Pedaling technique- what should the heels do?

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Re: Pedaling technique- what should the heels do?

Postby rpmspinman » Wed Oct 24, 2012 10:40 am

i tend to use the lift up method if I want to maintain a speed for a given time in head wind and sometimes up hills to help reduce some fatiguing my quads for even a few seconds. Yes it chews thru more energy, but I find it's worth it if it maintains speed.

Ive also noticed the pro's on tv keeping their sole of their foot flat when they want to maintain speed. With climbing, their heels are a bit more down.
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Re: Pedaling technique- what should the heels do?

Postby sogood » Wed Oct 24, 2012 10:46 am

toolonglegs wrote:All your power is made on the down stroke...full stop.

It doesn't stop. The use of word "all" is incorrect. There is still power in the rest of the pedal cycle, but just not as much. Further, the differential is accentuated on hard rides and less on an easy cruise.

As Alex suggested, just ride and your legs will take care of the demand and themselves.
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Re: Pedaling technique- what should the heels do?

Postby twizzle » Sun Nov 04, 2012 9:17 pm

I've spent a lot of time playing with pedaling.... muscle memory can be a bitch, sometimes I can just do it, other times not. On the flats, I engage my quads better if I try and keep the ankle 'solid' - sorry, that's the best way I can describe it. This also works for me on gentle hills (6%'ish stuff). Once I hit steep hills though (10+%), this doesn't work for me at all, I can't even make threshold power at low cadence... what works for me is to turn the cranks - but I'm not pulling up. Ultimately, when I get it right, I can feel that I'm pushing on the pedals earlier and use my quads more and there is less of a power spike - if I just push harder on the pedals, my lower back starts to hurt, and I still don't make the power. Getting it right, I can cruise at threshold, but when I get it wrong I'm struggling at tempo.

Steve Hogg talked about feedback in a session earlier this year and being able to feel what is going on. He demonstrated that balance is improved when you are focused on your feet. I think pedaling is in the same category - if you never think about what is going on, your ankles flop about, you don't use all the muscle groups, and you don't work the pedals effectively. Can you train it so it becomes second nature? Dunno... I know my technique goes to he'll when I'm tired.

Anyway - I don't know how to make it work for others, but I can say that specificity is the key. If you feel you suck at some specific type of effort, work on it and try and work out what it is you are doing and if you can do it better. And get a power meter - soooo much easier to measure what you are doing.


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Re: Pedaling technique- what should the heels do?

Postby BarryTas » Wed Nov 07, 2012 9:38 am

i have been told that you should ride like you are scraping muck off the bottom of your shoe
when do we stop for coffee???

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Re: Pedaling technique- what should the heels do?

Postby twizzle » Thu Nov 08, 2012 8:01 am

My youngest kids tell me that Santa is coming soon. :)

There are exercises & techniques that are suggested as ways of improving the neuromuscular recruitment for pedalling, including single-leg drills and the "power cranks". There's not a lot of scientific research in this area, and certainly nothing conclusive, but I think it's safe to say that (in general) elite level cyclists apply pressure to the pedal over more of the crank cycle, and have less weight pushing down on the up-stroke. And I hate how they usually look so machine-line when pedalling, it just looks so effortless.

As Bill Black recently said on Google Groups : "There is real value to be gained in bettering your neuromuscular firing patterns to allow better leg drive velocity and reduce your self-resistance in your pedal stroke."

It's also safe to say that pulling up on the pedal is a bad idea. More power but at an efficiency cost.
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Re: Pedaling technique- what should the heels do?

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Thu Nov 08, 2012 12:33 pm

There's probably half a dozen published studies on independent cranks. None of them demonstrate a performance benefit for cycling.
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Re: Pedaling technique- what should the heels do?

Postby twizzle » Thu Nov 08, 2012 1:05 pm

Alex Simmons/RST wrote:There's probably half a dozen published studies on independent cranks. None of them demonstrate a performance benefit for cycling.


Any suggestions for improving firing patterns? I notice that BB commented you had done work in the field, it was a comment about mid-foot cleat position.
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Re: Pedaling technique- what should the heels do?

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Thu Nov 08, 2012 3:08 pm

twizzle wrote:
Alex Simmons/RST wrote:There's probably half a dozen published studies on independent cranks. None of them demonstrate a performance benefit for cycling.


