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Old 06-07-07, 11:15 PM   #1
donrhummy
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Training with powercranks: insane improvements!

This guy started working with them at 38 after years of cycling and made HUGE improvements. Anyone here used them? Any cheaper ways of achieving the same thing?

http://www.pezcyclingnews.com/?pg=fullstory&id=4906

His improvements:
* 17% increase in VO2 max
* 20% increase in VO2 max/kg
* 11% increase in max power
* 39% increase in his FTP (1 hour) power
* 23% increase in long term sustainable power.
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Old 06-07-07, 11:37 PM   #2
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The PowerCrank guys live within a 20 min drive from me so I had a chance to test ride them. In fact, they were nice enough to give me a set on loan for about 2 weeks. Here are a couple of observations:

(1) It takes a lot of time to get used to these. In fact, I think it took about a week for me to be able to do even minimal workouts with them and I wasn't even pedaling the "proper" way the entire time either. I've heard other people say it can take a couple of months before you can do your normal workouts with them and pedal properly all the time.

(2) It really works your hip flexors!! These muscles will scream at you for quite a while until you get used to the PC's. However, when you get back on your regular bike, you will feel more confidant about being able to generate power around the entire pedaling circle. You'll also notice improvements in dead spots (if they existed beforehand).

(3) It forces you to stop being lazy and generate power throughout the entire pedal circle. If you don't do this (or if there is an imbalance between legs) then you will feel a huge force pulling the pedals down to the 6 o'clock position. At that point, the bike will just be coasting until you get the pedaling right again.

If they weren't so expensive, I'd buy a set because I felt after 2 weeks it was beginning to improve upon some of my bad habits. However, I'd say that by doing one-legged drills and riding on a fixed gear you could probably get some similar effects. The one leg drills could help correct weaknesses between legs. The fixed gear could help with pedaling mechanics. If you stop pedaling, I guess you just get bucked off the bike. The only thing I wonder about with fixed gears is what happens if you just let the bike spin your legs around without actually trying to generate power. Does that work?
I'm speculating that with a fixed gear you still can't be lazy, but you can be slightly less lazy with PC, where you really can't be lazy at all.


By far the best thing about PowerCranks is the way you can freak people out with them!! I made a point of riding with them during my lunch break when lots of people were out running or on walks. I would deliberately ride past the cafeteria at work, or the most crowded places and then pedal "dolphin style". This is where you pedal with both legs in phase. This never failed to freak people out every time!!!
Some people even screamed "there is something wrong with your bike", others would laugh, but most would just stare and then have to pick their jaw up off the ground.

They could also be useful in races, particularly in crits. Imagine being able to pedal at high speed through a corner without ever worrying about scraping a pedal on the ground! You could keep the inside pedal up and then pedal only with the outside leg. To bad I suck too much at crits for this to be effective.
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Old 06-07-07, 11:44 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snicklefritz
The PowerCrank guys live within a 20 min drive from me so I had a chance to test ride them. In fact, they were nice enough to give me a set on loan for about 2 weeks. Here are a couple of observations:

(1) It takes a lot of time to get used to these.
(2) It really works your hip flexors!!
(3) It forces you to stop being lazy

If they weren't so expensive,
Thanks for the post! Yeah, I'd buy them too if they weren't so expensive. I wish there was a way they could do it like Shimano's crank lines, with a cheap pair, intermediate, etc. If they were $150 I'd have a pair!

I did do one-legged hills for about 3 weeks (1 time a week) and I noticed a difference but somehow got sidetracked. I have to add those back in.
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Old 06-07-07, 11:47 PM   #4
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One more thing...given the amount of time it takes to really get used to these, it's best to start with them in the off season if you're a racer. The 2-3 month adaptation period I think would take too much out of races or race training. However, it perfect for the winter when people have a lot more flexibility in their programs.
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Old 06-07-07, 11:51 PM   #5
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sweet, that gives me like 6 months to save up.

