pedaling technique when standing



slowfoot

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Jan 18, 2008
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this may be a "wtf" question but i'll try anyways.

when standing when climbing should i try to pedal in circles (pushing and pulling up) which requires much greater core strength but generates much more power , or just rock and jab on the pedal which isn't as smooth but i can sustain for a longer period of time.

a subtle difference that i can easily switch between just trying to figure out how i should focus on training my muscle memory.

dt
 

daveryanwyoming

Well-Known Member
Oct 3, 2006
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It depends on 'why' you're standing.

If you're on a long climb and standing to change up the muscle load a bit and get some rest without losing too much speed you just gently rock the bike back and forth and let your body weight fall on each pedal. In this case the upper body is fairly relaxed and just rhythmically swaying the bike from side to side.

If you're standing to deal with a particularly steep grade then you actively pull on the bars and really claw at the pedals to deliver the high torque needed to climb really steep grades when you lack the low gearing.

Pretty much the same thing but more dynamic if you stand up to attack or close a gap, pull more on the bars, use a lot of force on the pedals, perhaps focus on pulling up a bit but still most of the power comes on the downstroke

And if full out sprinting it's similar but you'll be more crouched, not standing tall or extending your legs fully on each stroke, keeping your arms heavily flexed both to allow a firm pull on the bars and to hold a low aero position as you accelerate in a sprint.

They're all versions of standing up but they're all a bit different.

-Dave
 

davereo

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Jun 17, 2010
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Pulling on your pedals is a wasted effort whether you are sitting or standing.
 

daveryanwyoming

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Oct 3, 2006
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Originally Posted by davereo .

Pulling on your pedals is a wasted effort whether you are sitting or standing.
+2...

I pretty much answered an unasked question of how to stand, not what the feet are doing. The only caveat being that when you're standing on a steep grade for lack of appropriate gears you do whatever you can to keep those cranks turning and part of that seems to be clawing for force in as much of the crank cycle as you can muster. But hopefully that's not a position you find yourself in very often or it's time to put some lower gearing on your bike.

-Dave
 

davereo

Well-Known Member
Jun 17, 2010
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Originally Posted by daveryanwyoming .

It depends on 'why' you're standing.

If you're on a long climb and standing to change up the muscle load a bit and get some rest without losing too much speed you just gently rock the bike back and forth and let your body weight fall on each pedal. In this case the upper body is fairly relaxed and just rhythmically swaying the bike from side to side.

If you're standing to deal with a particularly steep grade then you actively pull on the bars and really claw at the pedals to deliver the high torque needed to climb really steep grades when you lack the low gearing.

Pretty much the same thing but more dynamic if you stand up to attack or close a gap, pull more on the bars, use a lot of force on the pedals, perhaps focus on pulling up a bit but still most of the power comes on the downstroke

And if full out sprinting it's similar but you'll be more crouched, not standing tall or extending your legs fully on each stroke, keeping your arms heavily flexed both to allow a firm pull on the bars and to hold a low aero position as you accelerate in a sprint.

They're all versions of standing up but they're all a bit different.

-Dave
+1 good information.
 

swampy1970

Well-Known Member
Feb 3, 2008
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Originally Posted by davereo .

Pulling on your pedals is a wasted effort whether you are sitting or standing.
... unless you're on a mountain bike on an ungodly steep grade on a loose surface. Then it's not so much about trying (and failing) to generate extra power, it's all about smoothing things out.
 

slowfoot

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Jan 18, 2008
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excellent replies: thank you.

as someone who took up cycling later on, these are meaningful bits of knowledge.

as i try to imitate those more advanced cyclists, without a coach , the subtle mechanics and the whys and hows are not available.

i am always varying my pedaling mechanics, body position, etc trying to squeeze out more performance from my limited engine .

as my strength increases i am starting to appreciate having a "power" mode to attack on a climb, and also have the "changeup" mode to relieve those sore parts.

as opposed to trying to just survive to the top, i have some tactics :)

dave