Cycling Coaches in Sydney

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by Gretzky1, Sep 20, 2009.

  1. cyclissimo

    cyclissimo New Member

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    The latter, they exerted higher peak forces but distributed to a smaller percentage of the pedal stroke which goes against all the 'mud scraping', 'spin smooth circles', and 'pedal round' advice that's so often recommended.

    But Frank is convinced that the interesting finding of this paper is that elite national class time trialists produced more power and were more aerodynamic than their slower state level counterparts. Well no **** Frank. Yes, the paper did come to that conclusion but that is not why this study is considered interesting and important.
     


  2. Fday

    Fday New Member

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    I think you are reading just a smidge too much into that "data".
    [​IMG]
    This averages out to be this
    [​IMG]
    Your analysis is simply your eyeball analysis expressing your hope so you can continue to hold your bias.

    Read the paper again. There are only a few statistical differences between the groups that might go to explain the power difference.

    1. The elite group had 3 more years of aerobic training (p<0.01) (table 1)
    2. The elite group had a higher VO2(max) (p<0.05) and higher lactate threshold (p<0.11) (table 3)
    3. The elite group had a higher oxygen consumption during the test (p<0.05), got closer to their VO2 max (P<0.06) (table 4)
    4. The elite group had more type 1 fibers (p<0.05), a higher capillary density (p<0.05), and other lesser muscle differences.
    5. And, the elite group did have a higher peak torque (p<0.05) (table 6).

    Now, I will admit there was a slightly higher "index of effectiveness" looking at the pedaling pattern but this only reached a p<0.10 (table 6). Most scientific journals require a p<0.05 for an author to draw any conclusions. So, while there are some differences in pedaling "technique" demonstrated there is a 10% chance these differences are simply due to chance. Not very persuasive when there are many other findings in this same paper with p values less than 0.05 down to as low as 0.01.

    The reason I bring up the aero difference is the power difference cannot explain the speed difference between the groups (and speed is how the groups were differentiated).
     
  3. cyclissimo

    cyclissimo New Member

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    The weight of scientific evidence is in the staying power of a study or group of studies, often demonstrated by the number of times it is cited or referenced.

    Do you contend that the frequent citation and reference to this particular study is because it demonstrated that more aerodynamic riders go faster?

    I'm quite certain this study hasn't remained relevant for 18 years and is frequently referenced based on that particular finding.
     
  4. Fday

    Fday New Member

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    Anyone who is referencing that study to make the point that faster riders are faster simply because the push harder and use a more "mashing" style either hasn't read the study carefully or doesn't care what the study really says since that point, as noted above, did not reach statistical significance. I think it is actually a pretty good study. I am sure that study gets referenced a lot but it is not the authors fault that their study has been misinterpreted by many who have a bias and is referenced frequently by them as supposedly showing something that is not there. I am simply pointing out what the study actually says. If your counter is that others interpret that data differently. So be it. It should be noted though that they are also interpreting the study differently than the authors.
     
  5. Fday

    Fday New Member

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    I would like to point out one more thing that points out the fallacy in drawing the "just push harder" conclusion from this paper. Subject A was a full 1.5 minutes faster than the next fastest rider, with a 40 k time of 51 minutes.
    [​IMG]

    The two who "pushed the hardest" are subjects D and J but they had 40 km times of 54 and 57 minutes respectfully, 3 and 6 minutes slower than subject A (subject J is so slow he is actually in group 2). Subject A is only the 4th strongest "pusher" and, low and behold, he does substantial pulling up on the backstroke, only with some negative forces for about 45ยบ just after the bottom.

    How anyone can look at this data and conclude that any thing can be concluded about pedaling style from it, let alone that the "just push harder" style is the secret to going faster, is beyond me.

    Yet, I expect this paper to be used long into the distant future by those with such a bias to "prove" their point.
     
  6. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    Dude, don't get involved in a land war in China and don't get into a pissing match on pedaling dynamics with Frank or Noah, the logic is sure to be twisted and circular and nobody is going to be swayed by the arguments. There are over a hundred pages dedicated to these arguments here: http://www.cyclingforums.com/cycling-training/233514-pealling-push-up-push-down.html

    Might as well just cut and paste the reruns from that thread, the discussion never seems to change.

    I see your point Alex, you guys have it tough coaching down in Sydney with all this to wrestle with :rolleyes:

    BTW, congrats on your recent power numbers that's awesome closing in on your pre-accident sustainable power!

    -Dave
     
  7. Fday

    Fday New Member

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    And, it also appears no one is going to be swayed by a few pesky facts.
     
  8. n crowley

    n crowley New Member

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    Excellent progress, there is an important message for natural pedallers in those results.
     
  9. Gretzky1

    Gretzky1 New Member

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    I didnt realise that asking such a simple question about coaches in sydney would open it up to anything but coaches on Sydney.

    Alex, thankyou, this isnt aimed at you.
     
  10. Fday

    Fday New Member

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    Wasn't it Alex that started this little diversion when he posted: "As for pedalling technique and strength, neither really matter all that much, so if you have a coach that is focussed on those things, then I wouldn't rank them as decent." in the fourth post in this thread.

    edit, and it was Alex that posted this in post # 27: "I don't know about that study but there is a study that clearly demonstrates that faster national level elite riders push down harder (apply greater downforce as a proportion of total pedal forces around the whole pedal stroke) than their slower state level (but still very well trained) counterparts."
     
  11. fergie

    fergie Member

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    But Teacher Alex Started It!!!
     
  12. Alex Simmons

    Alex Simmons Member

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    In response to statements/questions posed.

    I stand by what I've written.
     
