– What is it that makesprofessional cyclists look so good, so slick on their bikes.
– It's probably the kit mate.
I mean it's like everything matches and it all just looks reallywell fitting and it's crisp.
– [Dan] Yeah that's not, that's not the only thing.
– All right, speed.
I mean everyone looks goodwhen they're going fast and it especially if, as a pro, you're probably ripped and you're tan.
– Yeah, I take your points but there is also moreto it even than that because even at slow speed, pro cyclists just look so smooth and so stylish on their bikes and I've actually gotsome good news for you.
– You've got some good news, for me? – Yes, even we can lookbetter on our bikes without getting fitter or faster.
All you've got to do iswork on a few bad habits that you might have got intosince you started cycling.
So today, we're going to betalking through things like bouncing up and down on the saddle or bobbing up and downand around with your body or riding with your knees out like you're some kindof chopper on a chopper or riding with your elbows out, plus solutions to those problems.
– Hang on a minute mate, youdefinitely do the whole elbows thing and I bob up and down, from time to time.
– I know I'm veryself-conscious about my elbows so hopefully I will also learnsomething on today's video.
– All right.
– We'll start with the most common one, bobbing up and down as you ride along.
Now I mean, there's nothinginherently wrong with this.
I've learned that, butit's a waste of energy.
But it just kind of looksa little bit ungainly.
– It's not very graceful.
– No – There are pros who bob.
I mean Eddy Merckx bobbed up and down and proof's in the pudding.
He wasn't that bad, was he? – No – But there aren't many pros these days and if they do they kind ofstand out like a sore thumb.
– Cyril Gaultier – Most of them are as solidas a rock in the saddle even when they're veryclose their physical limit – How do they do that? – Well practice, thatis very important one.
Actually just recognizingthat you might be susceptible to bobbing up and down a little bit and then remembering to stopwhenever you begin to do it.
It's definitely an element of being a learned behavior I think.
But certainly with professional cyclists the trend now for doing core work certainly helps keep thatupper body rock solid.
– [Dan] The theory goes that a strong core allows you to keep your back and neck stable whilst riding, which in turn means that almost all the power you are producing goes through your glutes and legs and therefore directlyinto the pedal stroke.
– [Simon] And we've gota few videos here on GCN with cycling specific core workouts.
The other area though that you will obviously want to work on is on the bike.
– Now, in terms ofthings to do on the bike, we have two recommendations.
Firstly, cadence drills andsecondly, riding the rollers.
– I think cadence issuper, super important.
Firstly, pedaling slowly makes you more susceptible to bobbing up and down so, no cadence like this, you find you can just grind it out whereas the faster you pedal, the faster you'd have tobob up your upper body.
So therefore, it theoretically, becomes more difficult to do so.
– So, try this session acouple of times per week.
What you want to doare five minute efforts starting at 80 RPM for the first minute and then raising 10 RPM perminute until you're done.
All the time, concentrating far more on keeping a still upper body than the power you'repushing through the pedals.
Get five to six reps in persession, a couple per week and you should soon start tonotice a quite big difference.
The rollers trick isa really good one too.
The less you bob and moveyour body on rollers, the easier it is to ride them so you will naturally startto move your body less, just to make things simpler for yourself.
Set your rollers up in front of a mirror and concentrate on keeping asstill as possible on the bike for 10 minutes at a time.
Our next terrible technique is bouncing, i.
those riders who bounceup and down on the saddle and some people, evenwith a still upper body, can find themselves doing this.
– It's often associatedwith higher cadences.
That's perhaps why it's quite common sight in spin classes as well.
Just like with our first poor technique, this one can also partlybe solved at least by cadence drills and practice.
– [Dan] Now, since this bouncing generally starts at higher cadences, the first thing to do is bring your cadence down to the point where you aren't bouncing which will probably be around 70 RPM.
Spend five minutes riding at the cadence whicheliminates your bouncing and then increase your cadence by five RPM every two minutes.
– Now personally, I always find that I'm susceptible to bouncing in the saddle where my cadence is really high but the resistance so, effectively the power I'mputting out, is really low and that's definitely, definitely noticeable when I'm riding on rollers.
I find that when I'mspinning a high cadence, I do tend to bounce and so, actually practicing on rollers isn't a bad idea if you'vegot access to a pair.
And when you're on there you'll find the sensationis one of kind of trying to control theupstroke of your pedals.
You'll see when you do it.
It's quite hard to describe, isn't it.
Now we don't wanna sound pedantic but there is a fine line and that if you make yourself too rigid, too immobile and too rock-solid kind of also looks a little bit strange.
– Yeah, you almost looka bit robotic, don't you, if you're too still.
So what is that balance then Si? Slightly relaxed upper body at arms.
