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  1. #1
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    The Gluteal Turbo and Climbing

    This thread is the opposite of AndrwSwitch "More Power on the Flats" and related to the "Help me be a better climber" thread, but it has more to do with fine-tuning riding position.

    A few years ago, I wanted to increase my power on flats. Came across the Wrench Science site fit calculator and set up my bike with the measurements provided (most notably, a 12-15mm DROP in saddle height), then tweaked them slightly. I discovered a whole new reservoir of power from more gluteal involvement. Spent most of the last couple of years (before this summer) time-trailing on a nearby rail trail that has a slight incline of 2-3% over about 15mi. I have been very strong on flats and on steep technical "oxygen debt" climbs (as Ned Overend refers to them in his book), but I have been getting left behind on long 8-15% 1-6mi road climbs common here.

    I read about dead spots in the pedal stroke in the "Help me be a better climber" thread. Sounds like it could be a problem for me. Started doing one-leg trainer workouts. I found the hip flexors tire quickly so I am pushing up a tired foot on the down stroke as well as pushing the bike forward. However, if I raise the saddle some to a position of not raising the knee so far on the upstroke and helping my hips, I basically turn off the gluteal involvement, and the power goes away, but I do the long moderate climbs faster.

    Is there a resolution here, or have I discovered a point in cycling where you have to pick one or the other?

  2. #2
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    that is a good question. i have no idea but will be interested in responses so i can learn also

  3. #3
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    I am glad to see that someone else is interested. I figured many probably have come across this situation. I have been working more on pedal form this week on the trainer--primarily in the form of single leg efforts--instead of solely keeping my HR high. Seems as though after the big push to the bottom of the stroke, my hamstrings, then hips, then those little muscles at the bottom of your shin that pull the foot back up were not as strong as I would have liked. I assumed I had good form since I can maintain a spin of 110 for quite a while. I did a very steep 2-mile road climb today with very steep switchbacks, and finishing the stroke up the back really smoothed out the effort on the climb. I guess we can all continue to work on our form, especially since winter is coming. Doing some more long road climbs tomorrow, so I will see how it works out.

    My guess is that the higher the saddle, the more it compensates for a more square pedaling style. I'll see how it works in the woods on Sunday.

  4. #4
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    everything I've read says that your greatest power is a "stomping" kind of pedal stroke and not an "ankling" one as you'd get from a higher saddle.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by tranquilo
    everything I've read says that your greatest power is a "stomping" kind of pedal stroke and not an "ankling" one as you'd get from a higher saddle.
    I feel this too but my knees hate any "power" position. So, I end up with a higher, more forward saddle position. Usually right at or just behind KOPS with little "ankling"

    G
    You can't depend on honest answers from dependant hands...

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