Improve your pedal stroke to eliminate dead spots and increase cycling efficiency

The best pedalling technique is one that’s smooth, efficient and powerful. Here’s how to pedal like a pro.

Perfect Pedalling Technique

1-5 o’clock

Your heel will be slightly raised as you move through this power producing part of the stroke. Push down smoothly but forcefully, your heel dropping to parallel, engaging your quads, hamstring
and calf

5-7 o’clock

Continue pushing down, engaging your calf and pointing your toe slightly, to ready transition to the upstroke by pulling backwards as if scraping mud from the sole of your shoe

7-9 o’clock

At this point your other leg is producing more power, moving the crank back towards the 12 o’clock position. Try to avoid adding resistance with your non-driving leg – think about pulling it up out of the way

9-1 o’clock

As the foot moves up, get ready for the next downstroke by concentrating on pushing your knee forward towards the bars, raising your heel slightly, but without twisting or rocking the hips

Cadence

A cadence of 85-95RPM on the flat allows good technique and typically lowers heart-rate for the same power output. Using a higher cadence rather than churning big gears leads to perfect pedalling.

One leg drill

On a turbo, select an easy resistance and unclip one leg,  tucking it back without discomfort. Then pedal through the stroke to get an idea of the muscle engagement needed to power all the way around

Slow Drill

Set an easy gear and pedal as slowly as you can, keeping good form and concentrating on eliminating dead spots throughout the pedal stroke. Increase cadence gradually, but go slower again if form drops

Going Long

Good pedalling technique becomes even more important over the 180km of an Ironman ride. When you change your bike set-up for long-distance riding, make sure you can still pedal efficiently – it will save your legs for the marathon run.