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Pedal Downward or Forward on Crank Levers???

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Pedal Downward or Forward on Crank Levers???

Old 05-25-19, 05:52 PM
  #26  
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I'll have to agree with the 'ride-a-set-of-rollers-then-talk-to-me' bunch. I rode rollers 40+ years ago when I was in college as a way to keep up the conditioning during Ohio's Winter months. The smooth, even pedal stroke is NOT one that simply 'mashes' the pedals on the down-stroke. That experience has ingrained into me a smooth pedal stroke that I've maintained to this day. As such, other riders have noticed that I very seldom vary my 'line' (side-to-side) more than an inch or two as I ride. That same smooth pedal stroke makes distance riding easier since little effort is wasted, making Century rides a much easier goal.

BTW, I STILL ride rollers in the winter months, but not as much as I'd like... But it is still well worth it!!! MUCH better for riding technique than a 'resistance' trainer.
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Old 05-25-19, 08:31 PM
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whatever it is, if it works for you do it or try it and decide
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Old 05-25-19, 10:15 PM
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I don't think there is any scientific evidence anywhere that 'pedaling in circles' is more efficient than not doing so.

I think almost every cyclist would benefit more from getting fitter then practicing pedaling.
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Old 05-25-19, 10:42 PM
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the answer - and Thread Starter hit on it better than everyone - is "It Depends". Which you used 3 times.

A laid back recumbent pedals differently than an upright diamond framed rider - with all the variations in between and in addition.

The Scot - O'bree in his Superman TT position surely had to refine a stroke for his position.

We all pedal differently, but always work on smooth and efficient muscle use with power while retaining foot comfort in your spinning.


Breathing can be more important under extreme exertions, focus on that first during aerobic training!
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Old 05-26-19, 05:54 AM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by allout1 View Post
Okay, these were really smart replies. Thanks. I see what's the deal is out there now. Yeap.
The smartness of the replies was equivalent to the smartness of the OP
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Old 05-26-19, 07:46 AM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by guachi View Post
I don't think there is any scientific evidence anywhere that 'pedaling in circles' is more efficient than not doing so.

I think almost every cyclist would benefit more from getting fitter then practicing pedaling.
You use more muscles when pedaling in circles, spreading the load.
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Old 05-26-19, 10:33 AM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by Gconan View Post
You use more muscles when pedaling in circles, spreading the load.
Is it better to spread the load across more muscle groups or simply improve the endurance of the ones that are naturally inclined to work.

While it's not an unreasonable sounding theory, there is little, if any, evidence to support that changing pedaling style and 'spreading the load' has any benefit vs simply pedaling with the naturally preferred style.

This is an anecdote, but I'm aware of at least one athlete who lost is leg below the knee. It took him a couple of years but he was able to regain his previous FTP even though his power balance was dramatically altered. Oxygen transport from your heart and lungs ultimately limits the amount of work your muscles can perform. Increase the oxygen with something like EPO and your existing muscles can suddenly perform better. If the O2 transport system is a limiter it's not clear why 'spreading the load' would provide any benefit.
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Old 05-26-19, 11:06 AM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by gregf83 View Post
Is it better to spread the load across more muscle groups or simply improve the endurance of the ones that are naturally inclined to work.

While it's not an unreasonable sounding theory, there is little, if any, evidence to support that changing pedaling style and 'spreading the load' has any benefit vs simply pedaling with the naturally preferred style.

This is an anecdote, but I'm aware of at least one athlete who lost is leg below the knee. It took him a couple of years but he was able to regain his previous FTP even though his power balance was dramatically altered. Oxygen transport from your heart and lungs ultimately limits the amount of work your muscles can perform. Increase the oxygen with something like EPO and your existing muscles can suddenly perform better. If the O2 transport system is a limiter it's not clear why 'spreading the load' would provide any benefit.
I notice my Quadriceps wear out easier on flats. It's never a problem when I am clipped in. I can ride much longer with cleats on the road and gravel bikes. I use flats for mountain biking but I feel my Quadriceps working harder by themselves.
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Old 05-26-19, 12:57 PM
  #34  
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A problem I have is that "pedaling in circles" and "pedaling in squares" aren't really meaningful statements.

