The pedaling technique thread

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The crux of the blog is that technique does matter, and that there are several suggested exercises to strengthen and train the muscles that (I assume) need to be employed when doing the technique that the author envisions.
For me, the info that would be most helpful is know how those suggested exercises relate to how power can be applied to the pedals.
For example, do those exercises train the muscles for:
1) push down at 3 o'clock
2) pull back at 6
3) pull up at 9 (or 'recoil' per the author)
4) push forward at 12

Jay Kosta
Endwell NY USA
 
Jun 18, 2015
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Brilliant... except for the studies showing that doing so increases metabolic cost / decreases efficiency. But then again its probably hard for a coach / guru / "applied biomechanist" (the author's own claim) to get paid to tell clients to go with their natural pedal stroke.

JayKosta said:
T
1) push down at 3 o'clock
2) pull back at 6
3) pull up at 9 (or 'recoil' per the author)
4) push forward at 12
 
Apr 21, 2009
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Yup technique matters because an "expert" says so and no evidence is presented than "I watched this champion" so I must be right. That sounds familiar.

Brilliant indeed!
 
Jun 18, 2015
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I reflected on this on my bike ride and decided that a real guru who is in it for the long haul might take a different approach. Might explain to the client that:
1. You will hear a lot of stuff about pedaling technique (e.g. push down at 3 o'clock, pull back at 6, pull up at 9, push forward at 12).
2. There is no science to support this. In fact, all scientific reports that measured biomechanics and metabolism show that mainly pushing down, as comes naturally, is the most efficient.
3. This likely reflects the fact that humans have been optimized for walking and running, which involves large downward forces and smaller upward forces. Thus it makes sense that your pedaling should take advantage of this optimization and make use of spinal cord level motor patterns.
This conversation would only take a few minutes. Such a guru might loose a few nimrods who buy into cultural nonsense but might gain many many more rational clients. And who would you rather work with anyway?
Cheers,
Jim


CoachFergie said:
Yup technique matters because an "expert" says so and no evidence is presented than "I watched this champion" so I must be right. That sounds familiar.

Brilliant indeed!
 
Apr 21, 2009
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You make far too much sense Jim.

But then what Tour de France riders video footage have you observed to come to such a conclusion!!!
 
Can we get back to the possibility that some off-bike exercises might be useful to improve cycling performance?

I suppose that a large part of the question is whether on-bike training can be sufficient to achieve maximal cycling perfomance. And to what degree 'special' training or coaching is needed to identify the weak muscles and suggest on-bike methods to strengthen them.

Or as was hypothesized, that some off-bike muscle exercises would be beneficial. I think the idea of off-bike exercises was not so much that they be used to consciously change the clients pedalling technique, but rather that they would allow the 'natural technique' to become better.

Jay Kosta
Endwell NY USA
 
Apr 21, 2009
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Like anything you would have to present credible data to support that. Otherwise it's just speculation!

Hamish




JayKosta said:
Can we get back to the possibility that some off-bike exercises might be useful to improve cycling performance?

I suppose that a large part of the question is whether on-bike training can be sufficient to achieve maximal cycling perfomance. And to what degree 'special' training or coaching is needed to identify the weak muscles and suggest on-bike methods to strengthen them.

Or as was hypothesized, that some off-bike muscle exercises would be beneficial. I think the idea of off-bike exercises was not so much that they be used to consciously change the clients pedalling technique, but rather that they would allow the 'natural technique' to become better.

Jay Kosta
Endwell NY USA
 
Re: Re:

CoachFergie said:
Like anything you would have to present credible data to support that. Otherwise it's just speculation!

Hamish
---------------------------------------------
Yes, that's true but is not helpful or informative.
It seems I need to ask the question more specifically -

Is anyone aware of credible data that supports the idea that on-bike training is sufficient to develop a cyclist's maximum potential?

Or a related question -

Does anyone know of credible data that supports the idea some type of 'off-bike muscle training' is helpful to develop a cyclist's maximum potential?

Yes, I know that on-bike training is not always possible due to weather and other conditions, so off-bike training is used.

