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  1. #1
    Member PishPoshh's Avatar
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    How to get a great start from standstill !

    Hello everyone !

    I was just wondering if anyone had some tips on "how to get a great start from standstill" !

    I was watching some sprints recently , and I was wondering how do the manage to start up so quickly .

    I understand it takes a lot of strength but I also understand that form and technique is key .

    Pro tips anyone is willing to share ?
    Thank you !
    Occupation : Training PKMN and riding bikes .

  2. #2
    Senior Member chas58's Avatar
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    Practice, practice, practice. I practice a lot on the road as there is plenty of opportunity to accelerate from a trackstand (at intersections). I find that I am using my calves on the upstroke a lot to really get that extra pull. You do need your cleats locked in tight though, or you’ll rip your shoes right off the pedal, and that is just no fun when out of the saddle.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Kayce's Avatar
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    Trust your holder, start with your weight back and your lead foot at around 1:30, lean forward and hammer down hard.

  4. #4
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chas58 View Post
    Practice, practice, practice. I practice a lot on the road as there is plenty of opportunity to accelerate from a trackstand (at intersections). I find that I am using my calves on the upstroke a lot to really get that extra pull. You do need your cleats locked in tight though, or you’ll rip your shoes right off the pedal, and that is just no fun when out of the saddle.
    Accelerating from trackstands, especially trackstands in traffic, is not good advice for track standing starts.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kayce View Post
    Trust your holder, start with your weight back and your lead foot at around 1:30, lean forward and hammer down hard.
    No.

    Your suggestion for pedal placement is wrong. And the advice to "lean forward" is wrong. That implies that one should lean over the front wheel which unweights the back causing it to skip.

    Here are some good examples:




    The standing start is a deceptively difficult thing to do. Most track racers don't practice it enough...if at all. But, it is key to all of the sprint events: Kilo, 500M, Team Sprint, and Match Sprinting as well as Individual Pursuit and Team Pursuit. It's probably the most overlooked part of most self-coached training programs.

  5. #5
    Senior Member chas58's Avatar
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    Anything particular you don't like about practicing accelerations on a commute? It is good practice at starting at 0 rpm and ramping up into the mid 100's and helps me concentrate on my breathing and rythm throughout the rpm range.

    As for the lean forward thing, on both of those videos the riders started out by leaning forward as far as they could, then quickly backed off to something less extreme.

  6. #6
    Veteran Racer TejanoTrackie's Avatar
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    I practice standing starts a lot, and many of my workouts consist entirely of work on this skill. One thing that I've found that works is to concentrate more on pulling up with the rear foot than pushing down with the forward foot. Pushing down comes naturally but pulling up does not. Also, I completely lock my arms like I'm trying to do a dead lift for the first 5 or so pedal revolutions and stand as upright as possible over the cranks. You need to practice starting using both your right and left feet forward to find out which works better for you. Finally practice your countdown routine, so you can minimize your delay at the start without jumping the gun. This is particularly important in a short event like the standing 500m TT, where the times between placings are separated by tenths of seconds.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member Kayce's Avatar
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    The "leaning forward" i was talking about is the small lurch that both riders make, but I didnt describe it well. As always Carleton has better info. And good videos to help.

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    Senior Member chas58's Avatar
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    wow - some good stuff to think about and work on. Thanks!

    I found that when I wasn't paying attention to my breathing, I would run out of steam after a couple hundred meters, so now I try to be very concious of my breathing and getting O2 into my lungs and hold my speed longer.

    Quote Originally Posted by TejanoTrackie View Post
    I practice standing starts a lot, and many of my workouts consist entirely of work on this skill. One thing that I've found that works is to concentrate more on pulling up with the rear foot than pushing down with the forward foot. Pushing down comes naturally but pulling up does not. Also, I completely lock my arms like I'm trying to do a dead lift for the first 5 or so pedal revolutions and stand as upright as possible over the cranks. You need to practice starting using both your right and left feet forward to find out which works better for you. Finally practice your countdown routine, so you can minimize your delay at the start without jumping the gun. This is particularly important in a short event like the standing 500m TT, where the times between placings are separated by tenths of seconds.

  9. #9
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    "Eyes up!" is probably the single most helpful cue I have found for this. Never, ever look down when doing a start.

  10. #10
    Member PishPoshh's Avatar
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    Thanks Everyone !

    I already had an idea about the "pulling up" portion of the stroke but all the advice you have given me is very helpful !

    Personally for me , I feel more comfortable doing a track stand with my left leg (I am left-side dominate) forward even though my stronger start up leg is my right leg .

