Pedaling Technique

Why Should pedaling Fast improve pedaling technique?

A ‘good pedaling technique’ is one that’s smooth and efficient. It’s probably not possible to have a perfect technique, but a good technique will improve your endurance and riding speed.

The pedal stroke can be divided up into 4 phases.

  1.  It starts with the foot pushing down on the pedal with the knee straightening
  2. The foot then starts to moves backwards pulling the pedal with it
  3. As the pedal moves round it starts to move upwards.
  4. Finally the pedal and foot moves forwards over the top before starting to push down again.

Phase 1 is fairly straight forward and is where we all start with ordinary pedals. The rest of the stroke requires the foot to be attached to the pedal with either straps or clips.

Phase 2 can be described as wiping mud of the bottom of your shoes.

Phase 3 is where the problems start. If your leg is being pulled up at a slow speed than the other leg is pushing down, then the one pushing down will also be having to overcome the resistance from the opposite leg. Thus it can be argued that if your leg is being pulled up at the same speed as the pedal is moving upwards it will be exerting no resistance so all the power the other leg is pushing down with will be used to move the bike.

Phase 4 is often called the dead spot as it’s very difficult for the leg to exert much force to push the pedal forward.

So for most people, the phases to work on are 2 and 3.

To improving your phase 3 is where high speed pedaling with a low resistance comes in. With the resistance set low the leg moving down can’t actually push hard against the pedal so the opposite leg is forced to pull itself up. It might not feel like you’re doing much but after an hour you might notice that the muscles on the inside of the thigh ache a bit and maybe a bit tight. These are (some of)the muscles that help to pull your leg up.

With the low power outputs, you’re going to be working your Aerobic system but with the rapid leg movements requiring fast muscle contractions and relaxations, the Type II fast Twitch muscles will also get a good workout.

So, a fast pedaling session will provide the following benefits:

  1. Improve your technique
  2. Give you a good aerobic workout
  3. Improve your muscle speed and co-ordination (motorneuron fitness)
  4. Improve your endurance
  5. Improve your ability to maintain a high cadence for a sustained period of time making it a very session for time-trials and triathletes.