Cyclist strength training: making it count on the bike

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How To

Introduction to strength training with Jo McRae: making it count on the bike

How to translate off-the-bike conditioning to in-the-saddle performance gains

Back stroke

Next, focus on pulling back at the bottom of the pedal stroke (bottom of the square) using your calf muscles and imagining you are wiping mud off your shoe with the ball of your foot. This phase of the pedal stroke helps you transition smoothly from the down to the up. The calf muscles are an accessory movement in cycling, rather than a prime mover, but focussing on this ‘bottom’ part of the square will help you become aware of how smoothly you are able to make the transition, linking the momentum of the down stroke to the upstroke.

Luke Rowe has his right foot at the bottom of the ‘square’ (pic: Sirotti)

The transitional top and bottom of the pedalling square become more significant when you are climbing in the saddle against a steeper gradient, or sprinting, so smoothing out the backstroke can help you climb and sprint more effectively too. After a minute or so, change into an easy gear and spin out to relax.


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