Riding a turbo can be a pleasure or a bit of a pain however, to avoid each and every session becoming just turning the wheels there are a few skills you can focus on within a session to help improve your pedal action. Add these into your programme for short intervals at the start and then try to maintain the technique for as long as possible for the rest of the session.
Purpose: Allows development of a smooth, continuous and complete pedal cycle.
How do I do it? Increase the resistance on your bike by changing gear or using a resistance setting on your turbo so that you slow your leg speed. Slowing your leg speed gives you the extra time needed to think through the whole pedal cycle. Make sure you spend time thinking about each leg individually and that the rest of your body is relaxed and still in the saddle.
How should I put it into my workout? Add intervals of slow pedalling interspersed with your normal cadence, e.g. 5 x 2min slow legs, 3 min steady spin.
Purpose: Spinning fast and smoothly requires the muscles to be well co-ordinated resulting in a more powerful and efficient pedal cycle.
How do I do it? Change gear so that pedalling becomes very easy then gradually increase your leg speed. The idea here is not to sprint by working leg speed and pressure on the bike but to unload the resistance and just let your legs spin. You will find a point where your bottom starts to bounce up and down on the seat. This is because your muscles are unable to contract and relax fast enough and in a co-ordinated manner to keep the movement smooth. Hold your effort at just above this point. If you have a cadence monitor record the cadence and after a short rest, return to this pedal speed for another interval.
How should I put it into my workout? After a good warm up include 5 x 30s spin ups 90s easy pedalling, Want to make it harder? Increase the pedal speed or the duration of the interval.
Purpose: Allows the weight to be taken off the pedal that is moving up at the back of the pedal cycle
How do I do it? There is a theory that it is very difficult to pull up on the pedal and that this actually contributes very little to the action of pedalling and the power that can be put in when cycling. However, it is useful to be able to unload the pedal as it comes up so that the leg pushing down does not have to push against the dead weight of the other leg at the opposite side of the cycle. To practise this when pedalling over-emphasise the lift of your knee. If you are comfortable with this you can then try to add in a kick over the top of the pedal cycle to improve your action through this part as well.
How should I put it into my workout? Focus on this either as part of your normal workout or when climbing (slower cadence) in a seated position.
Purpose: Breaking down the pedal cycle will help you focus on a particular area each time you spin
How do I do it? During your usual turbo session focus on one of the sections of the pedal cycle that is a particular weakness for you. For example: You could spend a 5 minute interval solely focusing on kicking the pedals over the top of the pedal cycle, you will find that the rest of the cycle is automatic. You might wish to focus on one leg at a time but it is also possible to think about both. The ease of this drill is that it can be applied to most parts of a turbo session and even transferred to your rides outdoors.
How should I put it into my workout? This can be done at any time when just pedalling, particularly useful in longer intervals.
Whilst these won't necessarily make up the whole of your workout they can certainly be used as part of it.
Hope you enjoy adding them in.