Master Your Pedalling Technique To Improve Your Cycling

Improving your pedalling technique can help you to perform better on your bike, from improving your climbing, to nailing your power targets. Mastering your Pedal Effectiveness Score (PES) and Polar View, will help you completely revolutionise your cycling with your smart bike trainer. 

3 electronic devices showing the Wattbike Hub pedalling data

Table of Contents:

Understanding the Importance of Pedalling Technique

Pedalling technique is often overlooked, with topics like power readings taking the forefront in café conversation. But the truth is, mastering your pedalling technique can bring about many benefits. An optimum pedalling technique, whether on an indoor smart bike or real-road bike, can help you meet your power targets and refine elements of your cycling, from climbing to sprinting.

Whether you want to improve your FTP score by 10, 20 or 30 watts, enhance your ability to climb, or increase your speed whilst putting out the same effort. Using the data from the Wattbike Hub, you can see how you pedal in real-time, and use our tips to improve your pedalling technique to get the most from your indoor training. 

How to Analyse your Pedalling Technique

You can learn how to improve your pedalling technique with the help of the data harnessed from our indoor bike trainers. Wattbike’s Polar View feature is used by countless cyclists, both amateur and elite, to visualise technique and tweak performance. Now, with Pedalling Effectiveness Score, we’ve created a simple score and colour coded sliding scale to show you exactly how close you are to optimal pedalling technique.

Poor Pedalling Technique

The Polar View graph of poor technique clearly shows a reduction in effective force during the transition between legs. This will be accompanied by a Pedalling Effectiveness Score between 0 - 60. 

A red diagram of the Wattbike Polar View showing poor pedal technique

In the Wattbike Hub, both the Polar View and Pedalling Effectiveness Score graphs are now colour coded, so you can easily see how you’re performing in real time. For a poor technique, expect to see your graph turn red.

Improved Pedalling Technique

The Polar View graph for average technique shows that some effective force is being carried across during the transition between legs. 

An amber diagram of the Wattbike Polar View showing improved pedal technique

This will be accompanied by a Pedalling Effectiveness Score between 60 - 70. For an average technique, expect to see your graph turn amber.

Optimum Pedalling Technique

The Polar View graph of good technique is consistent and shows balance between each leg, maintaining effective force throughout. 

A green diagram of the Wattbike Polar View showing optimal pedal technique

This will be accompanied by a Pedalling Effectiveness Score between 70-80, with 75 classed as the optimum score. For a good technique, expect to see your graph turn green.

8 Ways to Improve Your Pedalling on an Indoor Bike

There are a number of things you can do to improve your pedalling. ​​Here are our top tips and quick fixes to master the pedals:

1. Get to grips with your pedal stroke - Your pedal stroke can be broken down into four key phases, as seen below. Better pedalling technique will lead to more efficient, faster cycling and a better form. The more you concentrate on it the easier it gets.

2. Check your bike position - Bad positioning is often the culprit behind an odd looking Polar View. Ensure your indoor trainer is set up correctly with the saddle in the correct place before you get started. 

3. Apply even force to your strokes - Try to use each leg evenly. You should be aiming for a 50/50 split across both legs, although anywhere in the optimum range is between 48 and 52. 

4. Stay seated - Unless the training plan you’re following tells you to, try to avoid maintaining a standing position whilst you’re on the bike. It makes it difficult to maintain power through the top and bottom of your pedal stroke.

A diagram of the 4 phases of pedalling strokes on an indoor bike

5. Check you’re using the right resistance setting - If your Polar View is in the shape of a figure of eight, your resistance may be too high.

6. Try a cycling effectiveness workout- These cycling performance workouts will ensure you’re fully focusing on your technique for the duration of the workout. This is because you can watch your Polar View at the same time. It’s easier to hold a good shape on the harder gears, so begin with the lightest gear available and then only when you have mastered that move up to the next gear. For example:

  • 1 minute focus on shape / 2 minutes easy pedalling x 6-10.
  • 2 minutes focus on shape / 2 minutes easy pedalling x 5-8.
  • 3 minutes focus on shape / 2 minutes easy pedalling x 4-6.

7. Experiment with your cadence and resistance - Harnessing resistance and improving your cadence will help you develop your technique across all terrain and encourage you to vary your cycling. 

8. Keep practising!- Dedicating a session a week to actively focusing on improving your pedal technique will make a huge difference in a short amount of time.

The Science Behind Perfect Pedalling

Based on the principles of improving your pedal technique and effectiveness developed by Eddie Fletcher, Wattbike Sport Scientist, the all-new Pedalling Effectiveness Score has been produced in partnership with Dr Barney Wainwright, following in-depth research. 

Pedalling Key Terms Glossary 

Improving your pedalling technique may seem confusing, with the technical terms involved. We’ve collected the key terms surrounding pedalling that you’ll need to know to navigate your pedalling improvement:

  • Cadence - The number of revolutions your pedals make each minute.
  • Functional Threshold Power (FTP) - The highest possible power output you can sustain in 60 minutes, measured in watts.
  • Pedal Effectiveness Score (PES)- Our scoring system from 0-100 to quantify the efficiency of your pedalling technique. 
  • Polar View - Our unique analysis tool which visually represents the balance of your left and right leg, and can help you improve your pedalling technique.

Improve Performance with Wattbike

At Wattbike, we use unparalleled, accurate cycling data to support your indoor cycling performance. Encourage effective winter training during the off-season, and find workouts to train for sportives in time for the events you don’t want to miss.