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Old 09-13-02, 06:39 AM   #1
Brian_T
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Pedaling drills?

I tried my first one-legged pedaling drills this morning and didn't realize that my spin, once good, has gone out the window. The one-leg drills did NOT go very well but I'll keep working on it until I can get the idea of circles back in my legs instead of squares or the strange reverse "J" I seem to be riding right now.

Does anyone have recommendations for other drills that will help me to get my spin back?

Here's the routine from this morning ( on the trainer: )
  • Left Leg-- 2 min. 40-60 rpm
  • Right Leg-- 2 min. 40-60 rpm
  • Both Legs--2 min. 40-60 rpm
  • Left Leg-- 2 min. 60-80 rpm
  • Right Leg-- 2 min. 60-80 rpm
  • Both Legs--2 min. 60-80 rpm
  • Repeat

It was supposed to increase in tempo from there but my skills were so week that I could barely keep above the recommended tempo on the second set.

One more note:If you're considering trying this exercise and you, like me, don't have a very good spin, your legs will SCREAM after one or two reps. I thought my legs were getting pretty fit after several weeks of riding...how wrong I was.

Thanks in advance,
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Old 09-13-02, 09:31 AM   #2
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gear right down, and with little force, spin at the highest cadence in a deliberate circle. You wont travel fast, or work hard, but you will get your legs used to spinning fast.
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Old 09-13-02, 04:56 PM   #3
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MichaelW,

I'm not sure I fully understand. Are you recommending SMALL gears at high cadence? (This makes sense but I want to make sure first.)

I've been doing some searching online today for pedaling drills and increasing efficiency and have found lots of interesting articles. George Hincapie has tuned his spin with BIG gears, hill sprints, and lots of resistance which has forced him to learn how to most effeciently use the power he can generate. That sounds a little hard on the knees to me but it seems to work for USPS's hard man.

Any opinions on one-leg drills versus fixed-gear for developing the spin?

Oh yeah, still pretty darned sore from this morning...a good sore though.
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Old 09-14-02, 06:27 AM   #4
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My method is to spin against low resistance. This will train the muscles to move fast, and allow me to use my available power at high cadence on a low gear, rather than at low cadence on a high gear. its the same amount of power any way.

Spinning faster on a high gear takes more power, and I just dont have that.


For training, I use a lower gear and a higher cadence than I could normally sustain, just for a minute or 2.
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Old 09-14-02, 01:55 PM   #5
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Jobst Brandt has an interesting set of counter-arguments on the Spinning issue, and they are backed up with some physics.

See http://yarchive.net/bike/pedaling.html

I am not sure I fully believe everyone of his points, but he does have some worth consideration.

But, I have come to the conclusion that the most important thing about "spinning" is to get the weight off the pedal on the upstroke, so as not to increase the resistance that the downstroke leg has to overcome.

Just my 2 eurocents.

Cheers,
Jamie
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Old 09-14-02, 02:41 PM   #6
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Thanks for the link Jamie. I'm having a hard time getting the page to come up but I look forward to having a read once it does.

I did more one-leg drills this morning and it was a little easier (very little) to go for 2 minutes. I then tried to apply what little new muscle memory I had on the road. I had NO idea that I used to stomp on the pedals so much.

It's all a matter of efficiency. Pedal efficiently and you either go faster at the same effort or you go the same speed at less effort. It works for me. I shaved 4 minutes off my best time (this year) on a 10.62 mile loop using what I have learned over the last two mornings and I feel stronger and fresher now that I'm back.



Smooth pedaling ROCKS!
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Old 10-05-02, 05:38 PM   #7
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For spinning excercises, I'd recommend a higher gear/lower cadence. This will stop your leg from "rolling through" from the momentum of the cranks moving at high speed, and allow you to focus on a smooth movement all the way around. Once you get a good technique you'll be ready to sping quickly, but until then it's probably best to go slower and focus on smooth, steady power. As you progress and become better at spinning, you'll be able to go at a higher cadence and maintain the proper technique.

jmlee is right, you don't actually want to pull up on the pedals- just lift some weight off the leg that is not pushing. This helps spread the work across both legs, because the power leg doesn't have to also lift your other leg. Starting at the top, try to push forward, down, and then pull back- but don't actually pull up- just get the weight off the pedal. Picture a clock, you should start at 11, push forward and down to 5, and then pull back and slightly up to 7.