This + Q rings = unstoppable
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Old 06-08-07, 02:35 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donrhummy
This guy started working with them at 38 after years of cycling and made HUGE improvements. Anyone here used them? Any cheaper ways of achieving the same thing?

http://www.pezcyclingnews.com/?pg=fullstory&id=4906

His improvements:
* 17% increase in VO2 max
* 20% increase in VO2 max/kg
* 11% increase in max power
* 39% increase in his FTP (1 hour) power
* 23% increase in long term sustainable power.
That story was discredited soon after it was published.
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Old 06-08-07, 04:26 AM   #7
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I plan on posting a thread claiming Optygen is 50% more potent than EPO soon.

Stay tuned.
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Old 06-08-07, 06:49 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Squint
That story was discredited soon after it was published.
Where? Please post a link.
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Old 06-08-07, 06:56 AM   #9
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Where? Please post a link.
There were long discussions on the wattage forum, Slowtwitch, and probably also Weight Weenies.
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Old 06-08-07, 07:16 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Squint
There were long discussions on the wattage forum, Slowtwitch, and probably also Weight Weenies.
correct, they were long, and they were discussions, but I'm not sure that anyone has successfully "discredited" mr. power cranks claims. just as I'm not sure Mr. powercranks claims are valid. I do know folks who swear by these as being a very instrumental tool for their own individual improvement, although I'm not so sure the improvement wasnt related to the training they were already doing regardless of using the powercranks or not.

Summary - powercranks are very spendy, their usefulness is debatable, spend your money on zipps.
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Old 06-08-07, 07:31 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MDcatV
correct, they were long, and they were discussions, but I'm not sure that anyone has successfully "discredited" mr. power cranks claims. just as I'm not sure Mr. powercranks claims are valid. I do know folks who swear by these as being a very instrumental tool for their own individual improvement, although I'm not so sure the improvement wasnt related to the training they were already doing regardless of using the powercranks or not.

Summary - powercranks are very spendy, their usefulness is debatable, spend your money on zipps.
It was actually very simple. All he had to do was get some results at upcoming races that matched his claims. Questionable numbers (which we see here from time to time) should be accompanied by results otherwise they will remain questionable numbers.

Or as others have put it, "extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof."

Lastly, the Powercranks inventor is well known for making ridiculous marketing claims. He always claims that Lance, whoever wins Ironman Hawaii, etc., is secretly using his product.
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Old 06-08-07, 07:33 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MDcatV
correct, they were long, and they were discussions, but I'm not sure that anyone has successfully "discredited" mr. power cranks claims. just as I'm not sure Mr. powercranks claims are valid. I do know folks who swear by these as being a very instrumental tool for their own individual improvement, although I'm not so sure the improvement wasnt related to the training they were already doing regardless of using the powercranks or not.

Summary - powercranks are very spendy, their usefulness is debatable, spend your money on zipps.
So if all the claims were true about the effect that various things have on FTP, VO2Max, and all that stuff, my FTP should've gone up by 93 watts this season. That's just based on the claims from Optygen and Sportlegs...

Think about it. You're telling me that if I just bought some powercranks my FTP would go up from 310W to 431W? That's a 39% increase, after all...
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Old 06-08-07, 07:35 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MDcatV
correct, they were long, and they were discussions, but I'm not sure that anyone has successfully "discredited" mr. power cranks claims. just as I'm not sure Mr. powercranks claims are valid. I do know folks who swear by these as being a very instrumental tool for their own individual improvement, although I'm not so sure the improvement wasnt related to the training they were already doing regardless of using the powercranks or not.

