A Beginner's Guide To Perfect Pedalling

Mastering the perfect pedalling technique can make your pedalling more effective resulting in becoming a faster cyclist. The Wattbike Polar View is a pedalling technique analysis tool which makes the invisible, visible, by displaying an easy to read graph which shows exactly where you are losing force throughout the pedal stroke.


Understanding the Polar View

In this video, our Sport Scientist Eddie Fletcher explains all about the Polar View and how to read your Polar View graph.

 

Example shapes

The Figure of Eight - Beginner

Beginner's Polar View

This cyclist is losing too much pedal momentum on the transition from right-leg to left-leg (point 1) and left-leg to right-leg (point 2). The cyclist is only using the muscles on the front of the thigh and is “stamping” on the pedals.

Tip: Being properly secured in the toe cages or using cycling shoes will help sustain power throughout the pedal stroke.

The Peanut - Intermediate

Intermediate Polar View

This cyclist maintains some pedal momentum between leg drives. However, there is still a noticeable loss of momentum – especially since at point 2 there is a larger dead spot than at point 1.

Tip: Imagine scraping mud off the ball of your foot to help extend the leg drive and improve the transitions.

The Sausage - Elite

Elite Polar View

 

This cyclist has a large rounded shape, which is consistent, balanced between each leg, and maintains good pedal momentum throughout. Typical shape of a strong drive and a balanced recovery.


Improving your Polar View 

There are many aspects of cycling which impact your pedalling technique and Polar View graph. Below you will find our 10 top tips for improving your Polar View graph:

  1. Check your cycling position - an incorrect cycling position can affect both the downstroke and upstroke phases. Learn how to set up your Wattbike correctly here.
  2. Try to ensure you apply force evenly with each leg - the left/right leg balance should be as close to 50/50 as possible, it will fluctuate however the ideal range is between 48%-52%. 
  3. Invest in a good pair of cycling shoes - without cycling shoes you will find it difficult to implement the full power and recovery phases effectively.
  4. Try not to stand up - standing up in the pedals can compromise your pedalling technique, making it very difficult to maintain power through the top and bottom of each pedal turn. Only stand up if required by a specific session within your training plan.
  5. Get the right resistance setting - a ‘figure of eight’ shape may indicate your resistance is too high forcing you to concentrate solely on the downstroke. Lower the resistance level and concentrate on ‘scraping mud off the sole of your foot’ at the bottom of the revolution. 
  6. Ensure Polar View is displayed on the Wattbike Performance Monitor - this will constantly remind you to focus on effective pedalling.
  7. Analyse your data in the powerhub - if you have a Bluetooth enabled monitor and Bluetooth smartphone you can analyse your Polar View data in the powerhub. You will be able to analyse your Polar View graph, angle of peak force and left/right leg balance throughout your entire session.
  8. Try a specific cycling effectiveness workout - during these sessions you should concentrate on smoothing out your Polar View shape. To start with this will require a lot of concentration, so focus on it for short periods of time and then relax. It is 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 ie.: 
    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
  9. Experiment with different cadence and resistance settings - to develop good pedal technique on your bike across all terrain - uphill, downhill and on the flat - you should work on sustaining an improved pedalling technique shape on different resistance levels and at different cadences.
  10. Keep practising - Regularly include a session in your training plan where you refocus on pedalling technique.

Discover more pedalling technique sessions in our training plans or find out more about pedalling technique with our pedalling technique workshop.

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