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Plugging Energy Leaks

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Plugging Energy Leaks

Old 11-22-20, 07:15 AM
  #1  
Moisture
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Plugging Energy Leaks

I think it goes without saying that if you are trying to maximize your efficiency as a rider - go further, faster, fatigue less, have more fun... There are a number of small tweaks in form which are largely absent in the average cyclist who has never stepped foot inside a gym before.

- try to find a mirror or get someone to take a picture of you riding by. Is your back rounded? Keeping your back straight and your chin down helps keep your spine in a more natural position. Most importantly, this puts you into a position to use the various stabilizer muscles in your body to increase efficiency.

- As a former gym fanatic, being in good shape upper body wise (a true cyclist will already have decent leg, lower back and abdomen strength) will really help to straighten out your posture and keep everything nice and tight. From your shoulders and chest, to your back, abs, glutes and hamstrings... your whole body is responsible for helping to increase power transfer through the cranks while minimizing fatigue.

By training your abs and lower back as a supplementary movement to your cycling, for example, you can help make your glutes and hamstrings more involved, which helps take stress off your lower back and quadriceps, which tend to take over much of your pedalling efforts in the long run. Cycling naturally involves your entire leg musculature depending on where in the pedal stroke you are at any given moment.

another simple tip which works would be to pedal with your butt hovering over your saddle. By setting yourself forward a little and driving with your bodyweight into the cranks, makes it easier to crank out some serious power


By keepIng a tight grip on the handlebars (your lats as well as stabilizer muscles in your upper back are actively involved in doing so) not only will you ride smoother, but you can transfer more power by actively "rowing" back and forth into the handlebars while climbing, for example.

If you dont have access to a gym, that's totally fine. Some simple resistance bands on Amazon will go a very long way when it comes to getting the rest of your body in shape. Comparing my cycling abilities to before and after I began regularly training, its a wonder how much of a difference it made, and how much your entire body is actively involved in the process of stabilization as well as power trasnfer.
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Old 11-22-20, 09:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Moisture View Post
I think it goes without saying that if you are trying to maximize your efficiency as a rider - go further, faster, fatigue less, have more fun... There are a number of small tweaks in form which are largely absent in the average cyclist who has never stepped foot inside a gym before.

- try to find a mirror or get someone to take a picture of you riding by. Is your back rounded? Keeping your back straight and your chin down helps keep your spine in a more natural position. Most importantly, this puts you into a position to use the various stabilizer muscles in your body to increase efficiency.

- As a former gym fanatic, being in good shape upper body wise (a true cyclist will already have decent leg, lower back and abdomen strength) will really help to straighten out your posture and keep everything nice and tight. From your shoulders and chest, to your back, abs, glutes and hamstrings... your whole body is responsible for helping to increase power transfer through the cranks while minimizing fatigue.

By training your abs and lower back as a supplementary movement to your cycling, for example, you can help make your glutes and hamstrings more involved, which helps take stress off your lower back and quadriceps, which tend to take over much of your pedalling efforts in the long run. Cycling naturally involves your entire leg musculature depending on where in the pedal stroke you are at any given moment.

another simple tip which works would be to pedal with your butt hovering over your saddle. By setting yourself forward a little and driving with your bodyweight into the cranks, makes it easier to crank out some serious power


By keepIng a tight grip on the handlebars (your lats as well as stabilizer muscles in your upper back are actively involved in doing so) not only will you ride smoother, but you can transfer more power by actively "rowing" back and forth into the handlebars while climbing, for example.

If you dont have access to a gym, that's totally fine. Some simple resistance bands on Amazon will go a very long way when it comes to getting the rest of your body in shape. Comparing my cycling abilities to before and after I began regularly training, its a wonder how much of a difference it made, and how much your entire body is actively involved in the process of stabilization as well as power trasnfer.
Or------------------instead of worrying about all that, just get on your bike, and ride how it makes you feel good.
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Old 11-22-20, 09:09 AM
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Start taking cycling too seriously and it ceases to become fun any more. The only way I'd worry about all that is if I were a professional or Olympic athlete, and if you've ever seen me you'd know I'm no athlete.
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Old 11-22-20, 09:17 AM
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I try to not use a tight grip unless I actually need to. It goes against my thinking that I'd rather be comfortable for longer than ever so slightly faster for shorter periods. I also prefer not to be so enthusiastic about training, but focus more on actually having fun cycling. And it is still fun to me, despite bad weather and having done it for 45 years. I would never do boring off-cycle training (weights, or whatever else) just so I could potentially be "better" at cycling. I will never have a power meter either, even though I like tech in general.
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Old 11-22-20, 10:26 AM
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Tight grip is for sprints IMO. I recall Hinault saying something like "you should be able to play the piano while you ride".
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Old 11-22-20, 10:45 AM
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On a road bike, I dont have a default tight grip. Can't imagine why I would want one. Instead, my grip pressure changes as needed. Loose most of the time and tighter when out of the saddle and initially changing hand positions since my whole body shifts at that point.

