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Thread: one leg drills

  1. #26
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    One of the reasons one leg pedaling drills come to the forefront is because noteworthy folks like Friel, Chapple, Pruitt, and dozens of others well known in print and the net recommend them. However, I've yet to see any evidence to support their effectiveness. In essence, it's based on a hypothesis of benefit that has never been proven. At best there are anecdotal accounts of improvement. The reasons are well presented, but without supporting facts.

    On the other side there are notable experts who shun the idea of one leg pedaling drills, like Steve Hogg (see his reply to a question posed following one of his blog articles). Again. the arguments are well reasoned, but no facts to show that the drills either don't help or even hinder.

    So choose your poison, but as best I can tell it remains untested and unproven ground either way. I guess the question is, how much training time and effort do you want to spend on unproven techniques?
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  2. #27
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    ibericb,

    One of these days I want to get "Hogged"!! Just wish he'd come to the Old World.

    I've told Steve via email that if I can ever get enough of us around here in Belgium that want to be Hogged, we are going to fly him in for a week's stay. Ply him with lots of Belgian Monk beers and Belgian chocolates too. Steve's an all-around great guy, and knowledgeable as all get out and, most importantly, flexible enough to look at everything. By the way, you want to know what the Belgians (that I know) think of one legged drills? They don't. Their idea of getting their cadence up is seeing how much faster they can get their foot speed going in heading towards the bar after a blistering group ride. And if they want more leg power, they simply decide to stand all afternoon/evening long instead of sitting while they blow curls of beer froth on your face singing off key American songs and talking about great America TV shows like Bonanza, Baywatch, Knight Rider and Days of Our Lives (don't ask, the proper extant decade at the moment doesn't mean much here....)

  3. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by BelgianHammer View Post
    ibericb,

    One of these days I want to get "Hogged"!! Just wish he'd come to the Old World....

    ... By the way, you want to know what the Belgians (that I know) think of one legged drills? They don't. Their idea of getting their cadence up is seeing how much faster they can get their foot speed going in heading towards the bar after a blistering group ride. And if they want more leg power, they simply decide to stand all afternoon/evening long instead of sitting while they blow curls of beer froth on your face singing off key American songs and talking about great America TV shows like Bonanza, Baywatch, Knight Rider and Days of Our Lives (don't ask, the proper extant decade at the moment doesn't mean much here....)

    All sound familiar. My wife is from near Breda, and all of her family is still in the area. We have a number of very dear Belgian friends who live near the border. They still believe in training Eddy style - 200 km group ride, rain /shine/snow/sleet/whatever, 2X per week minimum, and you still do more on your own. One of them is a brewer as well.

    Yeah, know all about the favored aged American songs, and TV shows too. When I visit I often have those stepped-back 30 years in time thoughts. Never quite figured that out.
    "When man invented the bicycle he reached the peak of his attainments."
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    Never use your face as a brake pad.
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  4. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by wim View Post
    It has not. But it's an interesting notion and I'll give it some serious thought.
    As one thought, consider that the muscles involved in "lifting" a pedal are likely to be less metabolically efficient than those that push down.

    Another really important one is the need to parse out the gravitational and inertial elements from muscular ones when examining pedal forces. People are mistakenly thinking all the forces involved at the pedals are due to action of the muscles when they are not.

    Some reading for thought:
    http://www.me.utexas.edu/~neptune/Papers/essr30(4).pdf

    In particular read the section starting on bottom of page 163 headed:
    Consequences for Pedaling Biomechanics

  5. #30
    wim
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex_Simmons/RST View Post
    Some reading for thought
    Thanks. Just having scanned it for now, I'm amazed. I was certainly aware that gravity and inertia are part and parcel of pedaling mechanics, but Kautz and Neptune are looking at this in a whole new light, at least for me. Something that jumped out at me was their contention that eliminating the radial component of the crank force would require the recruitment of additional muscles, causing metabolic cost to increase. In my simpler terms: you can try to make your pedaling more "effective," but it's going to cost you.

    I suppose I really should let go of those old Cavanagh, Sanderson, Daly et al. studies with their wonderful clock- and criterion diagrams and start reading more contemporary literature.