    Do you think it would be reasonable to track stand with my right leg forward instead ?
    Occupation : Training PKMN and riding bikes .

  11. #11
    Senior Member chas58's Avatar
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    Practice and do what is comfortable. I use my right leg because when going off the rail its going to push you into the track easier than with the left leg up. Certainly with at time trial start on the red line, which leg is up is going to be less critical.

    As for track stands, I go either way. So yes, it is reasonable.

  12. #12
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Ahem...

    Which leg do both of the athletes in the videos start with?

    That's not a coincidence.

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    I met a lady on sunday at the velodrome who used to be a 500m world champion. Her advice was mostly - head up, hips forward, and stand for longer than you think you need to.

  14. #14
    Italian Stallion mcafiero's Avatar
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    I have been working on these lately. Here are the tips I've been getting from the team I work out with:
    1. Start with your weaker foot forward, that way the second stroke which gives you the most boost will come from your strongest leg.
    2. Almost lock your elbows as if you are pulling the bars up to your chest, and in that same motion, drive your forward foot down, paying attention to thrusting your heel down as you go.
    3. Utilize the upstroke and pull up with that leg as if you want to pull your cleat right off of your shoes.

    And something that has helped me a TON from observing some videos: right before the start, shift your body back as if you are winding up, so that when the gun goes off, you're thrusting your hips forward, using your body weight to give you a little push.
    "Go out hard. When it hurts... speed up"
    I have a grande hairy chest and I am of Italian descent.
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  15. #15
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mcafiero View Post
    I have been working on these lately. Here are the tips I've been getting from the team I work out with:
    1. Start with your weaker foot forward, that way the second stroke which gives you the most boost will come from your strongest leg.
    2. Almost lock your elbows as if you are pulling the bars up to your chest, and in that same motion, drive your forward foot down, paying attention to thrusting your heel down as you go.
    3. Utilize the upstroke and pull up with that leg as if you want to pull your cleat right off of your shoes.

    And something that has helped me a TON from observing some videos: right before the start, shift your body back as if you are winding up, so that when the gun goes off, you're thrusting your hips forward, using your body weight to give you a little push.
    So apparently you guys aren't listening to me

    Go watch the videos again. Watch every video you can find of world class team sprint and tell me which foot is forward

  16. #16
    Senior Member
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    I always start with my left foot forward. I think the most important thing about that is that you ALWAYS start with the same foot forward, whichever one it is.

  17. #17
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Fastest team in the world at the 2008 Olympics.
    The British:


    The I have been taught that left foot should be forward for 2 good reasons.

    1) When you pedal, the bike goes in the opposite direction of the foot applying force. Pedal hard with the right and the bike goes left. Being that the track tries to push your bike to the left when at a standing start, you combat this by pushing with the left foot which keeps your bike in line and not nose-diving off the track.

    2) As Mcafiero has stated "that way the second stroke which gives you the most boost will come from your strongest leg." Your second leg is the one that gets most of a full pedal stroke to work. So, the first 2 strokes through the most powerful front phase of the pedal stroke come as a little from the left foot and A LOT from the right.
    Last edited by carleton; 07-27-11 at 11:10 PM.

  18. #18
    Member PishPoshh's Avatar
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    Oh okay that makes sense .

    So lets just say if someone's left leg is stronger , then they should be starting on the right foot then ?


    Any tips on how too straighten up the front tire during the start ? I tend to have my front wheel facing a 10 o'clock position usually .
    Occupation : Training PKMN and riding bikes .

  19. #19
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PishPoshh View Post
    Oh okay that makes sense .

    So lets just say if someone's left leg is stronger , then they should be starting on the right foot then ?

    Any tips on how too straighten up the front tire during the start ? I tend to have my front wheel facing a 10 o'clock position usually .
    I give up.

  20. #20
    Member PishPoshh's Avatar
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    Sorry Carleton , I do understand what you mean with the left foot forward always .

    I guess I was just thinking for a flat surface perspective .

    Thank you again for your efforts , it really does make sense .
    Occupation : Training PKMN and riding bikes .

  21. #21
    Senior Member
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    Look up and forward to track straight out if the gate. If you look down you'll be all over the place. I'm seeing this in 75% of the riders here at masters nats. "eyes up!" is simple and very effective.

  22. #22
    Italian Stallion mcafiero's Avatar
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    Carleton - you're right. I can't find any videos with anyone starting with the right foot forward.
    "Go out hard. When it hurts... speed up"
    I have a grande hairy chest and I am of Italian descent.
    2010 Cannondale Supersix
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