I'm asking about this in regards to how it might affect a cyclist's pedalling technique - regardless of whether a 'natural' or 'chosen' technique is used.

Jay Kosta
Endwell NY USA
 
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JayKosta said:
...
Or a related question -

Does anyone know of credible data that supports the idea some type of 'off-bike muscle training' is helpful to develop a cyclist's maximum potential?
...
----------------
I wasn't clear enough in the above.
I should have said -
Does anyone know of crediable data that supports the idea that some type of 'off-bike muscle training' can produce BETTER results than can be achieved by on-bike training to develop a cyclist's maximum potential?

Jay Kosta
Endwell NY USA
 
Jun 18, 2015
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Do a google scholar search with the words cycling, strength, and Aagarrd (an in Per Aagaard at Southern Denmark University).
https://www.google.com/#q=aagaard+cycling+strength
He is highly respected in basic muscle physiology and has solid work showing heavy strength training improves cycling performance.
Cheers,
Jim

JayKosta said:
Does anyone know of creditable data that supports the idea that some type of 'off-bike muscle training' can produce BETTER results than can be achieved by on-bike training to develop a cyclist's maximum potential?
Jay Kosta
Endwell NY USA
 
Apr 21, 2009
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Aagarrd, and also Ronnestad have both shown that a group doing resistance training do improve in performance over a group doing a matched workload based on HR but the two questions I would suggest is what if the workloads were matched based on power. Also, how would the improvement from weight training compare against a specific interval programme?

Then what is the relevance of strength to pedalling? We know the challenge in cycling is not to produce more power, but to sustain this for the duration or distance of the event. And the greater challenge is to sustain this power against the variability of the event due to the course, the weather, the competition, the individual characteristics of the rider and the equipment they select.
 
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Data from the abstract below, suggest that the benefit comes in shift from IIx to IIa fiber which is more fatigue resistant.
Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2011 Dec;21(6):e298-307. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0838.2010.01283.x. Epub 2011 Mar 1.
Effects of resistance training on endurance capacity and muscle fiber composition in young top-level cyclists.
Aagaard P1, Andersen JL, Bennekou M, Larsson B, Olesen JL, Crameri R, Magnusson SP, Kjaer M.
Equivocal findings exist on the effect of concurrent strength (S) and endurance (E) training on endurance performance and muscle morphology. Further, the influence of concurrent SE training on muscle fiber-type composition, vascularization and endurance capacity remains unknown in top-level endurance athletes. The present study examined the effect of 16 weeks of concurrent SE training on maximal muscle strength (MVC), contractile rate of force development (RFD), muscle fiber morphology and composition, capillarization, aerobic power (VO2max), cycling economy (CE) and long/short-term endurance capacity in young elite competitive cyclists (n=14). MVC and RFD increased 12-20% with SE (P<0.01) but not E. VO2max remained unchanged. CE improved in E to reach values seen in SE. Short-term (5-min) endurance performance increased (3-4%) after SE and E (P<0.05), whereas 45-min endurance capacity increased (8%) with SE only (P<0.05). Type IIA fiber proportions increased and type IIX proportions decreased after SE training (P<0.05) with no change in E. Muscle fiber area and capillarization remained unchanged. In conclusion, concurrent strength/endurance training in young elite competitive cyclists led to an improved 45-min time-trial endurance capacity that was accompanied by an increased proportion of type IIA muscle fibers and gains in MVC and RFD, while capillarization remained unaffected.


CoachFergie said:
Aagarrd, and also Ronnestad have both shown that a group doing resistance training do improve in performance over a group doing a matched workload based on HR but the two questions I would suggest is what if the workloads were matched based on power. Also, how would the improvement from weight training compare against a specific interval programme?
Then what is the relevance of strength to pedalling? We know the challenge in cycling is not to produce more power, but to sustain this for the duration or distance of the event. And the greater challenge is to sustain this power against the variability of the event due to the course, the weather, the competition, the individual characteristics of the rider and the equipment they select.
 
