pealling push up push down

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by hurricane, Apr 14, 2005.

  1. pod

    pod New Member

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    I can relate to Ric's comments about MTB riders needing to pull up more to smooth out the stroke. Last weekend I rode a MTB up steep loose surfaced hills for the first time and traction was the limiting factor. Evening out the torque through the full pedaling cycle helped.

    On the road bike, I find pulling up while pedalling for a minute or two can provide some relief when my legs are fatigued by brining into play some different/extra muscles especially when climbing and I don't have any lower gears available to ease the pressure. I wouldn't ride like that all the time and on the flats I could achieve the same results by changing down and spinning faster.
     


  2. Mansmind

    Mansmind New Member

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    I guess I'm lucky enough to have been one of those people that started biking before reading everything telling me how to pedal. For whatever it's worth, that led me to just develop what works best for me. I can say...

    That I pedal in more than one way depending upon the situation. I don't know what words I would use to term it, but when I'm riding normally I probably pedal just like everyone else (I think). I apply the vast majority of the power on the down stroke. The power applied to the up stroke is minimal, only enough to pedal smoothly. That's probably what is referred to as "un-weighting" but I don't know.. it just seems to work better for me.

    On occasion however, and most often on a long climb, I adopt a distinctly different style. I'll alternate from using my normal pedaling style (which I feel more in my quads) to a method I don't have the words for, but I actually slide backwards on the seat and just before the top part of the stroke, I let my heel fall lower than the pedal...in this way I can apply MUCH more power to the very top of the stroke, and it seems to shift the majority of the work to my hamstrings. I suspect that by doing this, I give up about the same percentage of "power stroke" at the bottom, but the fact is it "feels" as if it lets me use fresher muscles, and generate more power.

    I have no idea what anyone would call doing that "style", although I'm curious as to if anyone else does it. Whatever it is, it works...and to me that's all that matters in the end. In many cases I can actually speed up my rate of climb without "feeling" the extra force required from my legs.

    John
     
  3. Brizza

    Brizza New Member

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    I'm not aware of a specific term for the "heal down" or "push and pull" technique, but it does work for some riders in some situations.

    MTB riders have the most continual pedaling stroke because they are familiar with the continual power required for slipery surfaces. There is an old school of thought that track riders also develop a good technique being on fixed gears, however the gear only ensures that they don't freewheel and not that they apply power throughout the rotation.

    Track riders pedal with the down action (which is why track shoes are designed with the heal up) and many great trackies are also good tour riders.

    Though one mechanism works for one rider, doesn't mean it is "better" or will work for other riders, but I do agree with Mansmind that using the upstroke can deliver a large amount of power when climbing (and also into long straights with a strong headwind similar to climbing a continual hill).
     
  4. dhk

    dhk New Member

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    I also vary my pedaling style for short periods when my quads are fatigued from climbing. If I emphasize pushing over the top of the stroke, and pulling through the bottom, it seems to give relief to the tired quads while maintaining the same power.

    Probably nothing an elite track racer would do in a short lab test of peak power, but it seems to help me a bit on the long seated climbs.
     
  5. frenchyge

    frenchyge New Member

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    I pull up quite a bit (more than just 'unweighting') when jumping into a sprint or sprinting. Especially when charging up a short, steep hill where my weight has been shifted forward, I will actually lift the back wheel at times from the force of my back leg pulling up and forward to get over the top of the crank as quickly as possible.

    Maybe sprinting wasn't included in the test with the force pedals (and I'm by no means 'elite') but there are certainly situations where there can be a substantial amount of pulling up.
     
  6. whoawhoa

    whoawhoa New Member

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    It would be nearly impossible to pull up on the pedal stroke. Remember, you're pushing down with that other pedal and the quadricep muscles are much stronger than the hamstrings. Best you can do is unweight.

    Heel Down Pedaling supposedly keeps the calf muscles from firing, which contribute little to the pedal stroke but sap energy like crazy.
     
  7. frenchyge

    frenchyge New Member

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    There may be certain cycling situations you're thinking of when you make that statement, but I assure you it is by no means impossible to do.

    Also, don't the hamstrings drive the knee down and back on the downstroke, while the quads lift the knee on the upstroke?
     
