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One-Hour Workout: Maximizing Pedal Stroke and Aero Position Work

Pedal efficiency, technique, and position set you up for the season ahead in this week's 60-minute session.

This week’s one-hour workout is all about efficiency and position. Focus on fluidity through the pedal stroke and ensuring you’re maximizing the full pedal stroke. We can get power from the full clock face of the stroke, so we shouldn’t have weak or dead spots in the middle. Of course, we gain a lot of power from the 11 to 5 o’clock positions—where we’re pushing down—but if we also focus on keeping continuous tension on the chain, pulling through from 5 to 1 o’clock then we gain the maximum efficiency.

The second focus here is on our aero position on the bike—so you’ll want to do this workout on your time trial or TT bike if you have one, or in your aerobars or race position on your road bike if appropriate. With races potentially on the horizon, we want to start getting used to that position again and working on holding a really good powerful but aero position, while still maintaining the smooth, efficient. and fluid pedal stroke.

If you want to progress the session as you get fitter, keep in mind:

  1. Increase the main sets to 4 x 2 minutes, with 1 minute in between, before the final 10 minutes at tempo
  2. As you get fitter through the season, your power at these effort levels will increase and your heart rate should start to decrease for the same effort.

This session can be performed on a trainer or outside. All effort levels are given on the 1-10 RPE scale (rate of perceived exertion).

One-Hour Workout: Bike Efficiency & Position

Warm Up:

4 minutes @ 3-4 out of 10 RPE
4.5 minutes of single leg drills as: 3 x [30 seconds left leg / 30 seconds right leg / 30 second both legs]
3.5 minutes @ 3-4/10 RPE

NOTE: Don’t worry too much about the power output during the single-leg drills, just focus on a fluid pedal stroke, no clunking and no dead spots. Unclip one side, and pedal just using one leg, after 30 seconds switch over and just pedal with the other leg. Then spend 30 seconds pedaling with both legs again to shake it out; before repeating twice more. 

Main Set:

Three sets of 3 x 2 minutes, with 1 minute easy in between—building the effort through the three sets. Followed by 10 minutes at a slightly lower effort level.

Set 1:
3 x 2 minutes @ 7-8/10 RPE in TT position, with 1 minute easy in between each set

NOTE: Now that you are in the main part of the workout keep that focus on the pedal stroke, but also now add the good aero position too. If you’re on the train, put a mirror in front of your bike so you can really watch your position, ensuring you are tucking your neck but your eyes are forward on the road, and then pulling your shoulders in. You almost pull up on the end of the aero bars and push into the elbow pads. 

Set 2:
3 x 2 minutes @ 8/10 RPE in seated position, with 1 minute easy in between each set

Set 3:
3 x 2 minutes @ 8-9/10 RPE in TT position, with 1 minute easy in between each set

Set 4:
4 minutes easy spinning before the final block of work
10 minutes @ 7-8/10 RPE, in seated position or in TT

NOTE: Again focus on a fluid pedal stroke while maintaining the aero position. 

Warm Down:

Easy spin to total time, or add longer to flush out legs

Laura Siddall is a five-time Iron-distance champion and British pro triathlete.