– Yeah I think- Fairly still upper body – The key is to have relaxedarms, relaxed shoulders but maybe keep that core nice and solid.
– Hope that's clear.
– Next up is riding with your knees out.
Now again, even if you'renot bothered at all by the aesthetics of cycling and that is absolutely fine, riding your knees out slows you down because they generate somuch more aerodynamic drag that you will end up not going as fast despite putting the same amount of effort.
– One thing that youshould definitely not do to try and remedy this bad technique is alter the position of your cleats to try and force yourknees back in and straight, that is a recipe for injury.
We've all got our own naturalfoot position as we walk and as we cycle and you shouldn'tbe trying to change that.
– Instead, what you shouldlook at is your saddle height so you will find it very difficult to ride with your knees out when your saddle is inthe correct position.
So therefore, if you are susceptible to riding with your knees out, perhaps simply a case thatyour saddle is too low.
Now, it's actually quite straightforward to check that you're atleast in the ballpark for correct saddle height.
Find somewhere very safe andvery quiet to ride your bike.
You should just about beable to turn the pedals with your heels resting on them.
Now, it is gonna feel very uncomfortable, your pelvis is gonnabe all over the place.
So if you find that you can do it actually with a relative amount of comfort then I suggest your saddleit's probably too low.
– We spoke to EF Education First chiropractor Matt Rabin about this and he said that the problemhere could be, and I quote, “Down to having shorter and or tighter gluteus medius or maximus or possibly poor pelvicfunction and stability.
Additionally it couldbe weak adductor muscles or simply the way yourhips sit in their sockets.
” – Now diagnosing yourself can prove tricky so if you are bothered about this, you might want to go and seekout a cycling specific physio.
– As Si kindly pointed out atthe beginning of this video, I always tend to ride withmy elbows slightly out.
Yeah I've always wanted to change it but to be fair, I haven'treally put that much effort in.
– Now, and I can see why, I mean, Chris Froome rides with his elbows out.
Although I suspect, it'sprobably the reason why, despite winning four Tours de France, people often point out that he actually doesn't look that goodwhilst he's doing it.
– Yeah, I feel a lotbetter about myself now.
– Well, I mean you should mate because he has stillwon four Tours de France so it can't be thatdetrimental to performance.
– No, that is true althoughthat said, it must also carry some kind of aerodynamic penalty albeit less than having your knees out.
So, I reckon it's worth working on.
– [Simon] There are a fewthings you can look at here.
Firstly your reach, i.
the distance between your handlebars and your saddle.
If that length is too short then you're gonna to be forcing yourself into a hunched position.
So, your elbows, they'vegotta go somewhere.
– [Dan] The other thing to look at here is your handlebar width.
The current fashionamongst professional riders is to adopt narrower bars inorder to get more aerodynamic but if you are a riderwith broad shoulders that can encourage amore elbows-out position.
– Now, if neither ofthose things seem to help as they don't appear to have done for Dan, then it might just be that it'syour body's natural position and there's not verymuch you can do about it so not worth worrying.
– Yeah hold your horses there, Si because I also spoke toMatt Rabin about this, he did say it is mybody's natural position.
I'm probably adopting thisslightly elbows out position to try and get moreleverage through my torso and ultimately morepower through the pedals.
– More power to pedals, I think there's a flaw in his logic there Danwhen it comes to you.
Anyway, it did give me a couple of things I can work on to try and remedy this.
Firstly, working on my posterior chain and lower back strength but also on my pelvicand shoulder stability.
– So more core work then? – Yeah, yeah it does seem like core work is the answer to a lot ofthese problems, isn't it.
– Now one thing that we have deliberately not gone into much detailon so far is your bike fit because that has a hugebearing on your ability to adopt the correct technique.
So, if your saddle is too high or too low, too far forwards, too far backwards, the reach to the handlebarsis too long or too short.
All of those things are going to compound any issues you have.
– Yeah, you could, though, go, of course, to a professional bike fitter but it's our opinion here at GCN that you should be ableto get reasonably close to the perfect cycling position through your own researchand trial and error.
And in fact, we do have a number of videos that will help you get intothe correct a cycling position and once you do find that right position, you will instantly look more professional.
But more importantly, you're going to be far more comfortable.
– Yeah and the other thing that is definitely worth a mention and indeed has a bearing on your comfort and positionon the bike is your flexibility because if you don't getcomfortable on your bike then you're gonna be fidgetingand it's far more likely that you'll slip into anykind of bad techniques.
So, in addition to yournewfound core routine, you may well want to think about adding some stretching in the mix as well, maybe just do yoga, thatwould sort it all out.
It's actually harder than you think.
– If that guy in the car was a cyclist he'd think “(bleep) choppers.