We pedal using muscles so when people talk about "pedaling in circles" and "pedaling in squares" it would probably be more helpful if they said what muscles were being used more (or being used less) and why they thought that was beneficial.
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Old 05-26-19, 01:27 PM
  #35  
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Analyses of power data from highly trained racing cyclists have shown conclusively that only a very low level of power is applied from the 6:00 point to the 12:00 point in the pedaling circle and that most of that power is applied between the 6:00 and 7:00 points.

Most inexperienced cyclists begin by pushing high gears at low cadence, a.k.a. "pedaling squares" (by the way, what happened with tellmethetruth and his 70 x 11 for 50 mph thread?); as cyclists strive for higher speeds, especially those who ride in pace lines with racers, they learn to spin lower gears at higher cadence, a.k.a. "pedaling circles."
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Old 05-26-19, 05:11 PM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by guachi View Post
A problem I have is that "pedaling in circles" and "pedaling in squares" aren't really meaningful statements.

We pedal using muscles so when people talk about "pedaling in circles" and "pedaling in squares" it would probably be more helpful if they said what muscles were being used more (or being used less) and why they thought that was beneficial.
Have you ever ridden rollers? Give it a try. I think you will see the difference with or without an anatomy lesson.
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Old 05-26-19, 10:34 PM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by Cougrrcj View Post
I'll have to agree with the 'ride-a-set-of-rollers-then-talk-to-me' bunch. I rode rollers 40+ years ago when I was in college as a way to keep up the conditioning during Ohio's Winter months. The smooth, even pedal stroke is NOT one that simply 'mashes' the pedals on the down-stroke. That experience has ingrained into me a smooth pedal stroke that I've maintained to this day. As such, other riders have noticed that I very seldom vary my 'line' (side-to-side) more than an inch or two as I ride. That same smooth pedal stroke makes distance riding easier since little effort is wasted, making Century rides a much easier goal.

BTW, I STILL ride rollers in the winter months, but not as much as I'd like... But it is still well worth it!!! MUCH better for riding technique than a 'resistance' trainer.
I rode 146 miles yesterday with 8000+ feet of climb and another 80 miles today, all on platform pedals and letting my hips, cadence and torque go where they may. I totally don't buy this "one true technique" nonsense. People's legs vary a lot in many ways, so it makes no sense to me to assume what works well for you should work well for me.
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Old 05-26-19, 10:50 PM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by Trakhak View Post
Analyses of power data from highly trained racing cyclists have shown conclusively that only a very low level of power is applied from the 6:00 point to the 12:00 point in the pedaling circle and that most of that power is applied between the 6:00 and 7:00 points.

Most inexperienced cyclists begin by pushing high gears at low cadence, a.k.a. "pedaling squares" (by the way, what happened with tellmethetruth and his 70 x 11 for 50 mph thread?); as cyclists strive for higher speeds, especially those who ride in pace lines with racers, they learn to spin lower gears at higher cadence, a.k.a. "pedaling circles."
Here's the problems I have with that type of analysis. Highly trained racers are a select group who probably started with physical attributes that are outliers from the general population, so what you really might be seeing is that the technique happens to be well-suited to that segment of the population. It doesn't follow from that that the technique is good for people who don't share those attributes. Also, riding in a pace line is so unlike any other kind of riding that there's no reason to assume it is a good technique for riding against unmitigated air resistance.

@tellmethetruth appears to have taken his big chain ring and gone home.
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Old 05-27-19, 07:23 AM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
I rode 146 miles yesterday with 8000+ feet of climb and another 80 miles today, all on platform pedals and letting my hips, cadence and torque go where they may. I totally don't buy this "one true technique" nonsense. People's legs vary a lot in many ways, so it makes no sense to me to assume what works well for you should work well for me.
I never said that mine is the ONLY way. I'm merely saying that a smooth stroke is a better riding technique or form than mashing. Easier on the body, easier on the bike, and easier for others (if you ride in a group). The only time that I even get out of the saddle and push (mash) is going up long steep hills, and even that is limited to when I've run out of lower gears!

