Ythan Cycle Club - Round Pedalling Technique
Tips from Bob Hill - Club Coach

As a fairly recent newcomer to cycle racing through Triathlons, and an avid reader, I have digested a multitude of “Cycling” books and magazines, many of which address “training” aspects and advise on how to improve your perfor­mance.

The majority are heavy on “jargon” and are often confusing and contradictory particularly to a novice. However, armed with all this info on intervals, A.T. work, spinning and technique methods I embarked on a winter training program mainly based on a turbo trainer combined with a free weights routine.

For the first six weeks my performance on the turbo (with computer) showed a steady improvement. It held static for 2 weeks and then went into reverse. I just could not manage to hold the interval reps although I was trying just as hard. What was going wrong?

My leg muscles were very tight and sore so I blamed the weights program (heavy weights/low reps). I eased off on the weights and then stopped it completely and reduced the turbo sessions over the Xmas/New Year period. On getting back into it in January my legs felt better and the interval sessions improved slightly.

I worked hard at it during January and February but did not really see any substantial improvement. I reviewed my training diary for the remedy. I adjusted my saddle up/down/forward/back and thought I had it, but no! Discus­sions with training partners did not provide the answer that I was looking for.

The first 10 mile and 25 mile time trials in March were a personal disaster. All the winter training and slower times than last year. During the winter I had purchased a new aluminium frame and TRI-BARS which should have helped so I was really despondent with my performance.

THE ANSWER?

I was concentrating on strength and effort to improve output but I had forgotten about technique somewhere along the road.

The answer came to me in a training article on technique in a triathlon magazine. It concentrated on alternate, single leg, high speed spinning on a turbo trainer using light gears. I had tried this previously but couldn’t get the hang of it and had no feeling of “roundness” in the pedal revolution so I did not persevere.

The real difference was that the article explained to keep both feet in the pedals whilst concentrating on the round movement with a single foot and then the alternate foot. It included a session to concentrate on the four individual sectors of the pedal revolution with each foot.

It’s not easy and does not come naturally but it really does pay benefit when you put both feet together and concentrate “round”

Possibly many others new to cycling or some “older hands” would benefit from this “back to basics” technique training. I was amazed at the power improvement that full round pedalling provides whilst sitting down or standing up on the pedals. It has resulted in a noticeable improvement in my on the road performance and new personal bests in all distances.

THE ROUND PEDALLING ROUTINE

The routine is done as a 'technique' session at Level 2 effort. The focus is on technique not really effort. It is normally a 30 minute session done on active recovery days. However a harder session can be added to it at Level 3 effort if such a level session is required (taking up to one hour).

The 30 minute technique session is as follows;

Warm up for 12 minutes on high revolution spinning, starting at 90 revs for 3 minutes and increase 5 revs after each 3 minutes so finishing on 105 revs for 3 minutes. Use a fairly medium gear with a good resistance but not a hard effort.

Techform Session 1 ;

Think totally 'round', both feet are in the pedals but you concentrate on the one leg only at a time. The other leg is totally passive, it is limp and floating around.

  • Start on the right leg for 15 seconds at 105 revs
  • Swap to the left leg for 15 seconds at 105 revs
  • Back to the right leg for 15 seconds at 105 revs
  • Back to the left leg for 15 seconds at 105 revs
  • (Total one minute effort)
  • One minute recovery at 95 revs
  • Repeat the above one minute effort session
  • One minute recovery at 95 revs
  • Right leg for 30 seconds at 105 revs
  • Same on left leg
  • One minute recovery at 95 revs
  • Repeat the 30 seconds on each leg
  • One minute recovery at 95 revs
  • One minute effort on right leg at 105 revs
  • Same on left leg
  • One minute recovery at 95 revs
  • Repeat the 30 seconds on each leg
  • One minute recovery at 95 revs
  • Repeat the 15 seconds routine on both legs
  • Five minute warm down on 95 revs

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Techform Session 2 ; This session is further refined to concentrate on each 'sector' of the circle for each foot. It is done when you are capable with the first session. There are four sectors as follows;

  • Top sector - from 11 to 1 O'clock
  • Press sector - from 1 to 4 O'clock
  • Bottom sector - from 4 to 7 O'clock
  • Pull sector - from 7 to 11 O'clock

The Warm Up will be the same 12 minute session as indicated above.

The Techform session is below; Concentrate the effort in the 'sector' only and allow the leg to 'spin' for the rest of the circle. This takes a lot of focus so expect it to be difficult but persevere with it.

  • Start on the right leg for 1-1/2 minutes at 95 revs (pull round full circle with the right leg only)
  • Left leg for 1-1/2 minutes at 95 revs (pull round full circle with the left leg only)
  • One minute recovery at 90 revs
  • 30 seconds on right and then left at 85 revs (pull round full circle with the each leg only)
  • Repeat the 30 seconds, each leg at 90 revs, then 95, the 100, then 105 and 110 revs, with no break, continuous (total 5 minutes)
  • One minute recovery at 90 revs
  • The do the 'Sectors' - 15 seconds for each sector on 95 revs on the right leg - Bottom, Pull, Top, Press (one minute total)
  • Repeat for the left leg at 95 revs
  • Repeat on right leg at 100 revs
  • Repeat on left leg at 100 revs
  • Repeat on right leg at 95 revs
  • Repeat on left leg at 95 revs
  • One minute recovery at 90 revs
  • Warm down for 5 minutes OR add on an Anaerobic Threshold (A T) session as follows;

A T Set - Continuous with no recovery on a bigger gear which does take some effort, to get you into Level 3;

  • 2 minutes at 85 revs
  • 2 minutes at 90 revs
  • 2 minutes at 95 revs
  • 5 minutes at 100 revs
  • 5 minutes at 102/3 revs
  • 5 minutes at 105 revs - you should end up on your Anaerobic Threshold
  • Warm down for 5 minutes

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IF ANY OF THIS IS UNCLEAR OR YOU WANT SOME GENERAL GUIDANCE THEN GIVE ME A CALL ON 01358 722449

BOB HILL

 

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