Training & Nutrition - Spinning explained
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09-30-02, 02:20 PM
Exactly what is involved in spinning? I see everyone talking about it but no one seems to say exactly what the proper technique is.
09-30-02, 03:23 PM
Proper technique involves circular motions (rather than up and down) and pulling up as well as pushing down on the pedals.
er, somethin like that.
09-30-02, 03:34 PM
Spinning is basically high-cadence, circular pedalling. The best way to get your spin right is to go as fast as you really want to go [say 30 km/h] and then downshift one gear less than the gear you have to push to go that speed. What happens is that your cadence increases, while the amount of force exerted on the pedals decreases. It permits you to produce the same amount of energy with less effort. Typically, when you're spinning, you should be pedalling fasted than 90 rpm. I feel most comrtable at @ 100 rpm.
I have also read that one-legged peddling exercises will help perfect a good spin.
There are some dissenting opinions about the value of spinning. They state that you cannot add any significant energy to the pedals by pulling up with the other leg.
I don't know whether I buy that, but I have concluded that pulling up with the other leg at least gets the weight off of the pedals while the power leg is doing the work.
But, one of the better things that I have read about spinning properly (and it comes from Greg Lemond, by the way) is to think about pulling the knee forward toward the bars (rather than pulling the leg up toward the sky).
All that said, I agree that a good cadence is one of the most important aspects. As is just tryng to make sure that your pedaling action is smooth. I rode with someone recently who had a set of goofy pedaling techniques. She was most annoying to ride behind because her bike was all over the road, just from her pedal action alone.
Spinning is just high cadence pedalling with good form.
Now some people are spinners and some are not. Gregg Lemond rode with a surprisingly low cadence - around 80 while Lance Armstrong rides at around 100 (or so I have read).
Here are some things I have found.
You need to pedal in circles - that improves the smoothness of the motion - don't just pedal up and down.
Next you need to try to expand the distance of your power stroke. Beginners might have a power stroke of 25% of the pedal arc and spinners probably do about 66%.
People talk about "pulling up on the pedals". That really does not impart much power. But you do want to unload your pedal on the upstroke. I think most riders push the pedal and their leg up on the recovery stroke with their other leg's power stroke. This robs them of power and it also keeps a constant pressure on the feet which can cause foot soreness in a long ride.
Well you can get some power on the upstroke but that is usually at low RPMs.
10-03-02, 09:11 AM
While we are at it, does anyone have any techniques or tricks for improving pedal efficiency while using flats?
O.K., any techniques or tricks, other than upgrading to clipless?
Tight $$$ doesn't quite allow the upgrade just now.
10-03-02, 09:27 AM
It is almost impossible to spin properly with plain platform pedals.
If you dont want to go clipless, use toe-clips and straps.
Racers used to cinch them tight and use slotted cleats for efficiency, but this makes them harder to release than clipless systems.
Loose ones provide a big improvement in safety and effiency over plain platforms, but still allow easy exit without having to remember to twist or unclip. Ive never heard of anyone falling over in toeclips used with loose straps.
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