Cycling Tips For A Better Workout
Get the most out of your cycling workout with these tips on proper cycling form and technique
Your goal: Cycle in fluid circles rather than jamming down on the pedals. With the ball of your foot on the pedal, push down, then pull your foot through the bottom of the stroke, then pull up and back around. Aim for about 90 rpm (to calculate rpm, count how many times your right knee comes up in 60 seconds).
“A faster cadence works your cardiovascular system and doesn’t tire your muscles as quickly as slower, low-gear pedaling does,” says Dunlap. Your speed will naturally slow on hills and quicken on descents. In a cycling class, your instructor may call out specific rpms, and some studio bikes will give you a computerized readout.
Take a Seat
Your weight should feel evenly distributed, with 60 percent on the saddle (seat) and 40 percent on the handlebar. The saddle height should be positioned so there’s a slight bend in your knee when your foot is at the bottom of a stroke.
Sitting is the most efficient way to ride–you can use up to 10 percent more energy when you’re out of the saddle. But sometimes, like on a monster hill, you need extra power. When you stand, all of your body weight pushes down on the pedals, giving each stroke more oomph.
“Brake smoothly and evenly, lightly squeezing and releasing the brakes to control your speed rather than grabbing fistfuls at once,” says Dunlap. About 75 percent of your stopping power comes from the front brake (left-hand side). But squeezing that one too hard can send you over the handlebar. Keep in mind that when you hit the brakes, your bike slows but your body keeps going forward, making it harder to steer.