  6. #31
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    I like OLDs but not for efficiency. I use OLDs on my trainer during zone 1 warm ups. 1x8 or some variety. It just breaks up the tedium of straight zone one. It also works your core more than two legs as you have to use your core to during the pull-up phase.

    my $.02

  7. #32
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    I improved my pedal stroke with rollers not one leggy drills.
    It's a fire road.............
    I'm on a road bike..........

    They have enough in common to blast down it.

  8. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex_Simmons/RST View Post
    only with properly counterweighted cranks
    Ummm, weight is a force. Given the force on a pedal varies through the rotation how would one pick that "proper" counterweight?

    The point of the one legged drill is to unweight the non power leg such that the downward force (weight) = 0.

  9. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blue CheeseHead View Post
    Ummm, weight is a force. Given the force on a pedal varies through the rotation how would one pick that "proper" counterweight?

    The point of the one legged drill is to unweight the non power leg such that the downward force (weight) = 0.
    But the point of "one legged" drills is to use negative force (negative force does not equal 0 force) or pulling up with your one leg. You don't do "one legged" drills where you push down and ever so lightly bring the pedal back over, you pull up. Even if you did the ever so lightly thing trying to keep negative forces low, your leg speed would drop and would not be replicating real world riding, so whats the point? So since the ever so lightly thing is just like a normal turn of the cranks why not add your other leg and workout each one at the same time and just press down on the pedals.

    You do realize Alex probably has a better understanding of pedal dynamics than anyone on this board (he is an amputee racer and cycling coach).
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  10. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blue CheeseHead View Post
    Ummm, weight is a force.
    That's right.

    The mass (be it a mass attached to the pedal or your leg) pulls down with a force (weight) = mass x acceleration due to gravity. The tangential force applied to the crank arm will naturally vary depending on the angle of the crank arm, and since that moves in a circular arc, the tangential force will vary in a sinusoidal manner.

    Quote Originally Posted by Blue CheeseHead View Post
    Given the force on a pedal varies through the rotation how would one pick that "proper" counterweight?
    Refer to pics in my earlier post:
    one leg drills

    Around 10-11kg is about right although it might be a little less less for a light rider, maybe a little more for a large rider. You simply start with about that much and adjust so that it feels about right.

    It needs to reasonably replicate the approximate mass/inertia of a leg moving up and down.

    Quote Originally Posted by Blue CheeseHead View Post
    The point of the one legged drill is to unweight the non power leg such that the downward force (weight) = 0.
    That may well be what you think the point of them are, but if there is no weight on the opposite pedal, then you are having to do much more than if both legs are in place. You are having to lift the leg up, and you have also removed almost half of the rotating mass of the crank/leg system.

    When you are riding with both legs, the weight of one leg going down all but balances out the weight of the other leg coming up. There is also more rotating mass of the crank/leg system.

    Being single legged with no counterweight means that normal gravitational balance is lost, and so work is required to lift the single leg each stroke and it also removes half the rotating mass of the pedal/crank/leg system. That's a completely unnatural pedalling action and is no longer practising bicycling but rather it's practising becoming good at single legged cycling. They are not the same motor action, and research into this shows us that there is little if any transference of such different motor skill, and that pedalling dynamics revert to "normal" when you revert to two legged cycling.

    By adding a counterweight it helps to maintain the inertial load as well as provide the natural gravitational balance of two legs.

    It's use is primarily for when injury means two legged riding isn't possible.

    The best drills for pedalling "technique" are racing and riding under pressure.

  11. #36
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    Hi Alex,

    Thanks for the information shared. The attachments aren't working for me, and I'm looking for the solution you describe of 10-11kg of weight attached to the pedal/crank arm.

    Could you please share your thoughts on the best way to accomplish that? I'm recovering from a knee injury and can only cycle with my left/non-driveside leg...

    Thanks much!!

  12. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by marquinhos View Post
    Hi Alex,

    Thanks for the information shared. The attachments aren't working for me, and I'm looking for the solution you describe of 10-11kg of weight attached to the pedal/crank arm.

    Could you please share your thoughts on the best way to accomplish that? I'm recovering from a knee injury and can only cycle with my left/non-driveside leg...

