This month we’re going to take a closer look on how you can get the best workout with the best form. Though you might not be focusing on it, the way you push and pull your legs affects the way you ride. They key aspect for a perfect pedal stroke is to synchronize the push of one leg with the pull of the other. This perfect balance will provide a better workout, while protecting your joints.
Section 1: Technical Information
Let’s get technical! There are five main focus points in every pedal stroke. We know, seems like a lot right?
1. Power Phase: This is when your heel drops at the top of the stroke and your ankle bends, allowing for maximum exertion of power.
2. Power transfer: This is where you start to transfer that power into your calf. You might feel this one if you pay close attention!
3. Beginning the backstroke: The toe is pointing down at the floor.
4. Pull up: Finish pulling the pedal back up to complete the stroke.
5. Lastly, make sure that you are pushing the pedals down and forward, then pulling up and back. This is not technically part of the stroke, but it's a good thing to keep in mind throughout your workout.
Section 2: Mistakes and Errors
Now that you know all of the technicalities, we’re going to cover common mistakes and errors.
1. Don’t think of pedaling as just going up and down, think of it as a fluid motion.
2. Watch for side-to-side pulling with the knee. To fix this, imagine a wall on either side of you that your knees cannot touch. Your hip, knee, and ankle should all be aligned.
3. The height of the handlebars. Handlebars should be set either at seat height or higher. This allows you to get the maximum power out of those sexy legs, all while enabling the pulling of the knees into your chest.
4. Keeping the ankle locked. We want to see your ankle flexing and extending with every push and pull.
Now that you're a pedal stroke expert, put your new findings to the test! See how different your movements feel and tell a friend or neighbor to try it out on their bike. They say it takes 30 days to make something a habit, good thing this is our focus of the month!