Any suggestions for improving firing patterns? I notice that BB commented you had done work in the field, it was a comment about mid-foot cleat position.

I haven't bothered with a couple of the latest bigger wattage threads, as soon as I saw "strength" in the title and a thousand replies it was a sure fire sign the season has wound up in the north and people had nothing better to do that go over the same old ground, no doubt with the same misconceptions :)

As for mid foot, I've done no specific work, other than have a rider use it on occasions (for no performance benefit) during attempts on the hour record. Perhaps Bill was thinking about one of my RST Sport colleagues whose PhD is in the field of pedalling mechanics (amongst other things) and recently had a paper published (not on this specifically but on impact of Q-factor). I haven't done much specifically with Bill, other than we've chatted occasionally, and I helped him out with training plan to come back from a pretty bad accident injury he suffered a couple of years back. This is a guy who does 18 hour weeks on the indoor (Compu)trainer during Winter.
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Re: Pedaling technique- what should the heels do?

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Thu Nov 08, 2012 3:14 pm

twizzle wrote:Any suggestions for improving firing patterns? I notice that BB commented you had done work in the field, it was a comment about mid-foot cleat position.

Mix in some short hard efforts into your training. If you aleady do as a natural consequence of racing as an example, then really, just focus on effort and power, and mix in a sprinkling of sprints and sharp efforts at max aerobic/anaerobic (but not for max durations) in varying gears. Variety. Standing starts are awesome in so many ways, but personally I don't like to do them on a road bike, track bike only for me.

Keep in mind what I said about Bill's training. Indoor trainers don't tend to provide the same sort of chance to generate the neuromuscular demands as you experience out on the roads. He is snowed in for months at a time, so it's understandable it's more of an issue for the northerners.
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Re: Pedaling technique- what should the heels do?

Postby twizzle » Thu Nov 08, 2012 3:56 pm

I've found most of my improvement is coming from seated climbing. Threshold power and cadence slow enough that I can concentrate on how it feels.

I've also tried the 'scissor/kick' exercises, they certainly help in terms of getting to understand how it 'feels' when recruiting all of the muscle groups.

Only reason I keep working on this is because I have assumed that low-force from more muscle groups over a longer portion of the crank cycle will be more efficient that lots of force over a small portion of the crank cycle. It certainly doesn't feel as hard and I can make more power comfortably when getting it 'right'. It's just not easy to quantify 'right'.
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Re: Pedaling technique- what should the heels do?

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Fri Nov 09, 2012 6:52 am

twizzle wrote:It's just not easy to quantify 'right'.

Yes it is. :wink:
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Re: Pedaling technique- what should the heels do?

Postby twizzle » Fri Nov 09, 2012 7:59 am

Alex Simmons/RST wrote:
twizzle wrote:It's just not easy to quantify 'right'.

Yes it is. :wink:


Well... in a lab where you can measure pedal force over the full rotation & oxygen consumption it's probably easy!

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Re: Pedaling technique- what should the heels do?

Postby toolonglegs » Fri Nov 09, 2012 8:26 am

I don't know what heels do... but I would like to know why I have a habit of cracking carbon soles at the heel!.
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Re: Pedaling technique- what should the heels do?

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Fri Nov 09, 2012 10:02 am

twizzle wrote:
Alex Simmons/RST wrote:
twizzle wrote:It's just not easy to quantify 'right'.

Yes it is. :wink:


Well... in a lab where you can measure pedal force over the full rotation & oxygen consumption it's probably easy!

:)

If what you do doesn't result in a measurable improvement in performance (i.e. power output) over durations of most importance to you/your goals/events, then it's not an improvement.
Don't need a lab to test that.
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Re: Pedaling technique- what should the heels do?

Postby twizzle » Fri Nov 09, 2012 10:42 am

Alex Simmons/RST wrote:If what you do doesn't result in a measurable improvement in performance (i.e. power output) over durations of most importance to you/your goals/events, then it's not an improvement.
Don't need a lab to test that.


But trial and error seems to be an inefficient way of doing this.

Have you had a look at the data captured by the prototype Brimm Bro's cleat based power meter? I have my fingers crossed that they make it to market. "Numbers geek" heaven.
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Re: Pedaling technique- what should the heels do?

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Fri Nov 09, 2012 11:28 am

twizzle wrote:But trial and error seems to be an inefficient way of doing this.