Good luck!

- Mike
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Old 10-09-02, 06:08 PM   #8
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Ultimate Spins- After you've warmed up, with light resistance or easy gearing- try spinning as fast as you possibly can. Don't wrry about "holding the spin" just CONCENTRATE on getting the pedals to go around FAST, if only for a FEW SECONDS.
As your "ultimate spin" increases your muscles will "fire" more effectively at your normal cadence, your "stroke" will be much smoother and yoru "dead spots" will get smaller.

Goals? The US national team members were, ( and probably still are), REQUIRED to be able to "spin" at at least at 300 rpm or higher!!!!
When I work on "ultimate cadence" ( at the beginning of each season, if I'm interested on riding well) I try to do AT LEAST 160 rpm on the road and 200 rpm on the ergometer (trainer).

I find a "fixed gear" to very helpful when working to improve cadence as well,

Try your present exercises at higher rpm- work up to and "shoot for" 90 -110 (with less resistance now and increase it as you can maintaining the higher 90 to 110 rpm) you'll have less injuries and higher speed on the bike later!!

Ride to Spin, Spin to Ride
Pat

Last edited by pat5319; 10-09-02 at 06:14 PM.
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Old 10-11-02, 02:30 PM   #9
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gawd, i hope this doesn't come out wrong. here goes.

i can certainly understand why the u.s. national team engages in exotic spinning maneuvers, but what are YOUR goals in doing it? if you plan to compete in races, i fully understand. but if you're just riding for fun and fitness, why bother? why not just ride?

i'm sorry if this sounds cynical, but it's coming from someone who also once engaged in interval training, rest days, spinning days, etc. it all seems pretty silly to me now. i just ride and i feel great.
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Old 10-14-02, 10:25 AM   #10
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I have been applying the ideas posted above now for about three weeks and just last week added the fixed-gear to the mix. I can definitely feel some improvement in my spin and getting out for longer rides is quite a bit easier than I would have anticipated.

I find the high-cadence spinning is pretty hard on the lungs but I expect that'll come as my fitness improves. I'm nowhere near 300 revs but I am doing between 110 and 125 (just a guess) for anywhere from 30 seconds to 1:15 during the morning spin.

We'll see what an entire winter of pedaling drills does for me come the early season races next year...

Thanks again for all the feedback,
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Old 10-14-02, 10:32 AM   #11
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Quote:
I'm nowhere near 300 revs but I am doing between 110 and 125
Who can do 300 revs? Is that even physically possible?
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Old 10-14-02, 03:55 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by Bandit
gawd, i hope this doesn't come out wrong. here goes.

i can certainly understand why the u.s. national team engages in exotic spinning maneuvers, but what are YOUR goals in doing it? if you plan to compete in races, i fully understand. but if you're just riding for fun and fitness, why bother? why not just ride?

i'm sorry if this sounds cynical, but it's coming from someone who also once engaged in interval training, rest days, spinning days, etc. it all seems pretty silly to me now. i just ride and i feel great.
I think I see your point. Indeed, I suspect the vast majority of people who pull the bike out of storage, even frequently, are doing so just for the fun of it while perhaps acknowledging that they are getting some exercise as well. Most folks would seem not to want instruction or criticism, no matter how well intended.

I also think that the majority of folks here in the forums are a bit more serious about cycling than the general public. Some, it seems are pros or nearly so. I get the sense that most of us are interested in better performance, whether from our bodies or our equipment. I feel that way anyway.

I find what I learn here and in cycling magazines, books, newsletters, websites and from other riders to be helpful when I practice it. This is true whether I follow a suggestion to use talc on my tire beads, or do one legged pedaling to work on my spin. Just as you suggest though, I am not obsessive over it and am not training to race.

Weight lifting, peddling practice, intervals, hillwork, spinning, using an HRM, proper nutrition and good equipment maintenance all eventually contribute to the ease, comfort and skill of riding, at least for me they do. When progress is made I feel like I am having more fun.

When I make a better time on a ride, or clear a hill which had been giving me trouble, I am having fun! If the lessons I learn from this forum are put into practice, I tend to have more fun.

Most of the time, I just "go for a ride." During those rides though, I sometimes practice a little of what I learn here. When it makes me better, I have more fun!
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