I don't wear cleated shoes when I ride either. Never have, never will. Most of my bikes have old-school toe straps/cages, and I ride with the straps loose enough to facilitate pulling my feet straight back to disengage from the pedals when coming to a stop. Heck, my Miyata 710 even has platform pedals on it to accommodate my wide lugged-sole work shoes for my work commute.
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Old 05-28-19, 07:02 AM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by Cougrrcj View Post
I never said that mine is the ONLY way. I'm merely saying that a smooth stroke is a better riding technique or form than mashing. Easier on the body, easier on the bike, and easier for others (if you ride in a group). The only time that I even get out of the saddle and push (mash) is going up long steep hills, and even that is limited to when I've run out of lower gears!

And I'm disagreeing with the "better riding technique" claim. For me, my physical size and leg strength make it absolutely absurd to avoid mashing--I'm really, really good at it, and I go very fast over great distances. I'm also 58, and my body tolerates it very well (146 miles with 8000+ feet of climbing Saturday, 80 miles on Sunday and 50 miles yesterday, for example). We had a thread a few months ago where I challenged people to find any medical study (not received "coach wisdom") that showed that mashing was actually harmful as compared to grinding. The best anyone could come up with was a study that showed a sight difference in the frequencies of different types of repetitive stress injuries (not in rate of repetitive stress injuries overall or in their severity).

My pet theory is that grinders began dominating the sport during the EPO era for rather obvious reasons, and that's caused a lot of over-selling of the virtues of grinding and the evils of mashing. I also think people will basically naturally gravitate towards the method that suits them best if they aren't exposed to a bunch of people making doctrinaire claims about a single "better" technique.
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Old 05-28-19, 11:07 AM
  #41  
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This is an interesting topic. My experience suggests that the advantages of spinning vs. grinding are dependent on who you are and what you are trying to do. I'm 73 and have that football player body rather than the typical cyclist body. By which I mean 2-2.5 lbs of body weight per inch of height or something like that. Following the suggestions of some friends who are former local racers and life long cyclists, I've discovered that there are times when spinning works in a given situation and others where powering (grinding) is called for. If you are a recreational cyclist I'd suggest that you experiment and discover what works for you in various situations.
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Old 05-28-19, 11:27 AM
  #42  
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Old 05-28-19, 11:36 AM
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Originally Posted by bruce19 View Post
Have you ever ridden rollers? Give it a try. I think you will see the difference with or without an anatomy lesson.
So am I to infer that you really don't know what happens when you use rollers and why it might actually be good?
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Old 05-28-19, 01:56 PM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by guachi View Post
So am I to infer that you really don't know what happens when you use rollers and why it might actually be good?
I can tell you exactly what happened when I rode rollers for 10 years. The question is...have you ridden rollers and did you notice anything?
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Old 05-28-19, 02:45 PM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by bruce19 View Post
I can tell you exactly what happened when I rode rollers for 10 years. The question is...have you ridden rollers and did you notice anything?
I just noticed that saying "ridden rollers" 5 times fast is kind of hard.
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Old 05-28-19, 08:21 PM
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Who needs straps and clamps and clips and blah blah blah blah blah on pedals. Just go out and have fun riding around. YAY!
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Old 05-29-19, 05:22 AM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by ramzilla View Post
Who needs straps and clamps and clips and blah blah blah blah blah on pedals. Just go out and have fun riding around. YAY!
My suspicion is that that's probably the most scientific method of figuring out which pedaling method is best for you -don't do the one that's not fun.
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Old 05-29-19, 06:08 AM
  #48  
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Originally Posted by _ForceD_ View Post
Concentration on peddling in complete circles is the best practice. Although apparently there are results of experiments that show even the best cyclists don't engage much on the upstroke.

Dan
upstroke u should be picking ur foot up take the weight off the pedal so u dont have to lift it on the downstroke with the other leg
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Old 05-29-19, 06:20 AM
  #49  
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Not sure how much pedal stroke has to do with anything as long as u keep a cadence of around one hundred in the right gear think you will be on the right track when it seems easy at that cadence just move to a harder gear not rocket science
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Old 05-29-19, 07:42 AM
  #50  
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Originally Posted by ridingfool View Post
Not sure how much pedal stroke has to do with anything as long as u keep a cadence of around one hundred in the right gear think you will be on the right track when it seems easy at that cadence just move to a harder gear not rocket science
There's nothing magical about a cadence of one hundred or any other number. Cadence varies with rider, terrain and conditions.
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