Pedal Stroke

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by aloewens, Jul 12, 2003.

  1. aloewens

    aloewens New Member

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    As I watch the pros ride the Tour De France, I notice that their pedal stroke varies from rider to rider and some are quite unusual. Some have their toes pointed down (like Pantani) while others rotate their ankels quite a bit. I find that I often keep them more or less level. What is the most efficent pedal stroke for a intermediate rider?
     
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  2. n crowley

    n crowley New Member

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    I don't know what is meant by efficient pedaling, there are too
    many factors involved. But the most beneficial pedaling is the
    technique that can naturally eliminate the dead spot area because it enables you to use a higher gear for the same
    effort required for a lower gear by a rider who could not
    eliminate that area. To put it another way, you are gaining
    mins. of extra pedaling time per hour in a TT. That has to
    be a toes down style but none of the pros are using it.
    They are using variations of the same basic round pedaling style
    which can depend on saddle set back etc. or some may even
    switch styles while relaxing muscles. It's in the TT's that a riders
    true style can be seen. Also when the lower gears are used
    there is no time for ankling assistance so then it would appear
    more of a toes down style.
     
  3. Naughty_hitter

    Naughty_hitter New Member

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    Could someone expand on pedaling styles i.e. different types, whats good, whats wrong, etc? Thks
     
  4. Geonz

    Geonz New Member

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    Seems it makes sense to rotate some so that you're hanging onto a good angle. But heck, I pretty much stick to "round and round, not up and down." I'd love to hear more ideas. I expect it's like any other sport -- if somebody does it one way and wins, everybody tries to copy - till they get beat by somebody with a different twist.
     
  5. pj_s

    pj_s New Member

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    I reckon rotating is good, you have the dead point in your stroke, use more muscles, etc - in addition to that the following:

    A cycling buddy of mine is also a fysiotherapist - he explained that the angle of the foot also determines which muscles are used: toes down means more calf muscles, heels down and the back of your thighs are used more

    I translate this as follows: as your thighs are bigger than calves it makes sense to keep your heel down as your leg goes down. When you approach the downwards vertical, rotate your ankle a bit (=heel upwards) to pull the pedal through (and up) the vertical position. do the opposite at the upwards vertical.

    I've been thinking about this a while - would appreciate additional ideas....
     
  6. n crowley

    n crowley New Member

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    When you can use exactly the same foot position on the
    pedals when you are applying maximum power from the saddle
    as you do when spinning at 150 to 200 revs, you are on a
    winner. You can never do that by pedaling in the way you
    describe. It is possible, Anquetil did it.
     
  7. coolworx

    coolworx New Member

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    I imagine if you studied most riders they alternate riding styles as the miles (or K's) unwind. Sometimes 'ankling', sometimes 'tracing circles', sometimes 'pulling' (assuming your clip[less]ed in), and sometimes goldbricking on the 'dead spot' in guilty pleasure (relief?)
     
  8. n crowley

    n crowley New Member

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    That is true but what is usually meant by pedaling technique is
    the method used by a rider when riding a 10 m. TT or 4 K track
    pursuit.
     
  9. 2LAP

    2LAP New Member

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    By definition you use a pedalling technique WHENEVER you pedal!!! Pedaling Technique, does not 'usualy' describe the technique used by riders in a 10 m TT or 4 K track pursuit. Any cycling event has a pedalling technique, even RR, BMXers, speedway riders, etc.

    I thought you knew about biomechanics! An efficent pedaling technique is simply a pedalling technique that uses less energy to do the same amount of work (e.g. average or peak power output)than another pedaling technique. Simply, this results in a rider being able to maintain a higher average power output for the same length of time, the same power output for longer or a slightly higher power output for longer.
     
  10. crowley

    crowley New Member

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    So if it is as simple as that, you must have the answer.
    What is the most efficient technique?
    I'm satisfied with the most beneficial technique, the one
    that gets you from A to B in the fastest time and that is
    the linear pedaling style that was used by Anquetil.
     
  11. VeloFlash

    VeloFlash New Member

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  12. ric_stern/RST

    ric_stern/RST New Member

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    Noel,

    irrespective of how people pedal, the quickest route between two points will always be when the person produces the most power output (when of course environmental, topographical conditions and CdA are the same), unless you know how to defy the laws of physics :).

    The most efficient, which might have nothing to do with going fast is the one that requires expending the least amount of energy for a given power output. Most research shows that a slower than optimal cadence is the most efficient (i.e., VO2 is decreased).

    I wish you'd take wayne up on his offer...

    Ric
     
  13. 2LAP

    2LAP New Member

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    You are right Crowley, the 'optimum' technique may be different from the 'most efficent' technique.

    Sprinters use a technique that is particularly inefficent (as energy consumption isn't really a concern here), but allows them to produce the greatest power output for the duration of the sprint.

    Endurance riders will seek the most efficent technique as a limiting factor in endurance is usualy the ability to produce energy (aerobicaly or anaerobicly) and the more 'efficently' this energy is used the higher the output that is sustained.

    I'm sorry you took my post wrongly, the two answers that I provided (i.e. (1) pedal technique and (2) efficency) can be found in a dictionary or biomechanics text book. Simply, 'technique' and 'efficency' have accepted deffinitions/concepts, that you either said you didn't know about (in the case of efficency) or were using wrongly (in the case of technique).

    In terms of what's the best technique to use, there is actualy quite an easy answer here. Generally, riders with even a little experiance will select the best technique to use within the constraints placed upon them (e.g. physical characteristics, position, gear, etc.) in any situation. This self selection improves further with increases in experiance. There are many psychological theories and hypothesis that explain why this is the case, perhaps the most interesting is 'Bernstein's Theory'. You should check this out.