As for using a rowing motion when climbing...thats a new one. I dont row a bike forward with my arms and shoulders.
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Old 11-22-20, 10:49 AM
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No.

"....By keepIng a tight grip on the handlebars...."
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Old 11-22-20, 10:49 AM
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Some good tips.

I need to work more on chin and spine since I have persistent shoulder issues.

Thanks for sharing.
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Old 11-22-20, 11:34 AM
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Tight grip? No. A tight grip over a distance will only serve to sap strength, using it where it isn't needed. It can also lead to tight muscles, once again, for no reason, and no added benefit.
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Old 11-22-20, 12:04 PM
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Why do cycling newbies think they know everything about cycling, and feel compelled to educate the world?
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Old 11-22-20, 12:27 PM
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Shameless Linky PSA re FAQ
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Old 11-22-20, 01:06 PM
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I mostly ride on paved roads and find out how loose my grip really is when I ride off-road and have to actually hold on to the bars to keep them from leaving my hands..
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Old 11-22-20, 04:45 PM
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By tight grip I meant flexing and activating your stabilizer muscles, not a physical tight grip on the handlebars themselves..

I find having a loose grip on the bars is better at helping the front axle get over rough terrain smoother.
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Old 11-22-20, 04:47 PM
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Originally Posted by rsbob View Post
Some good tips.

I need to work more on chin and spine since I have persistent shoulder issues.

Thanks for sharing.
It could have something to do with a poor bike fit. Maybe try sliding your seat backwards and try out a shorter stem.

Some rowing excersises (you can attach a resistance band to somewhere low and row to yourself while kneeling) as well as some basic shoulder excersises such as lateral raises. You can literally use anything you find around the house for those.
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Old 11-22-20, 05:02 PM
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But when can I expect to start enjoying cycling?
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Old 11-22-20, 05:06 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
But when can I expect to start enjoying cycling?
Only when your saddle is behind the rear hub will you reach total cycling enlightenment.
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Old 11-22-20, 06:26 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
But when can I expect to start enjoying cycling?
Whenever you decide you want to.

I look at cycling like part of my excersise routine. I enjoy it more by increasing the efficiency of the sport, not less.

If you dont feel like being efficient, so long as you enjoy the ride, its your decision.

cycling is extemely important, as such, I wish to get the most of it.

Originally Posted by tomato coupe View Post
Only when your saddle is behind the rear hub will you reach total cycling enlightenment.
why? That won't necessarily work for everyone.
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Old 11-22-20, 06:29 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
On a road bike, I dont have a default tight grip. Can't imagine why I would want one. Instead, my grip pressure changes as needed. Loose most of the time and tighter when out of the saddle and initially changing hand positions since my whole body shifts at that point.

As for using a rowing motion when climbing...thats a new one. I dont row a bike forward with my arms and shoulders.
I didn't explain it properly.

When you are accelerating hard, or climbing a hill, you will probably find that you subconsciously tug back and forth against the bars to counteract the moving forces of applying power to the cranks. I don't mean physically moving the handlebars back and forth. While you do want to be rigid to an extent and transfer as much efficient power to the ground as possible, obviously minimizing fatigue is equally important. As such, it boils down to finding the right balance, like it would with anything.

By applying these tips, im able to balance myself better around corners and ultimately focus on maintaining a good steady pace.
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Old 11-22-20, 06:33 PM
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Just like j would at the gym, I always treat the first 10 or so minutes of any bike ride like a "warm up" session, where you tone it down a little and get the blood flowing. Gauge your energy for the day and set a proper pace. This is key for cranking out serious miles without fatiguing.
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Old 11-22-20, 06:46 PM
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Why do cycling newbies have no sense of humor?
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Old 11-22-20, 09:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Moisture View Post
This is key for cranking out serious miles without fatiguing.
Clarification, please. At what mileage does it become serious/significant?
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Old 11-22-20, 09:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Reynolds View Post
Tight grip is for sprints IMO. I recall Hinault saying something like "you should be able to play the piano while you ride".
Wait, what? I couldn't play the piano if I wasn't on a bike...
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Old 11-22-20, 09:25 PM
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Originally Posted by 308jerry View Post
Wait, what? I couldn't play the piano if I wasn't on a bike...
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Old 11-22-20, 09:46 PM
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv View Post
Clarification, please. At what mileage does it become serious/significant?
Typically by around 6 months it's serious. When you introduce her to your parents and she introduces you to hers you know for sure.
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Old 11-22-20, 11:56 PM
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Many of the gym fanatics that I (saw when there were gyms)

tend to have extreme grimace/ jaw tension, and others seem to count extensive time looking at their phone as part of the workout,

so a gym may not be the best place to look for efficiency and endurance...


I find that scanning for and relaxing any muscle tension that is not needed at that time to be a good practice.
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