalling must be learned. Everyone has to express himself physically in his own way. You can't copy from anybody else. But your personal style can gain a lot if you go beyond the stage of instinct by thinking about the movement itself and doing specific workouts to improve your natural efficiency. J Anquetil probably provided the best example of this. His pedal stroke was unlike anyone else's and it aroused the admiration of spectators and his peers. You have to realize that Anquetil perfected his style in training, with a concentration that often made him resent the presence of other riders around him. This partly explains his extraordinary domination in time trials. His style was certainly inborn. But he cleaned it up and perfected it, searching for his own best way to put the greatest possible tangential force on the crank. To acquire good technique it's useful to mentally concentrate on the feeling that the body is carried by the saddle and the legs are only used as instruments of propulsion. In this sense the rider has to forget about the motions of walking and create new neuromotor reflexes that will give the needed impulse to his muscles. "
Important words there are " concentration " and " greatest possible tangential force on the crank " .
 
Jun 1, 2014
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backdoor said:
PhitBoy said:
[quote="
Back to my point about "what comes naturally": What I'm really getting at there is that pedaling should not be a cognitively demanding action. At its essence, cycling is an asynchronous bilateral extension/flexion task. As such, it almost certainly relies heavily on extension/flexion synergies which are hard wired in the spinal cord. Same type of thing you use during walking and running gait. All you should really think about is how hard to go and your CNS will dial up the synergy appropriately.
Quoting from Hinault's book,
"Contrary to common belief and despite the apparent simplicity of the movements, pedalling must be learned. Everyone has to express himself physically in his own way. You can't copy from anybody else. But your personal style can gain a lot if you go beyond the stage of instinct by thinking about the movement itself and doing specific workouts to improve your natural efficiency. J Anquetil probably provided the best example of this. His pedal stroke was unlike anyone else's and it aroused the admiration of spectators and his peers. You have to realize that Anquetil perfected his style in training, with a concentration that often made him resent the presence of other riders around him. This partly explains his extraordinary domination in time trials. His style was certainly inborn. But he cleaned it up and perfected it, searching for his own best way to put the greatest possible tangential force on the crank. To acquire good technique it's useful to mentally concentrate on the feeling that the body is carried by the saddle and the legs are only used as instruments of propulsion. In this sense the rider has to forget about the motions of walking and create new neuromotor reflexes that will give the needed impulse to his muscles. "
Important words there are " concentration " and " greatest possible tangential force on the crank " .
This is really easy to test. Jump in a lab and pedal away...see how it goes.

What is Hinaults credentials to present an opinion on the most efficient way to pedal a bike?
 
Jun 1, 2014
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backdoor said:
JamesCun said:
What is Hinaults credentials to present an opinion on the most efficient way to pedal a bike?
" You cannot be serious"
Are you quoting someone with the " "?

And yes, I'm quite serious. What makes you think a cyclist understands the science of pedalling?
 
Apr 21, 2009
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Yes, there is a reason why I have Noel on my blocked list, it is because I can only take so much amusement in one hit.

What would you expect from someone who bases a theory of pedalling based off videos from the 50s and complete ignorance of some really excellent research.
 
Jun 4, 2015
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PhitBoy said:
backdoor said:
a more powerful combination of muscles exists which can apply and bend maximal torque from 12 to 3 o'c
Sigh... for the umpteenth time Noel, I invite you to visit my colleagues at Brunel University in London or at British Cycling in Manchester so you can demonstrate this fantastical technique of yours and the resulting high efficiency.
Regarding your assertion of "powerful combination of muscles" I recommend the paper by Felix Zajac titled Understanding muscle coordination of the human leg with dynamical simulations. Journal of biomechanics, 2002. In it he does a very nice job of laying how various muscles about ankle knee and hip work synergistically to drive pedals. Once you understand what he explains, you (well most people) will understand that there is essentially one way to pedal properly.