Apr 21, 2009
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Then adding SE training, aka Special Force Training or High Torque Training, muddies the picture as it done on the bike. I don't see any benefit from riding at lower cadences unless it allows you to generate more power over the goal distance or duration. On track riders are using much bigger gears and much lower cadences than ever before for this very reason. But then on road riders like Indurain, Froome, Armstrong and Wiggins were all notable spinners in competition.

Would be nice to see some comparison of a weights training group against an interval training group. But then the question of what type of weights training and what type of interval training. Currently trialling non-linear periodised approach in both my gym training (not done for performance but because not getting any younger) and my riding. Doing a different programme each week would really complicate getting good data.
 
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I agree that some type of interval or special force program might have similar benefits. And I reckon you know I was an enthusiastic user of special force (big gear 50m standing and seated sprints from a standstill). So yes, it might be possible to replicate the results on a bike but that study hasn't been done. Yet. Maybe your PhD?

CoachFergie said:
Then adding SE training, aka Special Force Training or High Torque Training, muddies the picture as it done on the bike.
 
Apr 21, 2009
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Yes, we must chat further about that.

Gary West took us up the climb in Adelaide that they do SE efforts on. Uphill on pursuit bikes on aero bars at 40-60rpm for 8km. That was 1997, so not sure if they do that now.

I do overgear work, but on the track I go one sprocket smaller than race gear. Yes, lots of seated starts or seated accelerations from varying speeds.
 
Jun 18, 2015
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That long high-force low-rpm type of work is very different than special force as originally practiced by the East Germans. Those were all out maximal strength efforts on the bike. I think the translation from the German could also have been Specific Force. We would work up through a range of gears on our road bikes up to 53x12. Doing a 50m all out standing effort on a 53x12 would give me that same weird metallic taste in my mouth that I would get with heavy squats. So yes, it is definitely strength training and might result in similar adaptations to those seen by Per Aagaard. But that is only a reasonable hypothesis and we won't know till someone actually does the study. By the way, trying to do these on the track is too much of a vortex because of the need for changing gears and the smaller range available in a typical track gear selection. Road bike is much better.
The long grinding stuff you mentioned is likely beneficial for muscle respiratory development for two reasons. First, even though the power is low enough to be sustainable, the force is high enough to recruit large type II motor units. Second, there is evidence from NIRS data that lower cadence produces greater changes in muscle oxygenation with the pedal cycle. That is, the longer period of occlusion due to high muscle tension lets saturation fall to lower levels, which likely provides a greater stimulus for mitochondrial and capillary development. But again, the adaptations have not been carefully investigated as far as I know.
Cheers,
Jim

CoachFergie said:
Uphill on pursuit bikes on aero bars at 40-60rpm for 8km. That was 1997, so not sure if they do that now.

I do overgear work, but on the track I go one sprocket smaller than race gear. Yes, lots of seated starts or seated accelerations from varying speeds.
 
Thank you for the discussion about the muscle adaptations that result from various types of high intensity 'force' training. It might not be 'new information' to you, but it is to me.

In your experience DOING that type of special high force training, did you notice any change to your pedalling technique while doing those high forces that weren't noticed with more 'standard' on-bike training? Are other muscles being trained/utilized than when doing on-bike interval or hill training?

Jay Kosta
Endwell NY USA
 
Apr 21, 2009
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Challenge for Sprint training these days is riders like Eddie Dawkins are using a 60 x 12 in his flying 200m.

Hamish

PhitBoy said:
That long high-force low-rpm type of work is very different than special force as originally practiced by the East Germans. Those were all out maximal strength efforts on the bike. I think the translation from the German could also have been Specific Force. We would work up through a range of gears on our road bikes up to 53x12. Doing a 50m all out standing effort on a 53x12 would give me that same weird metallic taste in my mouth that I would get with heavy squats. So yes, it is definitely strength training and might result in similar adaptations to those seen by Per Aagaard. But that is only a reasonable hypothesis and we won't know till someone actually does the study. By the way, trying to do these on the track is too much of a vortex because of the need for changing gears and the smaller range available in a typical track gear selection. Road bike is much better.
The long grinding stuff you mentioned is likely beneficial for muscle respiratory development for two reasons. First, even though the power is low enough to be sustainable, the force is high enough to recruit large type II motor units. Second, there is evidence from NIRS data that lower cadence produces greater changes in muscle oxygenation with the pedal cycle. That is, the longer period of occlusion due to high muscle tension lets saturation fall to lower levels, which likely provides a greater stimulus for mitochondrial and capillary development. But again, the adaptations have not been carefully investigated as far as I know.
Cheers,
Jim

CoachFergie said:
Uphill on pursuit bikes on aero bars at 40-60rpm for 8km. That was 1997, so not sure if they do that now.