Peak power pedalling mechanics only take minutes to change, and metabolic adaptations have adaptation periods of days to weeks, so if you are not noticing anything (other than what you'd normally expect) from a specific training intervention in a matter of weeks, you probably won't ever.

twizzle wrote:Have you had a look at the data captured by the prototype Brimm Bro's cleat based power meter? I have my fingers crossed that they make it to market. "Numbers geek" heaven.

Probably not for a while, but I can't imagine it's going to tell us much we don't already know from pedal force data collected in labs over the last couple of decades.
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Re: Pedaling technique- what should the heels do?

Postby foo on patrol » Fri Nov 09, 2012 6:50 pm

Ok, Here is my simplistic explanation of push pull!

For normal riding without any extra effort to get away from a bunch/rider or off the mark quickly, then you don't use it. But when you need extra effort I will defy anyone, too say, that the push pull does not work, you just can't use it the whole time, that you're riding. :idea:

Also, don't give this line of , you only use toe clips/cleats too keep your feet on the pedals, total BS. The easiest and quickest trial is to see how fast you can power off the mark, whether it be from a standing start or on a climb to make people hurt. :wink:

You use it when, you need to power up quickly and efficiently in the least mount of time until you have achieved your goal. :idea:

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Re: Pedaling technique- what should the heels do?

Postby twizzle » Sat Nov 10, 2012 6:12 am

Alex Simmons/RST wrote:
twizzle wrote:But trial and error seems to be an inefficient way of doing this.

Peak power pedalling mechanics only take minutes to change, and metabolic adaptations have adaptation periods of days to weeks, so if you are not noticing anything (other than what you'd normally expect) from a specific training intervention in a matter of weeks, you probably won't ever.

I was thinking more about firing patterns at tempo and threshold levels. Or is the metabolic cost insignificant unless you are doing something known to have a high cost such as pulling up?


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Re: Pedaling technique- what should the heels do?

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Sat Nov 10, 2012 7:13 am

twizzle wrote:
Alex Simmons/RST wrote:
twizzle wrote:But trial and error seems to be an inefficient way of doing this.

Peak power pedalling mechanics only take minutes to change, and metabolic adaptations have adaptation periods of days to weeks, so if you are not noticing anything (other than what you'd normally expect) from a specific training intervention in a matter of weeks, you probably won't ever.

I was thinking more about firing patterns at tempo and threshold levels. Or is the metabolic cost insignificant unless you are doing something known to have a high cost such as pulling up?


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You're over thinking it.

Pedalling is a *very* simple motor function. Focus on effort level, that's orders of magnitude more important (other that bike fit).
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Re: Pedaling technique- what should the heels do?

Postby mikesbytes » Sat Nov 10, 2012 11:52 am

The presentation is interesting and while the simplification of the data into graphs made it easy to read and understand, the details not provided leave out some useful data.

The comment in that study states that muscles that expand the joints are more efficient than muscles that contract the joints. So am I correct in interpreting that statement to mean by expanding, that be the Quads and Gluteus and by contraction, the hamstring and hip flexors?
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Re: Pedaling technique- what should the heels do?

Postby twizzle » Sat Nov 10, 2012 7:10 pm

Alex Simmons/RST wrote:You're over thinking it.

Pedalling is a *very* simple motor function. Focus on effort level, that's orders of magnitude more important (other that bike fit).


Fair enough.

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Re: Pedaling technique- what should the heels do?

Postby g-boaf » Thu Nov 22, 2012 7:27 pm

toolonglegs wrote:All your power is made on the down stroke...full stop.
Push down hard, fast and often... let the rest of the rotation take care of itself.


This is very surprising to me, since I was encouraged to be "pulling up" on the up stroke. But in reality, I figure it probably wasn't pulling up, but rather how some of the others have described it. The person who was telling me to do that does actual race as well and is pretty damn fast, well, really fast, way quicker than I'll ever be. :lol:

Changing how pedaled (along with a proper bike fit) seems to have resulted in less fatigue and injuries and a bit more speed.
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Re: Pedaling technique- what should the heels do?

Postby mikesbytes » Fri Nov 23, 2012 4:45 pm

I pull backwards and upwards on the pedals

Perhaps its to do with where the strength lies in you legs
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Re: Pedaling technique- what should the heels do?

Postby toolonglegs » Fri Nov 23, 2012 5:48 pm

Cranks snap on the down stroke, not the upstroke... :D .
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