Cheers,
Jim
As I said the inconvenience of travelling and valuable time loss. If anyone is seriously interested in understanding what is involved in this technique and experiencing the difference in power application between it and the natural style, it can be done anytime by replicating the power application with the hand/arm. All that's required is a bike on trainer (cateye cyclosimulator best) with a platform pedal fitted to the left side. Then kneeling down on the right knee beside the trainer with knee not too far from rear axle and grasping the left knee with the left hand for resistance and stability purposes, first pedal as if using the natural style with its dead spot sector. Now with the pedal in the 11 o'c position slightly pointing downwards, place palm of right hand on the pedal with rear end of palm hanging well down over rear end of pedal as if replicating the old style cleat, apply maximum forward force from this " cleat" into rear end of pedal and follow through with this power as it merges with the downward force between 2 and 3 o'c, draw back and up the fast moving downward pedal/crank at 5 o'c and apply that forward maximal force application again, starting at 11 o'c. In two legged pedalling there is a simultaneous switch over of power application and that is where concentration is mostly needed.It is as simple as that.
 
Jun 4, 2015
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JamesCun said:
backdoor said:
JamesCun said:
What is Hinaults credentials to present an opinion on the most efficient way to pedal a bike?
" You cannot be serious"
Are you quoting someone with the " "?

And yes, I'm quite serious. What makes you think a cyclist understands the science of pedalling?
Years of experimentation and experience. What complicated science is involved in natural pedalling, you get on your bike and press down on the pedal, even the youngest child can do it.
 
Jun 4, 2015
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Re:

CoachFergie said:
What would you expect from someone who bases a theory of pedalling based off videos from the 50s and complete ignorance of some really excellent research.

Well as you have admitted yourself, you saw nothing in over 500 of those peer reviewed research papers that would make you change your mind on how you apply your power to the pedal. Why would I be any different.
 
Apr 21, 2009
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Yep, lots of research that has tested various hypothesises or estimated the effects of different ways of pedalling or equipment that allegedly enhances the pedalling process that have found nothing. That tells me I am on the right track focusing my efforts as a coach on things that actually matter.
 
Jun 4, 2015
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Re:

CoachFergie said:
Yep, lots of research that has tested various hypothesises or estimated the effects of different ways of pedalling or equipment that allegedly enhances the pedalling process that have found nothing. That tells me I am on the right track focusing my efforts as a coach on things that actually matter.
That's the point, over 120 years of pedalling research and as regards the dead sector, they are no wiser now than when they first started. How could they find anything when all their research was concentrated on variations of the same basic natural style. They were not searching for a completely different method of applying the power. If Anquetil had revealed his pedalling secret when he retired from cycling, think of all the money riders would have saved by not having to buy all that "dead spot eliminating" equipment.
 
Apr 21, 2009
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Every good study tests a hypothesis or estimates an effect compared to the normal style of pedaling. So yes, they have been searching for a better way of applying power, or a more efficient way, and have presented nothing yet that shows there is anything. I say yet, because science is such that when someone presents credible data we must accept it. At present just speculation.
 
Jun 18, 2015
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backdoor said:
Quoting from Hinault's book,
"Contrary to common belief...
Would you expect him to say something like: "I was born with an unbelievably high VO2max. So basically all I had to do was use well established training methods to make minor improvements in VO2max and relatively larger improvements in lactate threshold." ?
I knew a guy in Austin who volunteered to be in a study as one of the active but untrained subjects. He played a little club ultimate frisbee but did not do any endurance training. His VO2max in that state was 80ml/kg. Yes 80! We told him he was gifted and he ended up taking up triathlon. I believe he placed as high as 6th in US Pro Nations before going back to playing ultimate frisbee.
Those guys are out there....
Cheers,
Jim
 
Jun 4, 2015
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PhitBoy said:
backdoor said:
a more powerful combination of muscles exists which can apply and bend maximal torque from 12 to 3 o'c

Regarding your assertion of "powerful combination of muscles" I recommend the paper by Felix Zajac titled Understanding muscle coordination of the human leg with dynamical simulations. Journal of biomechanics, 2002. In it he does a very nice job of laying how various muscles about ankle knee and hip work synergistically to drive pedals. Once you understand what he explains, you (well most people) will understand that there is essentially one way to pedal properly.
I could only get access to the abstract and you are right I don't have the slightest idea of what he is trying to say. What according to him is the one and only proper way to pedal.
 

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