Cycling Pedalling Technique for Triathletes
I work a lot with beginner cyclists and athletes new to triathlon & racing. Not too long ago I was one of those people. Riding a bike fast takes patience, a good set up and many many hours in the saddle building strength and endurance.
Sometimes however, basic technique points are over looked due to favouring time in the saddle.
BELOW ARE A FEW TIPS FOR PERFECTING YOUR CYCLING TECHNIQUE AIMED AT FLAT ROAD CYCLING AND TIME TRIALING FOR TRIATHLON:
- Ensure you have a correctly set up bike where the seat is not too high (or low). Refer to a previous GPC blog on why bike fit is so important here.
- Make sure your hip, knee and ankle are in alignment and don’t move out of this line when pedalling. If they do some adjustments to your bike set up or the use of orthotics may be required – see your Physio.
- Pedal in circles. This is much more achievable when clipped into the pedal. Rather than simply stomping on the pedal & pushing down. Aim for a smooth pedal stroke without bouncing up & down on your saddle.
- The first phase from the top to approx. 5 o’clock is the push down phase. Recruit big muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings & glutes. Drop heel down (so foot is almost flat) to gain the most out of these muscles. In a time trial or road aerodynamic position think about flattening your back to assist in glute activation & decreasing drag forces.
- The second phase is from 5 o’clock to 8 o’clock is the “scraping mud from your shoe” phase. You will start to recruit your calf muscles more in this phase alongside the bigger muscles of phase 1.
- The third phase takes us back to 12 o’clock. Hamstrings & calf muscles take a bigger role here in pulling the pedal back up to the top. This is a commonly missed phase of the pedal stroke. Don’t lift the heel too much otherwise there is a tendency to keep the heel high during phase 1.
Photo- Source Unknown
TIPS FOR PRACTICING PEDALING TECHNIQUE:
- Get a bike fit
- Seek help from a qualified & experienced coach
- Attend a cycle specific (not fitness) indoor cycling class. This reduces the attention needed to concentrate on the road & more time on your cycling
- Use a harder gear & lower cadence (or RPM) to help “feel” muscle activation
- Watch the pros to get a visual of what to aim for