Efficiency of "pulling up" on the pedal upstroke

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by Raptor, May 7, 2003.

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  1. Raptor

    Raptor Guest

    In a recent indoor cycling master class, I was told that a UCLA study for the US Olympic Team found
    that consciously pulling up on the pedals was inefficient. There was more interference with the
    opposite leg's downstroke than contribution to the pedaling motion overall.

    On a brief downtown ride yesterday featuring many stops and starts, I found myself pulling up
    forcefully while starting and accelerating strongly. I don't feel the need to pull up while
    cruising. Having logged 10K's of miles in my life, I'd be surprised to learn that I ride
    inefficiently.

    Is this counter-productive effect of pulling up only apparent during cruising or steady-state
    riding? Is there a specific Ed Burke book that examines this, or a link to this particular study?

    --
    --
    Lynn Wallace http://www.xmission.com/~lawall "Let me tell you what else I'm worried about. I'm
    worried about an opponent who uses nation building and the military in the same sentence. See, our
    view of the military is for the military to be properly prepared to fight and win war and therefore,
    prevent war from happening in the first place." George Bush, Nov. 6, 2000
     
    Tags:


  2. http://www.computrainer.com

    Click on link for Spinscan.

    You would be amazed at what the "best" power output pedal stroke is on a bike. Its best described as
    pedaling rectangles or doing a cross country ski type movement.

    Dont push up or down just concentrate on pushing through the top and pulling bottom of the
    pedal stroke.

    The Spinscan Software is 100% mind blowing.

    Each tiny detail of the pedal stroke is graphed out in a bar and circular graph format and is
    instantly update several times a second. The show wattage, Left/Rigth balance and a spinscan number
    amoung other things.

    You would also be shocked to see how small changes in your bike position effects this performance.

    Enough for now..

    David Sommerville

    "Raptor" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > In a recent indoor cycling master class, I was told that a UCLA study for the US Olympic Team
    > found that consciously pulling up on the pedals was inefficient. There was more interference with
    > the opposite leg's downstroke than contribution to the pedaling motion overall.
    >
    > On a brief downtown ride yesterday featuring many stops and starts, I found myself pulling up
    > forcefully while starting and accelerating strongly. I don't feel the need to pull up while
    > cruising. Having logged 10K's of miles in my life, I'd be surprised to learn that I ride
    > inefficiently.
    >
    > Is this counter-productive effect of pulling up only apparent during cruising or steady-state
    > riding? Is there a specific Ed Burke book that examines this, or a link to this particular study?
    >
    > --
    > --
    > Lynn Wallace http://www.xmission.com/~lawall "Let me tell you what else I'm worried about. I'm
    > worried about an opponent who uses nation building and the military in the same sentence. See, our
    > view of the military is for the military to be properly prepared to fight and win war and
    > therefore, prevent war from happening in the first place." George Bush, Nov. 6, 2000
     
  3. Raptor <[email protected]> writes:

    > Is there a specific Ed Burke book that examines this,

    _Science Of Cycling_, edited by Ed Burke.

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/087322048X

    This is an old book, but I remember one of the chapters addresses this issue. I remember a photo of
    a pedal with a built-in force measurement device, and a nice plot of the pedal force direction as a
    function of crank angle.

    If I remember, one of the results was that pulling up made a very small (if any direct)
    contribution.

    I sold my copy last year and it's been a long time since I read it, so maybe someone who has a copy
    can post a more accurate summary of the article.

    The article I'm thinking of may be old enough to have been superseded by a better or more
    recent study.

    Anyway, I hope this sets you in the right direction.

    Here is another thing to look at:

    http://www.analyticcycling.com/PedalForcesAtPedal_Page.html

    -Gerard
     
  4. Jeff Jones

    Jeff Jones Guest

    "Raptor" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > In a recent indoor cycling master class, I was told that a UCLA study for the US Olympic Team
    > found that consciously pulling up on the pedals was inefficient. There was more interference with
    > the opposite leg's downstroke than contribution to the pedaling motion overall.
    >
    From what I've read on the subject, which is admittedly not much, you get a more efficient pedal
    stroke by riding as though you're scraping the mud off your shoes. i.e. pulling back after you've
    stomped down on the pedals. It is hard to consciously change your pedalling action though, and
    obviously it requires that you be set up correctly.

    cheers, Jeff
     
  5. Tom Kunich

    Tom Kunich Guest

    You'll find that you automatically use this sort of pedal stroke if you just try to point your toes
    straight up while you're riding.. I haven't been able to do it for long periods of time but it sure
    as hell shows when you're accelerating.

