How To Pedal Like A Pro | Cycling Technique

How To Pedal Like A Pro | Cycling Technique


– I’ve got memories of
learning to ride a bike and once I found my balance,
being told by my parents to just pedal, well, that’s
what a lot of us still think we need to do, and to a
certain extent, we’re right. But there is actually some
technique to doing it well. So we’re gonna be breaking down the pedal stroke and showing
you how to pedal like a pro. (rock music) For this video, we’re gonna presume you’re already cycling clipped-in. If you are relatively new
to cycling with cleats, then you might still be guilty of just pushing down on the pedals. But the advantage of
riding clipped-in means you can make that pedaling
circle more continuous. If you watch the pros, their
pedal strokes look smooth but the power isn’t
purely on the down phase, it’s also slightly into the back phase. So you want to imagine
your foot coming down and then scraping backwards. And also, try and picture
lifting your knees. Realistically, you’re
not gonna be pulling up, but it will help you picture
that smooth pedaling circle. You need to avoid stomping on your pedals as this wastes energy with excess movement and ends up relying purely
on your quad muscles. So, try and picture drawing
a circle with your feet and then making it a smooth transition that’s seamless from left to right. (upbeat music) Having the correct saddle height is important for efficient pedaling. Aim to have a knee bend
of about 25 to 30 degrees when your foot is at the
bottom of the pedal stroke. If your saddle’s too
high, then you’re gonna be compensating by moving your hips too much, and if it’s too low,
you’re gonna be limiting the amount of power that you can put out. When it comes to upper
body, you want to remain as still as you can, whilst importantly, still being relaxed. So, engage your core, and this will allow your legs to work efficiently. Any excess movement with the upper body is just gonna be energy wasted. Talking of saving energy,
the same goes for your knees. Now, they only need to move in one plane, and that’s forwards and
backwards, not side to side. If it helps, imagine
having your leg between two narrow panes of glass,
and your knee facing forwards. You don’t want it pointing out, or in, or moving laterally
throughout your pedal stroke. And if you’re not sure if
you’ve got the correct tracking, try and get someone to
film you from the front, or prop your Turbo in front of a mirror and you can see for yourself. And if your knee is in
a strange direction, it could be due to muscle
tightness or weakness, but we’ll be covering that in a moment. If you have access to rollers, then learning to ride on those will naturally promote
a smooth pedal stroke. Anything less than that
and you are quite likely to end up on the floor. But a more realistic
option for most of us, and a safer one, would be the Wattbike as you can use that to track
the shape of your pedal stroke, and then you can compare
your right and your left and look at the transition
from side to side. And then when you head out onto the road, if you are fortunate enough to have a dual-sided power meter,
you can compare the power between your right and your left leg. And hopefully, they’ll be the same. Heading back onto the safety of indoors on the Turbo or the Wattbike, you can do some single leg drills. Or, if you’re feeling
confident, take them outside. Now, the advantage of
pedaling with one leg, it’ll naturally force
you, and over exaggerate a smooth pedal stroke, and will help you to activate the correct muscles. Another drill is to find a hill, and drop your cadence right
down to around 40 to 50 rpm and this will identify any
dead spots in your pedal stroke and help you work out
what you need to work on. When it comes to riding out of the saddle, you’re not gonna be able to maintain that scrapping back action
and you are naturally gonna move your upper body
more than when you’re sitting, but still try and focus on
keeping that pedal circle and try to remain as smooth
and effortless as you can. Even if it doesn’t feel it,
or in my case, even look it. We see a lot of the pros
incorporating over-gearing and under-gearing
efforts in their training and this helps activate all the muscles and uses them in
different ways and it also can identify any weak
spots in your pedal stroke, so try and incorporate both ends of the spectrum
in your training. For example, you can
find a long steady hill and work with over-gearing,
aiming for around 60 rpm, but don’t forget to include
some under-gearing as well, maybe in your warm up,
working at around 100 rpm. Now, we have touched on
cycling cadence for triathlon in the past, and I personally
like to try and match my cycling cadence to my running cadence. That’s around 85 rpm, and
it’s thought that this will help your transition
onto the running. Try and include the
majority of your riding to be around that rpm. And on this topic, you obviously need to be able to change gear smoothly so it’s important to
read the road up ahead to make sure you can
continue to pedal smoothly. (rock music) There’s plenty you can
do away from the bike to improve your pedaling technique and your efficiency as well. Let’s start with the core. Having a strong and engaged core will allow your legs to
work much more efficiently, so try and fit in two to
three core sessions a week. I’m sure you’ve heard it before, glute activation is essential. Now, it’s often thought of with running, but can be overlooked
when it comes to cycling, but if your glutes are a little bit weak, it can cause your knee to drop in, and makes your quads do all the work, so you want to get those glutes firing with some good, gym-based exercises. It’s important to complement
your strengthening and activation exercises with stretching and flexibility, especially
around the hip area, because being able to get
into the correct position and feel comfortable so you can hold it for long periods of time, will
make your pedaling smoother, and as a result, you’ll become
a more efficient cyclist. Whoever said riding a bike is simple? Admittedly, changing
your pedaling technique is gonna require some patience. Just think about how many revolutions you would have done
with your current style. That said, a few tweaks here and there both on and off the bike can dramatically improve your pedaling efficiency. Now if you’ve enjoyed this and you want to catch more GTN videos, hit the globe to subscribe. If you want to see a video
when we looked at the optimal cycling cadence for running
off the bike, that’s just here. If you want some ideas
for some core exercises to help your pedaling, that’s just here.