    Thanks much!!
    Try these:

    https://i220.photobucket.com/albums/...s/IMG_0316.jpg

    https://i220.photobucket.com/albums/...s/IMG_0317.jpg

    https://i220.photobucket.com/albums/...ps9d0e3dea.jpg

    It's tricky as you need a secure way of doing it. I use SLAM pedals which are built for the purpose but I don't know if you can buy them any more. I mostly use them for power meter calibrations.

    The other hassle is where to put your non-drive leg. It gets a bit awkward/uncomfortable, and also you won't be sitting on saddle quite the same.

  13. #38
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    Thanks much. Took a little bit of thinking, but I came up with this:

    IMG_20150302_131822988.jpgIMG_20150302_131826658_HDR.jpgIMG_20150302_131833512.jpg

    I sacrificed an old pedal for the axle, used regular 1" iron plates, some plastic sleeves to increase the diameter of the axle and some washers to help keep things in place. The pedal axle has a 5/16 thread at the end so I could use a nut to tighten everything in place.

    Will test it in a few minutes, seems like it will work quite well.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alex_Simmons/RST View Post
    Try these:

    https://i220.photobucket.com/albums/...s/IMG_0316.jpg

    https://i220.photobucket.com/albums/...s/IMG_0317.jpg

    https://i220.photobucket.com/albums/...ps9d0e3dea.jpg

    It's tricky as you need a secure way of doing it. I use SLAM pedals which are built for the purpose but I don't know if you can buy them any more. I mostly use them for power meter calibrations.

    The other hassle is where to put your non-drive leg. It gets a bit awkward/uncomfortable, and also you won't be sitting on saddle quite the same.

  14. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by marquinhos View Post
    Thanks much. Took a little bit of thinking, but I came up with this:

    I sacrificed an old pedal for the axle, used regular 1" iron plates, some plastic sleeves to increase the diameter of the axle and some washers to help keep things in place. The pedal axle has a 5/16 thread at the end so I could use a nut to tighten everything in place.

    Will test it in a few minutes, seems like it will work quite well.
    Nice - will be interested to hear how you got on. It's still a little different, and I found having to rest other leg somewhere was awkward.

    Need enough floor clearance too!

  15. #40
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    Very good indeed. The motion feels much more natural. Yesterday I rode 30 minutes but was a bit unsteady on my Elite In/Out trainer. Today I switched to a Kurt Kinetic and the solid platform (along with firm trainer roller/tire interface) made everything much smoother.

    I got 60 minutes of riding at 165watts which would have been very difficult without the counterweight. My average heart rate was 150bpm which would usually yield a solid endurance pace and 250-260watts with both legs working. Either way, I'm thrilled I can ride my bike and get decent workouts in.

    I had a minor issue with my adductor (I think...) on my working leg getting tight/sore afterwards, but nothing alarming. Probably something to deal with my injured leg sitting straight off to the side as to be far enough from the moving weights.

    At any rate, great success!! Thanks again for the advice.

  16. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by marquinhos View Post
    Very good indeed. The motion feels much more natural. Yesterday I rode 30 minutes but was a bit unsteady on my Elite In/Out trainer. Today I switched to a Kurt Kinetic and the solid platform (along with firm trainer roller/tire interface) made everything much smoother.

    I got 60 minutes of riding at 165watts which would have been very difficult without the counterweight. My average heart rate was 150bpm which would usually yield a solid endurance pace and 250-260watts with both legs working. Either way, I'm thrilled I can ride my bike and get decent workouts in.

    I had a minor issue with my adductor (I think...) on my working leg getting tight/sore afterwards, but nothing alarming. Probably something to deal with my injured leg sitting straight off to the side as to be far enough from the moving weights.

    At any rate, great success!! Thanks again for the advice.
    nice work.

    60-minutes to start with! I'm not surprised you had a niggle. In general I'd suggest starting with shorter efforts and building up

    And interesting that you were able to sustain more than half of your expected 2-legged power. This is what I mean about the CV system being available to supply one-leg and not two in this earlier post:
    one leg drills

    I'd be pretty surprised if anyone could sustain non-counterweighted single leg pedalling for such a duration. They certainly wouldn't be able to sustain it at the same power level. Other than perhaps those trained that way, e.g. amputee cyclists.

  17. #42
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    I probably am not going to do one leg drills myself but I did recently buy a set of rollers. If you want to ride the rollers then you are in for some changes in how you pedal. Anyway good or bad I am going for it and I am willing to change.

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