Pedaling technique

Although cycling is a sport highly dependent on strength, endurance, tolerance to fatigue and recovery, the importance of technical and coordination components in the practice of this sport has been greatly underestimated, even when some of them It depends not only on performance, but even more importantly on the health and safety of those who practice it.

<strong><strong>Technique in cycling</strong></strong>

Although cycling is a sport highly dependent on strength, endurance, tolerance to fatigue and recovery, the importance of technical and coordination components in the practice of this sport has been greatly underestimated, even when some of them It depends not only on performance, but even more importantly on the health and safety of those who practice it.<br><br>Therefore, we will dedicate this blog to define and give some basic advice on general technical aspects of road cycling.<br><br>The technique it is defined as the adequate, fluid, and efficient execution of a series of movements aimed at fulfilling temporal -spatial patterns with a view to achieving the best possible performance with the least energy expenditure.<br><br>In cycling we can approach the technique from different perspectives, pedaling, driving, cornering, balance control and much more, for this reason we will seek to address one topic at a time below.

<strong>The pedaling:</strong>

Years ago there was a say of the famous “round” pedaling, idealized and promulgated by many as the most efficient type of pedaling, but reality is far from this, today we know that not all muscles are designed to generate the same amount of energy and that there are muscles that need a greater energy expenditure to generate a certain power. Which is why today we say that the ideal pedaling is the “inertial”, where the aim is to generate the greatest amount of energy possible and sustainable over time during the phase of propulsion (when the foot goes down) and prevent the foot from weighing down the movement in the recovery phase (when the foot goes up), not pulling the pedal upwards with force, but simply accompanying it without generating a load on the opposite leg that is at the moment of propulsion.<br><br>Speaking more in detail, we will seek to accompany the movement of the connecting rods with a generation of force that follows the direction of their movement, it will be useless to push forward and down (purple arrow) when the connecting rod is directed down and forward. back (blue arrow), the ideal will always be to find the maximum possible coincidence between the vectors.

Focusing on the direction of the vectors, the ankle joint becomes very important, since it will be the final one in charge of determining their direction, for this reason a good bike fit and an adequate firmness of the tibial, peroneal and gastrosoleal muscles will be essential for the transmission of power. In simpler words, the firmer the ankle and less heel strike, the more efficient the direction of the pedaling vectors will be.<br><br>All of the above have been assessments given from a side view, which although it is where you can see most of the movements on the bicycle, it will also be important to make a small review from the front view, where hip alignment will be very relevant, knee, ankle, where although the ideality will be linearity, this has its exceptions and it will be for those people who present a valgus or varus knee, where a certain natural deviation of the athlete must be respected, finding the optimum point between biomechanical efficiency and naturalness of it.

<strong>Pedaling Standing up on pedals:</strong>

Standing on the pedals may fulfill different objectives, it may be to rest by accommodating more weight on the upper part of the handlebar while removing tension from the lower limbs, to change the pace on the ascent by staying on the bottom bracket and putting 1 or 2 gears harder while accelerating, or to sprint , this last sporting gesture being the most aggressive where the cyclist is taken from the lower part of the handlebars while printing the maximum possible power for a few seconds.

<strong>The grip:</strong>

The hand and wrist are structures with great irrigation and highly innervated, so a handlebar that is too wide or narrow can generate tingling (paresthesia) in one or the other fingers, depending on where the pressure is generated, but assuming that the size of the handlebar be the right one for us (distance similar to that between the outer edges of the acromions) a fault in the technical gesture of the grip, where a great extension of the wrist is generated or the hypothenar eminence is mainly supported will generate the same discomfort. The ideal is always that the wrist is as neutral as possible and supported mainly on the thenar eminence, since in this area there is a greater accumulation of muscles that help to dampen vibrations and better support the load of the upper body.

On the other hand, when we talk about the correct place to hold the lower part of the handlebar, we find that many people hold on to the ends and not to the deepest part, thus losing aerodynamics and also the possibility of having within reach of the fingers the brakes and changes, making them more prone to an accident or delaying their response time to a rival’s attack.

Now let’s talk about the traverse and the descent, when we talk about how it should be done, we are talking about one of the key factors in safety and in the performance of those who do it in a more competitive way, although each curve has its peculiarity. There are some principles that will help us stay on the bike safely and acquire greater speed, the first thing will be to hold on to the lower part of the handlebars and flex the elbows, thus lowering our center of gravity and preventing it from leaving the base of the bike. Support that we have on the bicycle, then comes the importance of keeping our eyes straight ahead to be able to anticipate obstacles on the road, find the best paved places and take the curves at the ideal angle (open – closed – open), when in a descent we are turning at high speed it will be important that the bicycle leans slightly more than our body, this way we will avoid that most of the mass leaves the base be of lift and let’s fall.

To wrap up, we will talk about how to deal with undulating terrain and large slopes, if the effort we face is of a short duration (less than 45 seconds) it is not necessary that we make a sudden change of relations and try to control our watts. We will be able to carry out a high intensity relying on the rest that comes after the effort, on the contrary, if the slope is extensive and implies an effort of many minutes, it will be important to regulate the effort and gradually change gears smoother as our cadence drops because of the loss of momentum. The ideal is that despite the changes in inclination we maintain a fluid pedaling in stable cadences and intensities, if the idea is to improve our times in the ascent, we can apply a passing technique where in the most inclined segments we will go a little more intense and in the less inclined we will go slightly smoother, without these changes exceeding 3 to 7%.<br><br>Por Pablo Pulido<br>Director metodológico de Threshold Experts sas.<br>

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