  8. mitosis

    mitosis New Member

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    There's 2 situations that I can think of where concentrating on pulling up (or more correctly pedalling smoothly in a circle) will help.

    One is out of the saddle on steep climbs on the road, where it can provide a bit of relief.

    The other is on steep climbs on the mountain bike where you are in a small gear and travelling slowly and you need to keep a smooth action to stop the wheel from spinning, as it would with uneven power application.
     
  9. dhk

    dhk New Member

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    Yes, agree. When I'm pulling up, can definately feel the tops of my feet pulling on the shoes. That's more than just unweighting. Pulling up must be using the quads, but seems to be a different part of the muscle than you use for normal pedaling.
     
  10. Mansmind

    Mansmind New Member

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    That's about the extent of any "pulling" I do. If I'm pulling against the top of my shoe that tells me it's enough. If I apply more power to the pull, I begin to focus on that as opposed to the push, and I definitely produce more power by pushing as opposed to pulling.

    In addition, the "heel-down" thing I do is still pushing, but seems to change the position of the power portion of the stroke and use different muscles, or at least uses those muscles in different ways/relationships. It "feels" like it gets my glutes more into the game and from memories of my weight lifting days, there can't be much wrong with that.

    I will say that this "style" seems to place more emphasis on the upper body, because to do what I'm referring to, you have to lock your position using arms, etc. in order to create the platform for the push.

    Granted the position is vastly different, but what it allows me to do is get just a little closer to the same action you would use on a leg press. I doubt it is nearly as efficient as pedaling in a normal way, but it definitely takes some of the stress off the quads and gives them at least a little bit of a breather.

    Perhaps it wouldn't work for everyone, but it works for me.

    John
     
  11. n crowley

    n crowley New Member

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    That style has been used by climbers who actually do a bit of pulling back as well when seated back on the saddle. It is possible to pull up effectively when out of the saddle for acceleration and steep climbing but pulling up power is limited, you can prove that by testing how much continuous repetitive pulling up power you can generate when off the bike. I do not understand how pulling up can give you smoother pedal power because you are applying it to the chain at the same time as you are supposed to be applying max downward pressure. Smoothing out the pedal stroke means attempting to apply as near as possible to equal chaindrive power to the chainwheel at all times and this can only be done by increasing the power to the pedals in the 11 to 1 o'c area of the pedal stroke. As I see it, the mistake that is made is in trying to apply equal power to the pedal throughout its 360 degree revolution when the correct way of doing it is to apply equal maximum power to each pedal through only 180 degrees of its revolution, then you have smooth pedalling.
     
  12. Brizza

    Brizza New Member

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    The idea is pull and push as hard as possible, but also to push during the 11-1 section of the pedal stroke.

    XC riders practice this on slippery surfaces, but this doesn't mean that they go "easier"on the down or up section unless they are struggling for grip.

    You know your getting better at it when different muscles feel sore. My vastus medialis has been sore after each such ride (it's not normally a cycling muscle as it extends the low leg, but I've learnt to utilise it in my pedal stroke).

    It's taken me a few years to this point and I suspect I'll be working on it forever as I grow stronger in some areas and not in others.
     
  13. n crowley

    n crowley New Member

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    The real test of any pedalling technique is can it be used for the same power generating advantages when maximum power is required at a cadence of 100, if not, you will revert back to your old style whenever you are put under pressure.
     
  14. Brizza

    Brizza New Member

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    We're talking about techniques that increase you power output, given that you've just blown everyone else off your wheel (cause you havn't moved up a grade yet) reverting back to your old technique wouldn't be a problem, although you should keep working at it so that you can maintain the technique for longer (no-one said this would make you LA overnight).

    100 is not the magic number, some riders idol (max sustainable output) above 120, others below 80, but it depends on the riders legs (LA and JU are good examples).

    There is no set rule about what works. Experiment during training with new techniques and use them if they work for you.

    [I alternate between high and low cadence during most races to give my legs a rest with each cycle.
     
  15. ganderctr

    ganderctr New Member

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    For me this style allows me to use slightly different muscles to get a 30 second break from my normal pedaling. Otherwise, pulling up is mostly ineffective except when I'm sprinting.
     
