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Efficiency Of Pedal Stroke


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I found this article on the net...pretty interesting on how you can apply more power with different pedal strokes:


The main application of force to the pedals is in the downward
thrust which comes naturally to almost everyone.  The technique of
drawing force across the bottom of the revolution arc and upwards to
the start of the downward thrust is called ankling
The action involves a lowering of the heel as the downward force of the
pedals takes place and a lifting of the heel as the pedal begins the
upward movement of its revolution.  Think of scraping mud off the
bottom of your shoe at the bottom of the pedal stroke.  Ankling enables
the application of constant pressure upon the pedals throughout the
revolution eliminating the dead spots at the upper and lower points.
This pedal stroke requires less peak muscle contraction which spreads
the load over the muscles (engaging more calf muscles) and promote a
smooth efficient style that you?ll be able to produce more power with
less difficulty.


Different cyclists will vary in the position of their heel whilst
pedaling.  Depending on your flexibility and basic biomechanics, some
of you will use a high heel action and some of you may use a low heel
action.  Heel height also depends on your cadence (see illustration at
bottom of page). You may end up injuring yourself if you attempt to
change the basic heel height of your pedal stroke if it doesn?t feel
natural.  You should try to develop ankling within the constraints of
your basic pedaling movement.   A proper bike fit along with cleat
positioning goes hand in hand with this and is well worth the money to
optimize your pedal stroke.


The faster your cadence, the more difficult and unnecessary it will
be to use the ankling technique.  The downwards force on the pedals and
the muscle contraction will be so quick in a sprint at 150 RPM that you
won?t be able to do this effectively.  You?ll notice that track
sprinters will often use a  high heel action when in a full sprint.


Roadies often use a low heel action resulting from their cleat being
positioned past the ball of the foot (towards the toe). The low heel
technique is important in hill climbing while sitting back on the
saddle and you?ll notice an  improvement in your climbing abilities
once you master this technique.

See illustration below for example on heel action at different cadences
(pay more attention to the pedal angle than the heal angle in these
pictures. The heal appears to be higher than I would suggest. This will
depend on the flexibility of the rider).


20090505_030542_handler_image.p.jpg

         ~60-90RPM                        ~90-110RPM                   ~110+ RPM


More info at http://www.perfectcondition.ltd.uk/Articles/Pedalling/index.htm



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Do yourself a favour.  Borrow a power meter for a day and go out riding with you normal pedal stroke and note what power you get.  Then concentrate on sweeping and pulling up and getting a smooth pedal action and note you power output.  You will be amazed at the difference.  The thing is the perceived effort is the same, but the result very different.  Maintaining it is the problem...

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I hear you WH....maintaining the pulling up action is the problem.

 

I'll see if I can lay my hands on a power meter for a day or two.

 

 

 

 

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20090505_032518_CyclingMusclesC.gif

This was also very Interesting.. I think the powermeter is the bomb huh.
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20090505_032518_CyclingMusclesC.gif

This was also very Interesting.. I think the powermeter is the bomb huh.

 

Analysis paralasisConfusedConfused

 

Too much mumbo jumbo.  Just ride the thing hardWink
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Some people coach that on the 6 o' clock position the motion mimmick a person scraping mud of your foot while standing on a stoop kind of thing..LOL sorry terrible description.

But this is very Interesting.. I think I will be blown away at how inefficient my stroke is, also Right and left legs..
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Great post!

 

I have tried the "pulling up" as well, but also battle to continue this for a long time. I don't think I get more tired, just that I lose concentration and forget to peddle properly!

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Great post!
I have tried the "pulling up" as well' date=' but also battle to continue this for a long time. I don't think I get more tired, just that I lose concentration and forget to peddle properly![/quote']

 

I practice pedal stroke on a long flat road with a cadence meter. I warm up properly for about 20 mins. Then I try think of the whole story while I turn the pedals all the way round, not just up down. I do this for about 20 minutes until Im comfortable and riding smoothly, Then I turn up the cadence and try ride at 92-98RPM which seems to be the max I can sustain without starting to bounce(this gets better/easyer the more you do it)

I then keep this cadence for as long as possible dropping gears as I need to always having a bit to "push" against so I do not "spin out". Focus on your cadence.

 

Like I said I could definately not do this as effieciently on normal busy roads as I will keep forgetting to focus on my rythem.

 

This is a great way to ponder on your stroke and develope muscles that are simply along for the ride at the moment, I meen In the end If you can divide the Intensity and Force into more muscle group you wont Fatigue so quickly.

 

I try remember a bit of this on any long ride now.
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For sure. Currently all the strain is on only a few muscles. If I can spread the load surely I will last longer.

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For sure. Currently all the strain is on only a few muscles. If I can spread the load surely I will last longer.

Alternatively you could work on making the prime movers stronger, and let the synergists and fixators come along for the ride Big%20smile
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does one get crank arm longer than 172mm, and when/who should be using them>?

 

 

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You get 175 as well...don't know however when you should use which length?!?

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You get 175 as well...don't know however when you should use which length?!?

 

Anyone knows?

 
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If you want to improve pedal efficiency get onto a indoor/turbo trainer with mild resistance.

 

Couple of days on that you will pedal the smoothest circles you can imagine!!

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