Skill development/pedalling economy
There are a number of pedalling drills that can help you develop an economical pedal stroke. Eliminating dead spots around the pedal stroke allows athletes to use the force applied to the pedals more effectively.
A pedal stroke involves: 1. Pushing down on the pedals (the front of the pedal stroke). 2. Pulling up (the back of the circle). 3. “Scrape mud off the shoe” pulling back with the calf (the bottom of the circle). 4. Up and kick a door (over the top). 5. Pushing down while pulling up (thinking about two sides at once).
Pedalling one leg at a time exposes imbalances and trains the hip flexors, so one-legged pedalling efforts are very helpful. Doing pedalling drills in a bigger gear (under a higher load) is easier, so it is a good place to start, as it allows more feel around the pedal stroke. It takes a while to figure out where you’re applying force, so slower, low cadence drills to start are more effective. Once you’ve mastered the drills you can start working in an easier gear at a higher cadence.
Cadence drills are another speed skill. Given that power is the function of force and speed, higher cadences at a given amount of force result in higher power. Cadence training is critical for athletes who compete in disciplines that require high power efforts like draft legal and cross triathlon. But cadence drills are beneficial for other triathletes, too, as they improve pedalling economy.
Performing all your skill development work on rollers, rather than a trainer, is more effective, too. Balancing the upper body on the bike while performing the drills requires the stabilizing muscles to fire. This co-ordination helps ingrain the technique. You can also see any inefficiencies in your upper body when riding on rollers, whether it is rocking from side to side or bouncing up and down. A quiet upper body is important to pedalling economy.
RIGHT Step up exercise LEFT Split squat exercise