By Athlete Ambassador, Lesley Maisey
In triathlon, the bike portion is the largest percentage of the race. A strong and efficient bike performance translates to a good run so putting hours of training into the bike is a good return on investment.
The average cyclist pedals with a piston like motion where forces are only applied on the up and down portions of the stroke. This is fine for a recreational rider but endurance cyclists know that pedalling should be fluid and round. This keeps even tension on the chain and eliminates dead spots in your pedal stroke. This in turn improves efficiency, power, and endurance.
Isolated leg training is an easy and quick drill to throw into any ride, and with consistent use it will improve your cycling technique. Correct saddle height, good core engagement, and a light grip on the handlebars will ensure all movement is coming from the working leg and help to imprint the desired pattern of muscle recruitment.
Here is one example of an isolated leg training drill:
- Warm up for 10 minutes
- Unclip your left foot from the pedal and tuck it directly behind you on the stationary trainer or bike frame. This ensures your hips are square.
- In a low tension gear, pedal 30 seconds right leg only, concentrating on a fluid circular motion.
- Clip back in both feet and pedal for 30 seconds.
- Unclip your right foot and tuck it behind you. Pedal with just the left foot for 30 seconds.
- Clip back in both feet and pedal for one minute concentrating on easy even pedalling; repeat x 3 for one set.
Pedal 5 minutes and then repeat the set for a total of 3. Each set will take 7.5 minutes. With 5 minutes easy pedalling between sets, the entire drill will take just over 23 minutes but it is time well spent! As you become more efficient in your technique, you will hear less chain lag and those dead spots in your pedal stroke will be gone.