Summary - powercranks are very spendy, their usefulness is debatable, spend your money on zipps.
this reminds me of all the diet commercials that say if you use this product AND exercise and eat better you will lose weight
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Old 06-08-07, 07:36 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snicklefritz
By far the best thing about PowerCranks is the way you can freak people out with them!! I made a point of riding with them during my lunch break when lots of people were out running or on walks. I would deliberately ride past the cafeteria at work, or the most crowded places and then pedal "dolphin style". This is where you pedal with both legs in phase. This never failed to freak people out every time!!!
Some people even screamed "there is something wrong with your bike", others would laugh, but most would just stare and then have to pick their jaw up off the ground.

you crack me up so much
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Old 06-08-07, 07:40 AM   #15
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i've read somethings where guys had a lot of trouble using them properly. which, not only made them slower, but they lost training time with the steep learning curve.
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Old 06-08-07, 07:46 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snicklefritz
However, I'd say that by doing one-legged drills and riding on a fixed gear you could probably get some similar effects. The one leg drills could help correct weaknesses between legs. The fixed gear could help with pedaling mechanics.
It would definitely seem that one legged drills would accomplish the same thing, at least to some degree.

However, I think fixed gear is exactly the opposite. You don't have to pull up, or pedal through dead spots on a fixed gear because the bike's momentum just pushes the crank right through.
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Old 06-08-07, 07:57 AM   #17
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Wow, I just checked out their website. Based on their marketing claims I would be a cat 2 by springtime.

Agree with MDCatV--Zipps are a much better option.
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Old 06-08-07, 08:11 AM   #18
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Yep, Andrew Coggan had a field day with this guy on slowtwitch.com. He posted his files from the last year and AC as well as a few other power gurus pointed out that his net gain was like 4% or some low number like that. His reply was something along the lines of, "YOU DON'T KNOW ME!"
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Old 06-08-07, 08:32 AM   #19
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(1 hour): 394 Watts at 169 bpm at 87% of VO2 Max




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Old 06-08-07, 09:40 AM   #20
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The Pwercrank guy's name is Frank Day, and he posts as 'Fday' on Cycling Forums. Coggan and the resident coach, Ric Stern, have had some funny arguments with him. Here's a few -- they go for many pages

http://www.cyclingforums.com/t-233514-15-13.html
http://www.cyclingforums.com/t-384304-20-2.html
http://www.cyclingforums.com/showthread.php?t=385334

here's a taste:


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ric Stern
You're talking trash. Simply, if typical cyclists (which you defined) increased their power output 40% there would be huge changes in cycle racing. You obviously have no idea whatsoever what an improvement of 40% means. Your typical 3rd category racing cyclist would, in a matter of months, find themself on a div1 or div 2 pro cycling team. Teams would be clamouring to sign (typical) PC users. The whole order of pro cycling would change.
Just because only 3 in 1000 people send them back to you, doesn't mean you are not "grossly misrepresenting" what your cranks can do. As you pointed out above that "most" of your customers have neither a power meter or gas analysis equipment then perhaps they actually don't know what is happening and assume that the difficulty of using your cranks is doing them good.
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Old 06-08-07, 10:03 AM   #21
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Frank Day has suggested that the reason we don't see all the top names in cycling and triathlon using them is because they want to keep the advantage to themselves. We joke about how all the pros are secretly riding Powercranks in their basements after riding outside for 4-6 hours.

In fact, it's such a well-kept secret that even though their doping rings get broken up, the pros' secret of using Powercranks is still a secret.
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Old 06-08-07, 11:02 AM   #22
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^^^^
They store the EPO, steroids, and HGH in the hollow powercrank arms.
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Old 06-08-07, 11:19 AM   #23
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On the PEZ article, note the pre-test was in February, at the low of most folks cycling fitness, and the two product tests were in August and the following April. Looks to me like the deck was stacked, as there would be some improvement between February and August. That article really reads like and infomercial to me. and a 400 watt 1hr functional threshold seems abit high to me for a 40 year old who claims to not have much time to train.
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Old 06-08-07, 11:26 AM   #24
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On the PEZ article, note the pre-test was in February, at the low of most folks cycling fitness, and the two product tests were in August and the following April. Looks to me like the deck was stacked, as there would be some improvement between February and August. That article really reads like and infomercial to me. and a 400 watt 1hr functional threshold seems abit high to me for a 40 year old who claims to not have much time to train.

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Old 06-08-07, 11:28 AM   #25
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Bangtail. Monday. 6pm.

BE THERE!

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