||01-17-14 08:18 AM
Originally Posted by Velocirapture
I'm also intereste in giving this a try... but just to check i've got it right; are you focussing on the scrape along the bottom (glutes?) and pull up with the hammies, vs the kick over the top and stomp down (quads and glutes)?
With the pedal at the top of the circle, keep your back straight and stiff and drive the pedal down using your hip extensors. So instead of treating your hamstrings in a secondary role by using them to pull on the pedal, you use the muscle as a primary driver as the pedal is going down.
Basically, your hamstrings can be used in two ways since they cross two joints: as a muscle to close the knee (knee flexor) or as a muscle to extend the hip (hip extensor). When you pull up on the pedal, you are using your hamstring to close your knee joint. If you keep your back straight and stiff, you can use your stiff back to serve as a platform for the hamstring and glutes to extend the hip. When you do this, your quads are still doing their thing because the knee is also extending, but you are adding the hamstring and glutes to drive the downstroke. This means the hamstrings are unavailable to pull up on the pedal as the leg is recovering, but I think this is okay, as you don't really get a good drive (and things tend towards injury since the leg isn't really designed to apply force in retraction) if you pull too much on the pedals, and pulling tends to pull the rear wheel off the ground anyway.
What put me onto this was the observation that when deadlifting and squatting, much of the power comes from the hamstrings and the quads seem almost secondary. These motions are not all that different than the pedaling motion, the primary difference is most cyclists ride with soft backs which take the hip extensors right out of it. I tried some things and found a lot more power.