Are You Riding In The Aero Position Enough? | When To Use Your TT & Tri Bars

Are You Riding In The Aero Position Enough? | When To Use Your TT & Tri Bars


– Would you choose to ride on the TT bars, or on the hoods? I think it’s fair to say
that for the majority of us, if we had the choice,
we’d go for a road bike without TT bars for everyday riding. However, if you’re a triathlete, unless you’re doing
purely draft legal races, you’re going to need to get accustomed to being in the less natural position, down on the TT bars, and here at GTN, we get asked the question all the time, as to when you should train on your bars, and how much time you should spend there. I’m afraid to tell you right now, there’s a lot to consider. It’s not black and white. In actual fact, I think
it’s going to take me a whole video to explain
the different scenarios, so you can work out what you need to do for your personal situation. So, here goes. (electronic music) (upbeat music) In the winter months,
we see a lot of the pros giving their mountain
bikes or gravel bikes a bit of an airing. We saw Lucy Charles actually mention on her social media
that she wanted to give cyclo-cross a go, and then
we saw none other than Jan Frodeno going bikepacking. And even if the other pros
don’t go to quite such extremes, it’s very unusual to see them riding their TT bikes all year round. But, the question is, how much
do they ride their TT bikes? Well, we’ll come back to that in a moment, but there’s something major
we need to consider first. We are not quite like the
pros, us age groupers. There’s a few major differences, and that goes beyond the obvious of their wonderful selection of bikes. It’s what money can’t buy, so experience, strength, and flexibility. You can’t beat time
spent on the aero bars, and just in the saddle. You’ve probably heard of muscle memory. Well, that’s the same for
riding in the TT position, so if you have had years
training and racing in that position, you’re
naturally going to find it that much easier to get back there. And also, you’re going to be
mentally prepared for it too. (slow music) As athletes, we like numbers and examples, but getting a coach to
give you an exact amount of sessions or hours to
spend on your TT bars is quite difficult, but try to remember the aerodynamic advantage, and just think of your TT bars as your
go-to, default option. But if you really want a target, then we’d suggest that aiming for 50 to 60% of all of
your riding to be done in this TT position, and definitely all of your hard reps and
intervals on the bars. And with that, try to stay
there for your recovery as well, and not just automatically
come back to the base bars. And then your long steady rides as well, just really get used
to spending a long time on the bars in one go. (electronic music) Okay, so, that’s the numbers covered, but there’s still so much
more you need to consider. For example, some of us are
more flexible than others. Some of us might be more ambitious with our desired aero position. Even if you are flexible, and you find it really easy to get
into the aero position, I expect there’s still
some work you can be doing, and some of which can
be done off the bike, but more on that in a moment. When you’re riding in a TT position, you’re going to find that the hip angle, so that angle at the front of your hip, is going to be decreased. Basically, the distance between your thigh and your stomach will be reduced. And if you do have really stiff hips and you struggle to
get into that position, then that natural curve
that you normally have in your lower back will be
flattened to compensate, and your thoracic spine,
your middle bit of your back, is going to end up getting more arched, in order to try and reach the aero bars. So, in order to work on that off the bike, you need to do a lot of
stretching and mobility work. Yoga’s also a good idea,
and time spent in the gym. And then of course, also,
time just practicing being in that aero position. And then there’s strength,
because there’s no point in being really flexible
and able to get into a great aero position,
if you can’t actually hold it for more than a few minutes. And it does depend a little bit on how stretched out, and how narrow you’ve gone with your front end, but your shoulders are going
to need to be flexible, and to have a lot more strength than they would do if you were
just riding on your hoods. And the final area to
address, which you really can not forget, holds you all together. Yeah, it’s your core. There’s plenty of
exercises which you can do in the gym to replicate
getting stronger in the core, but realistically, to get
the smaller specific ones working that you need
to hold this position for a long time, the best way is, yeah, you know it, it’s
time in the saddle. (upbeat electronic music) I expect you’re starting to realize that there’s more time required training on the aero bars than you first thought, and I was in the same boat as you, and I know it is really tempting to just want to ride your road bike all day when it’s so comfortable, but I’m hoping that by
the end of this video, both you and myself will be convinced that now is as good a time as ever to dust off the aero bars and
get training in this position. So what else do you need to consider? Well, there are still a lot of things, such as what bike are you riding now, compared to what bike
you might be racing on. When is your race? How long and how hilly is it going to be? What are your goals? What have you changed since last year? How confident are you
riding in this position? I told you, it isn’t a simple answer. I can’t cover every bike scenario, but maybe you’re someone who rides a road bike in the
winter, and then you just put clip-on bars for the summer. Or, you have a TT bike that
you ride indoors in the winter, and then come race
season, you get that out, or maybe you’re one of those lucky people that has a winter bike, and
then a summer race bike. Whatever the situation
is, you’re just going to have to get used to changing over, and if you are someone who does just have a TT bike, and
you ride it on the turbo, well that’s great, ’cause you’re going to get used to this
position, but do make sure you’re honest to yourself, ’cause I know that I don’t spend as much time on the bars
as maybe I should think, and remember your head position, because there’s one
thing being really aero, when you’re on the turbo,
with your head down. When you come out into
the real life situation, remember you’re going to actually have to look where you’re going. And the largest difference would be if you were riding a mountain bike for cross training in the winter, and then you’re jumping on something like a TT bike, come race season, but I think you get the idea. The bigger the contrast
between the two bikes, the longer you’re going
to need to get used to it. (upbeat music) Next thing to consider
is, when is your race, and how long is it, and how long are you going to be needing to
spend on the aero bars? Say you’ve entered a
sprint distance triathlon, well, 20K, you’ve got on the bike, you’re going to be in this
position for less than an hour, but at the other end of the spectrum, if you’re doing an Iron Man, well, you’re going to be lucky if
you’re spending five hours, but realistically, it’s
going to be many more in this difficult position. And then I ask, when is your race? Well hopefully, it’s not too soon, as if you’re trying to rush time spent on the aero bars in training, it can be just as problematic
as it would be in racing. Next question, what is your goal? Are you going to do the
event to just enjoy it, and you want to make sure that
you’re really comfortable, or are you going there
to get a personal best, or maybe even a place on the podium? Obviously this is going
to influence the way you approach all of your training, but I expect you know by now, that spending more time being efficient in the aerodynamic position, where you can still put out that power, will mean the faster you’ll be able to go. (upbeat music) At the end of the day,
you’re going to be driven by your goals, and your
desired time trial position. If you’re new to riding in this position, or you’ve made a lot of
changes since last season, just give yourself plenty of time, so that you can make
tweaks to get comfortable, and confident in that position. Anyway, it’s enough of me talking. I think I need to practice what I preach, ’cause I know I’m definitely guilty of not spending enough time on these bars. But before I go, give us a
like, and whilst you’re there, why not hit that globe on
screen, and subscribe to GTN. And finally, there’s a couple of videos I think you might like if
you’ve enjoyed this one. One is how to get comfy and aero on your bike at the same time. You can find that just here. And then the other one, if
you’re riding a road bike at the moment and you want to get TT bars, you’re not sure how to clip them on, you can find that just here.