It’s always important to get back to the basics. To become better, often you have to work on the basic elements of the game. Footballers don’t just play football all day every day. They work on their footwork, stamina, strength and their shooting techniques respectively. Likewise, to become a better cyclist, you have to pay attention to the minor details. Dedicate training sessions to work solely on your pedaling skills! Focus on these 4 elements to become a better cyclist.
#1 Circles Not Squares
We have always been told that cyclists should pedal circles, not squares to give you a smooth even pedal stroke. This uniform application of power gives a more efficient pedal and is what makes a better rider. The idea is to utilize all 360 degrees of the pedal. You should not be just pressing down at the beginning of each stroke. Instead, when you get to the bottom of each push, you should pull your foot back up. This technique uses your quads when you push and hamstrings when you pull, using two muscle groups instead of just one.
#2 Focus On Your Form
Like running, form is equally as important when it comes to cycling. Good cycling form means you are cycling more economically. Cycling more economically means you can cycle more efficiently with the energy you have. Always make sure you have a proper form.
A proper form means:-
- When you get to the top of your cycle rotation (12 o’ clock), drop your heel to engage your quads, hamstrings and glutes. Drive your heels down to produce force and energy. Note this is the point where most power is produced.
- When you get to the bottom of your cycle rotation (6 o’ clock), point your toes downwards and forward. This is to make sure that you engage all muscles when you perform the pulling motion of pedalling.
Read More: 3 Simple Ways To Improve Running Efficiency
#3 Ride Off Road
Photo Credits: D-Magazine
Riding off road allows for you to build your leg power. You use alot more strength and power when riding on trails as compared to riding on road. This has got to do with the terrain of the trails. The inconsistent terrain plus the elevation the trails offer forces you to pedal more smoothly to generate power. If not, you risk losing balance and traction. Hence, it’s time to switch up your road bike for a mountain bike. Train off road and become more efficient on road.
One particular drill that will help you generate a more efficient pedal is the one legged drill. Pedal with only one leg and focus on driving a full circle instead of just pushing down on the pedal. Do about 30 seconds on each leg and alternate between both legs. This helps your legs develop the coordination and the right technique for an efficient spin.
Read More: 5 Tips For Any Runner To Become Faster
Simply put, all these 4 elements will allow you to share the work amongst your hamstrings, quads and glutes as compared to having only your quads do all the work!