  16. Brizza

    Brizza New Member

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    Pulling up can be very useful for a quick acceleration (surges), but I'd suggest you work on "push" for sprinting.

    I like to climb using the pull and decend using the push so that my legs are constantly recoving from the last effort.
     
  17. n crowley

    n crowley New Member

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  18. Brizza

    Brizza New Member

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    While Jan might agree, I doubt Lance would.

    Just because it works for you (or Jan or Lance), doesn't make it the perfect technique, just the one that works for you.

    We need to train our body to use different techniques if they are helpful for us. Yes the body does cheat and we need to correct such problems, it's not something we perfect overnight

    Are you really suggesting that you produce the same output using platform pedals as you do with clipless?
     
  19. Mansmind

    Mansmind New Member

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    Recall that I never indicated that changing my pedaling stroke on a hill gives me more power, I only indicated that it allows me to generate power in a slightly different way. I would go so far as to say that "heel down" is not a style that would lend itself well to a very high cadence. I typically don't use it unless I'm climbing a hill that forces me below 75 rpm or so.

    I do agree that the ideal pedaling stroke would apply power over 180 degrees of the stroke evenly. I also find that to be a somewhat unrealistic goal. In theory, it seems unlikely that someone would be able to apply as much power in the 12 o'clock position as they would in the 3 o'clock position....at least if you're looking at the force of one leg.

    I also think that it's possible (in fact I know it is) to apply a minimal amount of force before 12:00... say at 11:00. It's also possible to apply a minimal force between 6:00 - 7:00. As an illustration, consider the following. (the percentages being amount of force applied)

    11:00 -12:00 15%
    12:00 - 1:00 25%
    1:00 - 2:00 50%
    2:00 - 4:00 100%
    4:00 - 5:00 50%
    5:00 - 6:00 25%
    6:00 - 7:00 15%

    I'm sure the actual force distribution is different than this, I'm merely using the values to illustrate my point. I'm also assuming insignificant power at every other position of the circle, which to me seems more efficient. In my experience attempting to "add" power by pulling up is useless. True you can make it "feel" even, but in effect I think most (I know I do) actually reduce force of the pushing leg.

    Because of the opposing nature of the cranks, There are 4 areas in this cycle in which you're getting force benefit from both legs...11 - 12,1-2,5-6, and 6-7. Net effect, when you combine both legs is that you're getting 40% force from both legs. That, to me, seems to be new found force for generating more power, or if not more power, then at least more efficient power as it is more evenly spread over the entire revolution of the cranks.

    Again, I realize the actual percentages of force applied are incorrect, they're based upon nothing other than the "feel" of riding my bike. I do NOT spend time attempting to pedal circles, although I have tried to adapt a style that feels relatively smooth. It feels very natural, and by far the most force is applied between 1-5:00. I just feel that you can get some benefit from the positions leading up to, and trailing that particular period.

    It also seems a more real world solution in the attempt to produce even force over 180 degrees of rotation. What do you think?

    John
     
  20. n crowley

    n crowley New Member

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    Applying maximum force through 180 deg. of the pedal stroke or total elimination of the dead spot area is a very simple task when you know how and I have explained it before on earlier threads on this site. Elimination of upper dead spot area also means automatic elimination of lower area.
    It's a simple case of fire/reload----pull/push. The legs do the firing and reloading while the arms do the pulling and pushing. Maximum power is fired from the hips to the pedal at 11 and continues to 5, reloading means instant and total unweighting and drawing back of idling leg to 10 for a special spring loaded effect and instant takeover of power application at 11. The pulling of the arm supplies the resistance while the pushing stabilizes for easier total unweighting in addition to supporting all the upper body weight. Despite all the pushing and pulling, an onlooker would not even know the upper body was being used. One other important item of note is that this is a linear style in which direct downward or vertical pedal pressure is never used.
    Anquetil used that linear style and an example its smoothness was given by J Bobet who rode during those years. A rider who believed that Anquetil's success in time trials was due to the wheels he was using asked for a loan of a set of his wheels. Within 3 kms. that rider had wrecked those wheels with the pedalling style he was using. As I said, we have been through all this before on other threads.
     
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