  13. Fday

    Fday New Member

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    Let's take this quote: "but there is a study that clearly demonstrates that faster national level elite riders push down harder (apply greater downforce as a proportion of total pedal forces around the whole pedal stroke) than their slower state level (but still very well trained) counterparts."

    Now, there were 15 subjects in the study. There were two who clearly pushed harder than any others in this group. They happened to have the 4th and 10th fastest 40km TT time in this group. The rider with the fastest TT time (a full 1.5 minutes faster than the next fastest rider) was only 4th on the "pushing force" list and he also had substantial pulling forces on the backstroke making his pushing force "as a proportion of the total pedal forces" even smaller compared to many others.

    I am really at a loss as to how you find " faster national level elite riders push down harder (apply greater downforce as a proportion of total pedal forces around the whole pedal stroke)" to be so "clearly demonstrated" by this data. There were lots of things in this study that were "clearly demonstrated" (because they reached "statistical significance") but a difference in pedaling style was not one of them, unless I am missing something. If I am missing something here, help me out and show me what it is. Thanks
     
  14. Alex Simmons

    Alex Simmons Member

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    That would be a complete waste of my time.
     
  15. Enriss

    Enriss New Member

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    I think the most damning evidence against the idea of pulling up is the average graphs which show that the faster group of riders pull up almost not at all on average. But, as Fday has pointed out, the difference in pedaling technique doesn't seem like a statistically significant difference, for the statistical reasons he cited, and for the less sophisticated reason that, "hey look, the hardest pushers were roughly middle of the pack for speed, and the fastest guy pulled pretty hard."

    The impression I'm getting from this discussion is that pushing down isn't inherently better than pulling up, and that pulling up might be better than pushing down. But I don't think we've established that pulling up is important enough to focus on in coaching sessions.
    Looking at the two groups, one group being state level riders, the other being national level, we see a variety of pedalling techniques.
    If pedalling technique was vital to cycling success, then I can only assume that we would probably see all of the pros using essentially the same technique.
    Since we don't see that, I think it's a logical assumption to make that pedalling technique is not all that important.

    Maybe we should consider the possible biomechanical advantages of pulling up. Citing the popular cyclist mantra, cycling is not a strength limited sport, so we shouldn't expect the extra strength contribution of the hamstrings and hip flexors to make any difference.
    Since strength doesn't make the difference, the benefit would have to be from increased aerobic efficiency. My understanding of aerobic efficiency is that it's basically limited by how much of the oxygen you breath can be consumed by your working muscles, which is restricted by the surface area of the blood vessels in the muscles, which is a function of muscle volume and vascularity or capillarity or some physio term like that.
    Adding the new muscle groups involved in the pulling motion increases the muscle volume, probably substantially. This means more of the oxygen you breath in can be involved in power-generating processes, which means more power and faster riding.
    I imagine the reason why this doesn't make that much of a difference, is that your glutes and quads are large enough muscle groups that they can already pretty effectively drain your blood of oxygen.

    And now, anyone who actually knows what they're talking about is welcome to tear apart everything I've said :)
     
  16. Fday

    Fday New Member

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    The purpose of the study was to see if it could be determined what, if anything, set apart the faster riders from a group of slower riders who, seemingly trained equivalently. One of the things they looked at was pedaling style. There were plenty of differences between the groups, but pedaling style was not one of them. Now, there are obvious differences in pedaling style between some of these people when you look at the graphs but these are differences between individuals and not between groups. It would seem to me that one needs to design a study that tries to keep all the other variables constant except for pedaling style and see what can be determined from that or to take a group of people and train them to pedal in a different pedaling style and see what happens if one wants to draw any conclusions about pedaling style. This paper does neither of these.

    There are two problems I see in drawing the conclusion that if pedaling style mattered it should have shown up when comparing these groups. At the time of this paper: 1. It was essentially impossible to reliably train any style other than "just pushing". And, 2 the thing that seems to really screw up trying to draw any conclusions abut pedaling style from this data is the wide range of muscle fiber type in the individuals. It seems we have taken a couple of football players and tried to turn them into marathon runners. They got to be pretty good but their physiology simply prevents them from getting as good as someone who has the right physiology, and nothing can change that. Trying to draw conclusions about "pedaling style" with these differences between the groups when combined with the fact that it is a crap shoot as to how people actually pedal regardless of how they trained (at least back then) is as error prone as trying to draw conclusions about running style comparing a football player and marathoner. Is it any wonder there are no statistically significant differences between these groups when looking at pedaling style?
     
  17. Fday

    Fday New Member

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    I would agree that I am probably incapable of understanding your thinking but perhaps you should try for the benefit of others, not quite as dense as I, who are following this thread.
     
  18. fergie

    fergie Member

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    Until you look at studies using a crank that require a circular application of force through the pedal stroke and involves the flexor muscles of the hip and knee joint and see there is no increase in power and in some studies a regression.
     
  19. Enriss

    Enriss New Member

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    Well, I certainly haven't seen these studies :) I'd also point out though, that my impression is that there is a clear disadvantage to loading the muscles disproportionately, since the hamstrings and hip flexors clearly aren't capable of using up as much oxygen as the glutes and quads. Exceeding the aerobic capacity of any muscle in the chain will cause lactic acid build-up, won't it?
     
  20. Fday

    Fday New Member

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    Would anyone argue with the assertion that it is a disadvantage to us the muscles disproportionately? Not me. But, would anyone argue with the assertion that if you want to use a muscle more you need to train it more? Apparently Fergie would.

    Anyhow, I agree that the total performance of the athlete is limited by the weakest muscle in the chain. Want to get better? Train the weakest link. Why do so many people seem to have a problem with that proposition?
     
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