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Training & Nutrition Learn how to develop a training schedule that's good for you. What should you eat and drink on your ride? Learn everything you need to know about training and nutrition here.

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Old 03-25-08, 12:23 PM   #1
Havalilsi
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Maximizing my Cranking

New riders tend to push only through a narrow 120-degree range of the crank's rotation using mainly the quads and glutes. There's a limit to how much power you can generate once you hit 100% muscle-effort, and muscles operating at 100% is not very efficient and are anaerobic. However, by adding more force to the other 240-degrees using the other 8 muscles that have been ignored, you can actually generate 3x the power at the same muscle-strength by spinning smoothly.


The above was a quote from a thread I read recently on training. How can I tell if I'm maximizing my cranking power. Do I need riding shoes to be able to be able to get the most out of each crank?
Currently I ride 10 miles each way to work, 2-4 days a week, and depending on the wind it takes about 45 minutes to 55 minutes. My biggest problem it seems is I'm sore every week. Sometimes i get into a race against the stoplights and my legs pay the price. I'm trying to figure out ways to strengthen my legs and make my ride a little easier. My bike by the way is a Trek 7.5.
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Old 03-25-08, 02:38 PM   #2
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The quote sounds like BS to me. Only time you get close to 100% muscle effort is in a big-gear standing start.
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Old 03-25-08, 05:38 PM   #3
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I don't know about that quote, but if you want to pull on the upstroke you need either shoes with cleats and a matching pedal, or toe straps. I can tell you though, that 45-55 minutes for 10 miles isn't anywhere near maxing anything out.
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Old 03-26-08, 10:53 AM   #4
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I don't know about that quote, but if you want to pull on the upstroke you need either shoes with cleats and a matching pedal, or toe straps. I can tell you though, that 45-55 minutes for 10 miles isn't anywhere near maxing anything out.


I wasn't thinking I was maxing out in my commute. I was interested in maximizing my cranking in reference to the article. My main interst in the article was how to keep from being sore all the time. Sometimes I'll race to beat a light and I'll have a maybe 1 minute sprint where I pedaling hard as I can to get through before the light turns red. I might 3 or 4 of those on my commute and in a couple days I really feel the soreness.

I guess I just need more leg strength. But do I go back to squatting 4-45 plates at the gym or do I just keep plugging away on my commute and hope my legs get acclimated eventually?

BTW, this is where I got the above quote.
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Old 03-26-08, 11:35 AM   #5
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Your legs will get stronger as time goes by, however you must also have the proper rest.

If you do repeated sprints at full power on a daily basis without sufficient rest in between you will end up overtraining.

The symptoms you have are signs of overtraining, which explains why you feel sore and burned out every week.

Try to keep from doing the same efforts every day, at least stay in the saddle for most of them.
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Old 03-26-08, 02:02 PM   #6
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Your legs will get stronger as time goes by, however you must also have the proper rest.

If you do repeated sprints at full power on a daily basis without sufficient rest in between you will end up overtraining.

The symptoms you have are signs of overtraining, which explains why you feel sore and burned out every week.

Try to keep from doing the same efforts every day, at least stay in the saddle for most of them.
Ah, now I see where I'm going wrong. You'd think I hada learned my lesson from working out over the years. But then I had a bad habit back then of going balls to wall constantly then too. But I was too lazy to go to the gym more than 4 days for the week. But with gas prices, its a lot easier to ride my bike than drive my truck and get 15mpg.

I was reading a biking magazine recently, and I saw an advert for some sort of recovery supplement. Are there any specific supplements you guys would recommend?
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Old 03-26-08, 05:23 PM   #7
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I have heard statements similar to your original post from several sources, but what you posted seems to be a bit exaggerated. But it is true that you can get more power with good pedaling technique. With cycling shoes/cleats/pedals or toe straps think about making your feet go around in a circle instead of just pushing down on the pedals. I haven't ever felt 3x the power but you certainly can get more power out of the same effort, or the same speed with less effort.

And as others have said, you get stronger when you recover.
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Old 03-26-08, 07:48 PM   #8
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If you're trying to save money on gas, it makes little sense to spend it all on supplements. Real, whole foods will do everything supplements do, and they're better for you. And cheaper.

Another thing that might help your soreness is riding farther than 10 miles occasionally. Once a week ride 30 miles or so. It doesn't have to be all out, just a fun, brisk pace. Your body will adapt to the longer distance over time and the shorter distance will be cake.

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Old 03-26-08, 10:22 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Havalilsi View Post
New riders tend to push only through a narrow 120-degree range of the crank's rotation using mainly the quads and glutes. There's a limit to how much power you can generate once you hit 100% muscle-effort, and muscles operating at 100% is not very efficient and are anaerobic. However, by adding more force to the other 240-degrees using the other 8 muscles that have been ignored, you can actually generate 3x the power at the same muscle-strength by spinning smoothly.


The above was a quote from a thread I read recently on training. How can I tell if I'm maximizing my cranking power. Do I need riding shoes to be able to be able to get the most out of each crank?
Currently I ride 10 miles each way to work, 2-4 days a week, and depending on the wind it takes about 45 minutes to 55 minutes. My biggest problem it seems is I'm sore every week. Sometimes i get into a race against the stoplights and my legs pay the price. I'm trying to figure out ways to strengthen my legs and make my ride a little easier. My bike by the way is a Trek 7.5.
My biggest guess is that you are riding at too slow of a cadence. In general, you want your legs to be spinning at somewhere from 80-90 RPM. This is a lot easier with cycling shoes that clip into the pedals.
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Old 03-27-08, 11:21 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Az B View Post
If you're trying to save money on gas, it makes little sense to spend it all on supplements. Real, whole foods will do everything supplements do, and they're better for you. And cheaper.

Another thing that might help your soreness is riding farther than 10 miles occasionally. Once a week ride 30 miles or so. It doesn't have to be all out, just a fun, brisk pace. Your body will adapt to the longer distance over time and the shorter distance will be cake.

Az
I've been wanting to step up to one of the long rides with one of the local groups here in Ft. Lauderdale, but I'm not so sure how easy it might be to keep up with the racers on my hybrid. I tried drafting a guy on a racer one evening and he just pulled away from me with what seemed to be a pretty lazy cadence to his pedaling, while I was shift gears and huffing and puffing to no avail.

I need to find a local group here in Ft. Lauderdale, who don't ride that fast.
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Old 03-27-08, 11:23 AM   #11
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My biggest guess is that you are riding at too slow of a cadence. In general, you want your legs to be spinning at somewhere from 80-90 RPM. This is a lot easier with cycling shoes that clip into the pedals.
As it is, my feet usually slip off the pedal when I pedal fast while trying to hold a steady speed, so I usually opt for the slow hard push to maintain a given speed.
although when I rest my elbows on the handle bars, i usually get a little more speed with not a whole lot more effort.
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