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Pedal usage advice

gary.hounsomegary.hounsome Posts: 296
edited September 2010 in Road beginners
Hi guys just a quick question regarding the proper use of pedals and cleats.

The week i have had them i have just been cycling as normal without really pulling too much with them. Should i be purposefully pulling or will this damage my knees?

I was pulling a bit on the way home from work yesterday as well as pushing and was gathering a bit more speed but if i was constantly pushing and pulling i felt it would tire me more quickly?

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  • TeachTeach Posts: 386
    Hi guys just a quick question regarding the proper use of pedals and cleats.

    The week i have had them i have just been cycling as normal without really pulling too much with them. Should i be purposefully pulling or will this damage my knees?

    I was pulling a bit on the way home from work yesterday as well as pushing and was gathering a bit more speed but if i was constantly pushing and pulling i felt it would tire me more quickly?

    It's on a bike! :D:D Sorry couldn't resist.
    I would say the majority of use is with the push. It uses much larger muscles and if you were to pull the other muscles will tire more quickly. I know there is a bit of both muscle being used, but the push is far more efficient than the pull. the secret is get the legs spinning smoothly. I'm sure someone will be along soon with a better explanation.
  • Teach - thats what i've been doing spinning smoothly which of course feels right. However when i tried pulling yesterday it does gather a bit of extra speed so wondered if this technique would be used at all.
  • Ben6899Ben6899 Posts: 9,674
    Yes the key is to spin smoothly. I often find myself pulling more when sprinting up short steep hills.
    Ben

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  • I read a very good article recently which said DON'T PULL UP on the pedals. Gravity is pushing everything down and you are pulling up, against gravity, therefore effectively wasting energy.
    However, go with what suits you!
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  • I use a bit of upward pulling force, just so it's smooth. If you don't pull up, you may as well just use platforms.
    and you are pulling up, against gravity, therefore effectively wasting energy.

    But you're not using the muscles then.
    Say... That's a nice bike..
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  • TeachTeach Posts: 386
    I read a very good article recently which said DON'T PULL UP on the pedals. Gravity is pushing everything down and you are pulling up, against gravity, therefore effectively wasting energy.
    However, go with what suits you!

    Think it was in cycling plus.

    Basically you use some pull, but to just use pull is not effective and your muscles will tire. If you are going up a steep hill and really pulling you are likely to cause muscle damage, this is when it is far more effective to push.
  • anto164anto164 Posts: 3,500
    Ben6899 wrote:
    Yes the key is to spin smoothly. I often find myself pulling more when sprinting up short steep hills.

    I do this too.

    When i was out of the saddle today going up a steep bit of hill, i was pulling up hard as well as pushing down to get the hill gone and ticked off the list for today.

    As for pulling up, i only noticably pull up when i'm putting some power down, as for spinning normally, i dont feel like i'm pulling up much, but when i jumped onto my mtb the other day, went to pedal (I've got flats on my DH bike) my trailing foot was trying to pull up slightly when pedalling, so i must be pulling up slightly when clipped in.
  • Just got back from a 50 miler. (My first after two weeks of 40 miles)

    And like others have said i found myself pulling as well as pushing up short steep hills, normal riding across flats just smooth but as your clipped in i guess there is always going to be a slight pull there anyway.
  • Smokin JoeSmokin Joe Posts: 2,706
    I don't believe anybody pulls the pedals. You may feel you are doing so, but all you are doing is relaxing your weight on the upstroke. Your calf muscles are not designed to work like that, try riding round the block only pulling the pedals up with no downstroke and you will be screaming in agony.

    Pedal technique is a British obsession, hung over from the days when we thought fixed gear time trialists dressed in black alpaca were far better than those funny foreign johnnies who rode in bunches. All the pro's worry about is how hard they can stamp the pedal round, if they look smooth it is a bonus but otherwise they don't give a toss. Look at Youtube clips of Merckx, Kelly or Simpson in action to see it.
  • Don’t pull, pedal

    Turning the pedals round from in the saddle uses the same muscles whether you’re plummeting towards the Earth’s core or climbing into the stratosphere. When climbing, it can be particularly tempting to try to pull on the return stroke, but this is a mistake according to cycling coach Dr Auriel Forrester of Scientific Coaching: “Pulling up on the pedals decreases power output as it interferes with the all-important downstroke on the other side – specifically, you can’t pull up against gravity at the same rate or same force as you can push down with gravity!”

    As you push down on the pedal – the power stroke – you engage your glutes, quads and calves. The upward – or return stroke – switches the stress to the hamstrings, ankle dorsiflexor and the hip flexors. Since your quads are a lot stronger than your hamstrings, try to concentrate on not doing anything that could detract from the downward power stroke


    This is the article I was talking about, FYI. Hope it's of help.
    Limited Edition Boardman Team Carbon No. 448
    Boardman MTB Team
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