    "David Sommerville" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > http://www.computrainer.com
    >
    > Click on link for Spinscan.
    >
    > You would be amazed at what the "best" power output pedal stroke is
    on a
    > bike. Its best described as pedaling rectangles or doing a cross country
    ski type
    > movement.
    >
    > Dont push up or down just concentrate on pushing through the top and
    pulling
    > bottom of the pedal stroke.
    >
    > The Spinscan Software is 100% mind blowing.
    >
    > Each tiny detail of the pedal stroke is graphed out in a bar and
    circular
    > graph format and is instantly update several times a second. The show wattage, Left/Rigth balance
    > and a spinscan number amoung
    other
    > things.
    >
    > You would also be shocked to see how small changes in your bike
    position
    > effects this performance.
    >
    > Enough for now..
    >
    > David Sommerville
    >
    > "Raptor" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > > In a recent indoor cycling master class, I was told that a UCLA
    study
    > > for the US Olympic Team found that consciously pulling up on the
    pedals
    > > was inefficient. There was more interference with the opposite
    leg's
    > > downstroke than contribution to the pedaling motion overall.
    > >
    > > On a brief downtown ride yesterday featuring many stops and
    starts, I
    > > found myself pulling up forcefully while starting and accelerating strongly. I don't feel the
    > > need to pull up while cruising.
    Having
    > > logged 10K's of miles in my life, I'd be surprised to learn that I
    ride
    > > inefficiently.
    > >
    > > Is this counter-productive effect of pulling up only apparent
    during
    > > cruising or steady-state riding? Is there a specific Ed Burke
    book that
    > > examines this, or a link to this particular study?
    > >
    > > --
    > > --
    > > Lynn Wallace http://www.xmission.com/~lawall "Let me tell you what else I'm worried about. I'm
    > > worried about
    an
    > > opponent who uses nation building and the military in the same sentence. See, our view of the
    > > military is for the military to be properly prepared to fight and win war and therefore,
    > > prevent war
    from
    > > happening in the first place." George Bush, Nov. 6, 2000
    > >
     
  6. "Jeff Jones" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    >
    > "Raptor" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > > In a recent indoor cycling master class, I was told that a UCLA study for the US Olympic Team
    > > found that consciously pulling up on the pedals was inefficient. There was more interference
    > > with the opposite leg's downstroke than contribution to the pedaling motion overall.
    > >
    > From what I've read on the subject, which is admittedly not much, you get
    a
    > more efficient pedal stroke by riding as though you're scraping the mud
    off
    > your shoes. i.e. pulling back after you've stomped down on the pedals. It
    is
    > hard to consciously change your pedalling action though, and obviously it requires that you be set
    > up correctly.
    >
    > cheers, Jeff
    >

    For what it's worth - I've had a similar experience when riding my fixed gear on the road. At high
    cadence, like on a downhill, I noticed that an "Up and Down" pedaling style caused my legs to
    bounce. I'd spend my energy trying to keep up with the pedals than actually putting power to the
    bike. When I changed to a shuffle, like cross country skiing (just trying to keep my feet moving
    forwards and back), I was able to ride at a much higher cadence while still powering the bike.

    -T
     
  7. Warren

    Warren Guest

    > > "Raptor" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]...
    > > > In a recent indoor cycling master class, I was told that a UCLA study for the US Olympic Team
    > > > found that consciously pulling up on the pedals was inefficient. There was more interference
    > > > with the opposite leg's downstroke than contribution to the pedaling motion overall.

    For accelerationss like you asked about it is worthwhile to think about lifting your knees or your
    pedals if you're out of the saddle. Essentially you are trying to lessen the impact of the muscles
    opposing the downstroke of the opposite pedal. Being "relaxed" does this also.

    -WG
     
  8. Bret Wade

    Bret Wade Guest

    Jeff Jones wrote:
    > "Raptor" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    >
    >>In a recent indoor cycling master class, I was told that a UCLA study for the US Olympic Team
    >>found that consciously pulling up on the pedals was inefficient. There was more interference with
    >>the opposite leg's downstroke than contribution to the pedaling motion overall.
    >>
    >
    > From what I've read on the subject, which is admittedly not much, you get a more efficient pedal
    > stroke by riding as though you're scraping the mud off your shoes. i.e. pulling back after you've
    > stomped down on the pedals. It is hard to consciously change your pedalling action though, and
    > obviously it requires that you be set up correctly.
    >
    > cheers, Jeff

    I believe this technique is useful in that it shifts a significant burdon from the quads to the calf
    muscles. It's most likely to help if the quads are a weak point and the calf muscles are up to
    taking on some extra load. I find it useful, but it may not be for everyone.

