Question from ICA member Joanne Swayze:
“I have several triathletes and highly fit cyclists in some of my classes. A few of them seem to have really heavy, quad dominant downstrokes that results in what I “see” to be a highly inefficient circular pedal stroke. When in climbing position, these same “quad dominant” cyclists have a lot of hip rocking. (Not a ridiculous amount, but more than what a trained athlete should be doing if they are knowledgeable.) I guess they are trying to really force the pedals down which, of course, leads to the inefficient stroke. My advice in class is to ”settle down” the hips. There should be some side to side, natural movement, but not overkill. If you settle down the hips a little, it forces a smoother stroke—especially the upward phase of pedal stroke. Am I right to say this?”
Joanne, this is a great question and an excellent observation. The reasons why a rider may pedal with a heavy quad-dominant pedal stroke can vary. Some may not have been taught proper technique or muscle engagement, while others may require a different bike setup.