I do overgear work, but on the track I go one sprocket smaller than race gear. Yes, lots of seated starts or seated accelerations from varying speeds.
 
Jun 18, 2015
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Nothing I can think of in terms of technique. Mainly just really really hard pedaling resulting in lots of broken parts. I once had a downtube fail in twist. I cut that section of tube out and kept it on my trophy shelf.

JayKosta said:
In your experience DOING that type of special high force training, did you notice any change to your pedalling technique while doing those high forces that weren't noticed with more 'standard' on-bike training? Are other muscles being trained/utilized than when doing on-bike interval or hill training?

Jay Kosta
Endwell NY USA
 
Re: Re:

PhitBoy said:
By the way, trying to do these on the track is too much of a vortex because of the need for changing gears and the smaller range available in a typical track gear selection. Road bike is much better.
I really really don't like doing these sorts of effort on a road bike. Track bikes are built for it and are much more secure.
 
Jun 18, 2015
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I should have qualified my statement by saying that MY road bike was much better. As a match sprinter, my road bike was only a device for sprint training. The last version (late 80s) was a Cannondale with steel sprint bars and steel stem. It was probably stiffer than my track bike. Combine this with a flat section of road with no traffic and it worked really well. I agree that many standard road bikes would be horrible in this application.

Alex Simmons/RST said:
PhitBoy said:
By the way, trying to do these on the track is too much of a vortex because of the need for changing gears and the smaller range available in a typical track gear selection. Road bike is much better.
I really really don't like doing these sorts of effort on a road bike. Track bikes are built for it and are much more secure.
 
Apr 21, 2009
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So steering this conversation back to forms of training that are claimed to improve pedalling technique the practice of SE training (aka as SFR, of high torque training) are very commonly performed either uphill or on low inertia high resistance ergs like the BT-ATS Erg or the newer Revbox. Claims are made that the high resistance allows you to concentrate on application of power throughout the pedal stroke. My initial investigations and some use of the BT erg allowed me to try their method "trying to smooth out the sound of the fan" in the hopes that this would smooth out the application of power through the pedal stroke. I used a BT erg for bike fitting and hearing one person apply more power to the left asked if he had any injuries and no surprise he had torn his right achilles.

http://www.biketechnologies.com/bt-advanced-training-system/
http://www.revbox.co.nz/science/

My experiences of doing training sessions on the BT erg is that every session left my legs feeling smashed. This was while riding and racing in a period of consistent training and competing on road and track, the odd MTB event and riding on a variety of courses. So unusual that the BT should kill my legs if the erg reflects the stimulus of riding I was doing on the bike. I currently use a LeMond Revolution erg for any indoor training and as promised in their marketing claims it provides a very roadlike feel.

Alex Simmons wrote this excellent piece in 2009 that covers some of the issues of comparing indoor trainers to riding outdoors...

http://alex-cycle.blogspot.co.nz/2009/01/turbocharged-training.html

And Andy Coggan wrote this piece based on information I had provided him from Professional riders in NZ who performed SE training.

http://www.aboc.com.au/tips-and-hints/why-we-dont-use-strength-endurance-anymore

How I tie this all together can be illustrated in how I suggested a rider approach a planned return to the NZ track programme. 6 months out from Rio do efforts at any cadence at 480 watts for 5min, uphill or erg, 3 months out do 500 watts for 5min at 100 rpm and from 1 month out do 520 watts for 5min at 120 watts. Long way out, do anything to get the power and the closer you get the more specific you need to be.
 

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