    Bret
     
  9. Phil Holman

    Phil Holman Guest

    "Bret Wade" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    >
    >
    > Jeff Jones wrote:
    > > "Raptor" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > >
    > >>In a recent indoor cycling master class, I was told that a UCLA
    study
    > >>for the US Olympic Team found that consciously pulling up on the
    pedals
    > >>was inefficient. There was more interference with the opposite
    leg's
    > >>downstroke than contribution to the pedaling motion overall.
    > >>
    > >
    > > From what I've read on the subject, which is admittedly not much,
    you get a
    > > more efficient pedal stroke by riding as though you're scraping the
    mud off
    > > your shoes. i.e. pulling back after you've stomped down on the
    pedals. It is
    > > hard to consciously change your pedalling action though, and
    obviously it
    > > requires that you be set up correctly.
    > >
    > > cheers, Jeff
    >
    > I believe this technique is useful in that it shifts a significant burdon from the quads to the
    > calf muscles. It's most likely to help
    if
    > the quads are a weak point and the calf muscles are up to taking on
    some
    > extra load. I find it useful, but it may not be for everyone.

    The pullup action is almost exclusively via the hamstrings and hip flexors. For some, the
    effectiveness of pulling up under certain circumstances is a useful attribute. Others derive benefit
    during endurance events although the training required to do this for a sustained period of time is
    extensive and intense. Any study conducted without prior conditioning over a period of several
    months is of questionable worth.

    Phil Holman
     
  10. Bret Wade

    Bret Wade Guest

    Phil Holman wrote:
    > "Bret Wade" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    >
    >>
    >>Jeff Jones wrote:
    >>
    >>>"Raptor" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    >>
    > news:[email protected]...
    >
    >>>>In a recent indoor cycling master class, I was told that a UCLA
    >>>
    > study
    >
    >>>>for the US Olympic Team found that consciously pulling up on the
    >>>
    > pedals
    >
    >>>>was inefficient. There was more interference with the opposite
    >>>
    > leg's
    >
    >>>>downstroke than contribution to the pedaling motion overall.
    >>>>
    >>>
    >>>From what I've read on the subject, which is admittedly not much,
    >>
    > you get a
    >
    >>>more efficient pedal stroke by riding as though you're scraping the
    >>
    > mud off
    >
    >>>your shoes. i.e. pulling back after you've stomped down on the
    >>
    > pedals. It is
    >
    >>>hard to consciously change your pedalling action though, and
    >>
    > obviously it
    >
    >>>requires that you be set up correctly.
    >>>
    >>>cheers, Jeff
    >>
    >>I believe this technique is useful in that it shifts a significant burdon from the quads to the
    >>calf muscles. It's most likely to help
    >
    > if
    >
    >>the quads are a weak point and the calf muscles are up to taking on
    >
    > some
    >
    >>extra load. I find it useful, but it may not be for everyone.
    >
    >
    > The pullup action is almost exclusively via the hamstrings and hip flexors. For some, the
    > effectiveness of pulling up under certain circumstances is a useful attribute. Others derive
    > benefit during endurance events although the training required to do this for a sustained period
    > of time is extensive and intense. Any study conducted without prior conditioning over a period of
    > several months is of questionable worth.
    >
    > Phil Holman
    >
    >

    Yes, but I wasn't talking about pulling up. I was talking about rearward follow through (mentioned
    by Jeff) that increases the load on the calf muscles. I only pull up on the pedals when standing.

    Bret
     
  11. Phil Holman

    Phil Holman Guest

    "Bret Wade" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    >
    >
    > Phil Holman wrote:
    > > "Bret Wade" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > >
    > >>
    > >>Jeff Jones wrote:
    > >>
    > >>>"Raptor" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > >>
    > > news:[email protected]...
    > >
    > >>>>In a recent indoor cycling master class, I was told that a UCLA
    > >>>
    > > study
    > >
    > >>>>for the US Olympic Team found that consciously pulling up on the
    > >>>
    > > pedals
    > >
    > >>>>was inefficient. There was more interference with the opposite
    > >>>
    > > leg's
    > >
    > >>>>downstroke than contribution to the pedaling motion overall.
    > >>>>
    > >>>
    > >>>From what I've read on the subject, which is admittedly not much,
    > >>
    > > you get a
    > >
    > >>>more efficient pedal stroke by riding as though you're scraping the
    > >>
    > > mud off
    > >
    > >>>your shoes. i.e. pulling back after you've stomped down on the
    > >>
    > > pedals. It is
    > >
    > >>>hard to consciously change your pedalling action though, and
    > >>
    > > obviously it
    > >
    > >>>requires that you be set up correctly.
    > >>>
    > >>>cheers, Jeff
    > >>
    > >>I believe this technique is useful in that it shifts a significant burdon from the quads to the
    > >>calf muscles. It's most likely to help
    > >
    > > if
    > >
    > >>the quads are a weak point and the calf muscles are up to taking on
    > >
    > > some
    > >
    > >>extra load. I find it useful, but it may not be for everyone.
    > >
    > >
    > > The pullup action is almost exclusively via the hamstrings and hip flexors. For some, the
    > > effectiveness of pulling up under certain circumstances is a useful attribute. Others derive
    > > benefit during endurance events although the training required to do this for a sustained period
    > > of time is extensive and intense. Any study
    conducted
    > > without prior conditioning over a period of several months is of questionable worth.
    > >
    > > Phil Holman
    > >
    > >
    >
    > Yes, but I wasn't talking about pulling up. I was talking about
    rearward
    > follow through (mentioned by Jeff) that increases the load on the calf muscles. I only pull up on
    > the pedals when standing.
    >
    > Bret

    The calves aid in knee joint flexion but the hamstrings are the main contributor.

