It may come as no surprise that the most efficient way to improve your cycling is by concentrating on your pedalling technique. But this isn’t always the easiest metric to measure. Pedal Effectiveness Score (PES), our unique industry measurement, developed by Wattbike, is combined with Polar View technology to help you keep track of your pedalling and recognise where you can make improvements.
Each cyclist is different, whether out on the road, or on an indoor smart bike. Therefore, each cyclist will have a different pedalling style and will see different results when improving pedalling technique. We’ve analysed some of the most common types of pedalling problems. Here are our tips on what to improve based on the best representation of your Polar View profile.
If you’re seeing a shape similar to this, then you have an asymmetrical Polar View profile, which is present when there is an imbalance in force between the left and right leg.
Asymmetry can be caused by recent or previous injuries affecting muscle strength or function, or a small difference in leg length. Often, there is no clear reason.
It can be corrected with focussed training. Use the real time feedback of the Polar View to increase effort and force on the less forceful side, rather than reducing force on the more forceful side.
After a few weeks, you should see a notable change over short time periods. As your new technique becomes easier, try some longer sessions, giving continual attention to the equal balance. If your imbalance does not start to improve, consider evaluating your position, paying particular attention to your saddle position. Visiting a physiotherapist will also ensure there are no underlying issues.
INSUFFICIENT PUSH DOWN
If you are seeing a Polar View shape which has little to no dip, your style of pedalling could be creating an insufficient push down. This is present when there is too much focus on pulling backwards at the bottom of the pedal stroke and not enough on pushing downwards in the middle part of the stroke.
The gluteal, hamstrings and calf muscles are engaged in this process, but the quadriceps are not engaged to the same proportion of their functional capacity.
To improve, focus on increasing the magnitude of the downwards force in the middle part of the pedal stroke, whilst still maintaining an effective pull backwards.
The ‘peanut’ shaped Polar View shows an insufficient transition, which is present when your pushing down forces are good, but the transition of force between each leg is not as strong.
To optimise your transition, good co-ordination between left and right legs is essential. To improve, focus on pulling backwards at the bottom of the pedal stroke and pushing forward slightly at the top and start of the pedal stroke.
FORWARD SADDLE POSITION
This shape is a typical profile created by a time trial rider who positions their saddle forwards to adopt a lower trunk angle and achieve an aerodynamic position.
This position makes it difficult to maximise forces during the whole pedal stroke and achieve an effective transition. However, it is still possible to improve your PES score and attempt to improve the angle of peak force.
To improve, start the pedal stroke as early as possible in the stroke and push downwards earlier, this will help increase pedal force and power generation. An emphasis on pulling backwards at the bottom of the pedal stroke will also assist with the transition between legs.