3 Steps to a Faster Bike Split

Cycling Form

Everyone knows how to ride a bike. We've been doing this since we were 3 years old. Honestly, it doesn't change much whether riding a tricycle or a triathlon bike, but there are things you can do to improve the experience.

With better form, you can achieve greater power output with less input. Here's how. Start at the pedals and move up from there. If you don't have a pair of cycling shoes and clip-in pedals, go get some. They will allow for a full stroke while pedaling and give you better power transfer from your feet to the bike.

When pedaling, you want to keep your feet relatively flat around the circle of the cranks. Keep your ankles still. Avoid toeing down at the front of the pedal stroke and pulling up with the heel. Pedaling in circles lessens the "dead spot", where there is no power being transferred, in one's pedal stoke.

Also, one leg is almost always stronger than the other. When riding, work to push the pedals evenly with each leg. Your weak leg will gain strength and ultimately work better with your dominant leg. Keep your knees in line with your hips on the down stroke, and straight, or inside, as your drive upward on the back end of the pedal stroke.

Lastly, engage your core. Don't pedal lazily. Feel your abs when you ride, keep your spine straight and lessen the tension in the upper shoulders, upper back and neck. This opens your hip angle for a stronger and more balanced pedal stroke.

More: 4 Exercises to Improve Your Aero Position

Cycling Fast

There are a three key ways to train and get better or faster on the bike. You can ride more often, go farther or ride faster. Most of you are riding as much as you can during a training week, and depending on the racing you are training for, riding farther doesn't always equate to better results. With the time you have to train, it is essential to get in quality rides.

You have some options. Join a faster group ride. Be sure to warm up before departing with this new group, stay toward the back of the group and hold on as long as you can.

Secondly, find a spin class led by a local cyclist. The workouts will better resemble real road riding and you may find yourself riding harder than you would on the road alone.

Lastly, determine your maximum heart rate, and do interval training at 85 percent of that max heart rate. Allow for equal rest or two times the rest compared to the interval duration. Be sure to consult a coach or more experienced rider when beginning an interval training program.

Add these three elements to your cycling, and you will find a new and improved bike split. Your bike may not turn any heads in transition, but you will definitely get a few double-takes on the bike course when you go flying by all that "bling."

More: A Breakdown of the Cycling Pedal Stroke

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