    I can see that you are a big fan of the 'Anquetil' technique, but without evidence that it works or even a clear discription about why it is significantly different from normal cycling; I am unable to offer your case support. I would suggest that you accept the offer of lab testing that was made to you; as this will help you prove your case and shut up all your critics. Hasn't the lab time even been offered for free?
     
  14. crowley

    crowley New Member

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    What is the purpose of finding or using the most
    efficient technique in serious bike racing. In road
    races you are sitting in behind other riders for
    most of the time, almost being towed along, in
    time trials you give all that you can give, so where
    does that leave efficient pedaling.
    By using the most beneficial technique, you can include
    the dead spot area as part of your main power
    application stroke and generate the additional power
    that is required in order to take full advantage of this
    additional area by having the ability to combine arm
    resistance with hip/thigh power when riding at speed
    in the saddle.
    But most benefit comes from the elimination of the
    root cause of "on the bike" lower back pain, which is
    the natural round pedaling style.
    This is where I will start my proof because for the
    worst victims there will be a definite yes or no answer.
     
  15. ric_stern/RST

    ric_stern/RST New Member

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    i'd say that being efficient has at least some importance. For instance during long races, you're wanting to conserve as much energy as possible.

    You've yet to explain properly how you can combine arm 'resistance' into propelling the bike forward. Especially as this 'movement' can't be noted and you have to 'think' it. Repeatedly, you've been offered the chance to have your/Anquetil's special magic pedalling to be analysed, with everything being paid for. For some reason you keep turning it down, even though you constantly mention it on several forums for the last few years.

    Thus, your message is now sounding very much like a troll. I suggest put up or shut up.

    Ric
     
  16. 2LAP

    2LAP New Member

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    You have answered your own question here Crowley!!!!!

    In road racing you ride behind other riders because it IS more efficent (i.e. YOU USE LESS ENERGY WHEN DRAFTING FOR ANY GIVEN SPEED). In time trialing you use all that you can give and also choose an aerodynamic position and efficent cadence to make the most of 'all that you can give'.

    We are not talking about choosing the most efficent cadence here, but choosing the most efficent pedaling technique at any given power output. If I were to ride at 500 watts using a very inefficent technique, I would not be able to maintain that effort as long as I could have using a more efficent technique!

    In many cases in cycling the most beneficial or optimum technique for performance is likely to be the most efficent. Obviously, the most beneficial or optimum technique for reducing back pain may well be the least efficent, however this technique is likely to have negative effects on maximal performance in a person without back pain.

    Oh, and remember just because back pain is reduced doesn't mean that it will result in performance increases for 'normal' riders. That will need different evidence.

    Check out the definitions of 'economy' and 'efficency' in a biomex text book, I think you will find it interesting.
     
  17. crowley

    crowley New Member

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    I never mentioned reducing back pain, what my
    pedaling does is completely eliminate it, even the worst
    cases.
    As you and all others know of only one way to pedal,
    research to date is not on finding the most efficient
    pedaling technique but rather on finding the most
    efficient way of using the same basic round pedaling
    style.
    As for combining arm resistance with leg power and
    not moving the hand/arm, it is easily explained.
    Imagine you are standing upright, hands by your sides,
    the front half of your right shoe is resting on a slightly
    raised pressure plate and your right hand is grasping
    a fixed lever handle. As you apply pressure from the
    right shoe to the plate, this pressure can be increased
    even further by the continuous pulling of the arm without any visiable arm movement except for the
    working of the muscles and this increased pressure
    could continue even if that plate moved downwards.
    This is because the lines of pulling force and downward
    pressure force are parallel or to put it another way, in
    opposite directions. This is one of the main differences
    between the two completely different pedaling techniques and can be easily done by the vital change
    in the method of tranferring or directing power from
    shoe to pedal with that well known Anquetil toes down
    technique.

    As has been already stated, this is getting nowhere.
    I have no more time to waste.
     
  18. ric_stern/RST

    ric_stern/RST New Member

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    If i'm not mistaken, more days are lost at work through back pain, than any other condition. Thus, if you (or maitre Jacque) had found a way to eliminate back pain completely, medics who deal with back pain would be biting your hand off to find and exploit your cure. You would be an exceedingly well off person.

    Ric
     
  19. 2LAP

    2LAP New Member

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    Sorry, I should have quoted you correctly!!! At least reducing back pain is in the same direction as eliminating it!!! I am sure that anyone would be happy with a small reduction in back pain, eliminating back pain would be a miracle. As Ric suggests you are going to be a very rich man. You may even be able to help my gran out.

    Do you remember the other tread where we talked about isometric contractions in the upper body that 'stablised' and provided a base for contactions in the lower body to work against? Remember that I said that this was normal when riders worked hard (like on a climb)? This is what you have described, normal cycling technique and not something new (perhaps I've been using the Anquetil technique for years allong with everyone else I've raced against).

    Agreed and sorry for wasting your time; but this is a discussion forum after all.
     
  20. crowley

    crowley New Member

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    You have got it wrong again, the back pain that I am
    referring to is "on the bike only" back pain.
    A rider starts a TT and soon after starting the back pain
    begins and continues to increase in intensity until the
    rider is forced to climb off for relief. This cycling related
    lower back pain ceases as soon as the rider climbs off
    his bike. It is caused by the continuous back strain
    associated with round pedaling and is eliminated by
    using Anquetil's style which gets rid of all back strain.
    This type of back pain has forced many riders out of
    the sport. The only advice they have always been given
    is to try every possible adjustment of their equipment,
    this can sometimes solve the less serious cases by
    reducing the back strain but for the more serious cases
    giving up the sport is a necessity because by continueing to suffer with the pain, they are causing
    further injury to their lower back as the intensity of the
    pain starts to increase earlier in the ride.
     
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