    Phil Holman
     
  12. Raptor wrote:
    > In a recent indoor cycling master class, I was told that a UCLA study for the US Olympic Team
    > found that consciously pulling up on the pedals was inefficient. There was more interference with
    > the opposite leg's downstroke than contribution to the pedaling motion overall.
    >
    > On a brief downtown ride yesterday featuring many stops and starts, I found myself pulling up
    > forcefully while starting and accelerating strongly. I don't feel the need to pull up while
    > cruising. Having logged 10K's of miles in my life, I'd be surprised to learn that I ride
    > inefficiently.
    >
    > Is this counter-productive effect of pulling up only apparent during cruising or steady-state
    > riding? Is there a specific Ed Burke book that examines this, or a link to this particular study?

    You are talking about two different scenarios. In terms of aerobic efficiency (i.e. long duration
    effort), pulling up on the pedals can be inefficient.

    On the other hand, maximal accelerations are not about energy efficiency, they are about putting as
    much muscle force to the pedals as possible (energy efficiency be damned). In these situations, a
    little extra muscle force can be attained by actively pulling up on the pedals (despite the relative
    inefficiently in terms of energy consumption).

    Analogously, during maximal accelerations riders will also forcefully pull on their handlebars,
    utilizing arm and upper body muscles to increase instantaneous power. Trying to use the upper body
    in a similar fashion during sustained aerobic efforts would be an inefficient use of energy.

    Mark McMaster [email protected]
     
  13. Hawke

    Hawke Guest

    "Mark McMaster" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > Raptor wrote:
    > > In a recent indoor cycling master class, I was told that a UCLA study for the US Olympic Team
    > > found that consciously pulling up on the pedals was inefficient. There was more interference
    > > with the opposite leg's downstroke than contribution to the pedaling motion overall.
    > >
    > > On a brief downtown ride yesterday featuring many stops and starts, I found myself pulling up
    > > forcefully while starting and accelerating strongly. I don't feel the need to pull up while
    > > cruising. Having logged 10K's of miles in my life, I'd be surprised to learn that I ride
    > > inefficiently.
    > >
    > > Is this counter-productive effect of pulling up only apparent during cruising or steady-state
    > > riding? Is there a specific Ed Burke book that examines this, or a link to this particular
    > > study?
    >
    >
    > You are talking about two different scenarios. In terms of aerobic efficiency (i.e. long duration
    > effort), pulling up on the pedals can be inefficient.
    >
    > On the other hand, maximal accelerations are not about energy efficiency, they are about putting
    > as much muscle force to the pedals as possible (energy efficiency be damned). In these situations,
    > a little extra muscle force can be attained by actively pulling up on the pedals (despite the
    > relative inefficiently in terms of energy consumption).
    >
    > Analogously, during maximal accelerations riders will also forcefully pull on their handlebars,
    > utilizing arm and upper body muscles to increase instantaneous power. Trying to use the upper body
    > in a similar fashion during sustained aerobic efforts would be an inefficient use of energy.

    This be true but instead of pulling up try using the motion that is like "scrapping dog shit from
    the bottom of your shoe".

    Hawke
     
  14. What my coach has had me do (2nd year rider, M35+4) is one month concentrate on the 'ole "scrape the
    mud off..." and then the next month concentrate on feeling the top of your shoe near the top of the
    stoke and then cramming your toes into the toe box of the shoe as your foot comes over the top. Idea
    is over time you can do this without concetrating, it just gels.

    In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] says...
    >
    > "Raptor" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > > In a recent indoor cycling master class, I was told that a UCLA study for the US Olympic Team
    > > found that consciously pulling up on the pedals was inefficient. There was more interference
    > > with the opposite leg's downstroke than contribution to the pedaling motion overall.
    > >
    > From what I've read on the subject, which is admittedly not much, you get a more efficient pedal
    > stroke by riding as though you're scraping the mud off your shoes. i.e. pulling back after you've
    > stomped down on the pedals. It is hard to consciously change your pedalling action though, and
    > obviously it requires that you be set up correctly.
    >
    > cheers, Jeff
    >
     
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