Instructors should understand the very real risks of high resistance/low cadence pedaling, and know when to provide options for their riders. This article covers the physiological reasons behind why very low cadence is not beneficial either indoors or for cyclists outdoors. I also present ways to address a rider who is resistant to taking your advice and continues to pedal too slowly in a big gear.
I’ve had numerous questions over the years about what to do when riders put on too much resistance that slows their cadence down too much. This is a very important issue because heavy resistance has a high risk of injury. Students may do it with the misguided belief it will “strengthen” the legs (like leg presses). It also usually has a high ego component to it. How do you tell them to pedal faster? . . .
Have you ever heard of a class conducted entirely out of the saddle? Would you ever consider it, or take part if you were a student in that class? Here is a synopsis of a discussion that happened in an online forum on the subject, with my input, plus an excellent article on the science of standing versus seated riding. I hereby challenge all instructors to take part in the STANDING CLIMB CHALLENGE so we can gather data as well as personal anecdotes.
Many of us have seen professional riders climbing the famed ascents of the Tour de France. One observation is the speed at which they climb. Not just how fast their bikes are going, but how fast their legs are spinning. This faster climbing cadence is often referred to as “climbing at tempo.” For those of us that ride outside, this is not climbing in one’s granny gear (no offense, Mom), but pushing a relatively hard gear at a fast cadence.
Have you used mantras to inspire your students up epic climbs? Do you know how they work? Here are the reasons behind why mantras help focus athletes on the task at hand, as well as 85 different mantras you can use in your coaching, and tips on how to personalize them and to inspire your students to create their own.
This strategy for strength dips in the world of biomechanics—one of my favorite topics! We can sometimes spend hours working on our pedal stroke seated, but neglect full muscle usage when standing. When proper pedal stroke technique is not emphasized out of the saddle, riders usually resort to simply mashing down on the pedals. This only activates the quadriceps and reduces efficiency, endurance, and power. So let’s throw some hip in there.
Before I contribute a few of my favorite climbing strategies, I want to share my perspective on climbing. Because I’m mostly a sprinter, one might wonder what climbing strategies I have to offer. Well, if anyone has strategies for climbing, it would be a person who knows suffering is always involved.