Thursday, June 24, 2010

Pedaling technique

My knees have been hurting and I've been trying to figure out the problem.  If I didn't enjoy cycling so much, it would've stopped me long ago.  The seat height is not the problem.  I kind of narrowed it down to my pedaling and finally, in the last few days, I figured out the solution.  One is obvious, I've been using too high a gear and pedaling too hard.  The other problem is indeed, my pedaling technique.  I figured out that I was pedaling with my knees, not from the hip.  It's a similar concept to lifting with your knees, not your back.  I figured this out because from my martial arts study I learned that all power flows from the hip.  Without putting your hip into it--even though it may not be visibly obvious--you're only punching with your arm.  Moving the hip allows you to put your body into a punch or a kick--try it on a heavy bag sometime.  Therefore, if your legs are like pistons, then the main push out point is from the hip, not the knee.  It flexes, yes, but should be semi-locked to transmit the force from the hip, yet allow motion to make the necessary revolutions.  In rhythm, the motion of pedaling should be somewhat like doing the merengue, but less obvious hip motion (a waste of energy and probably looks weird)--unless you're in high gear trying to get up to speed.  This also gets you more of a workout for the core because the abs come into play as well. 

I googled this subject and found various entries, but they were so complexly explained that I can see why I figured out a solution for myself.  My focus has been on pushing down and the hip motion raises the ascending foot as well as pushing down the descending foot.  I've been making better use of my derailleur as well to minimize resistance when I'm not looking to work that hard.  I feel like I am getting a more efficient workout from my rides and my knees feel okay.  Just thought I'd pass it on.


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