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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
There seems to be some debate as to the effectiveness of pulling up on the pedals.

From the riding I've done so far (which isn't that much, only 700 or so miles this year), I've found that pulling up on the pedals is a great way to temporarily alleviate the lactic acid buildup in the thighs.

I also don't like how it seems to be an all or nothing debate. Yes, your legs are already balanced by the weight of the other leg. However, pulling up in a way that doesn't actually strain that lower abdominal group very much seems to be far more effective than trying to lift the weight of your leg every time.

Also, most of the power is already coming from the thigh in that part of the pedal stroke. So, again, it seems more like a way to temporarily alleviate the thighs rather than as a way to improve efficiency for a long period of time.

Also, as far as pulling back and pushing forward in the spin: I feel like it's best to try to maintain momentum, and you will lose a very slight amount when the pedals are in a vertical position if you are not spinning.

But I also feel like putting too much effort into this small part of the pedal stroke will also run you out of gas early. So, my sense with this is to pull back and push forward slightly on this part as to maintain momentum a little bit, but using all of these muscle groups intensely seems to waste energy.

All you're doing in any of these movements is balancing forces on the crank arms. The weight of your legs is already balanced, but there are still a number of factors to consider.

Thoughts? I'd love to hear more opinions on this, as well as some more solid research as well as what the actual current status quo is amongst the top riders in terms of pedaling technique.
 

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Where's that GPS?
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No science here to back this up - just my impression - I have a smoother cadance and go faster when I pull-up as well.

Ask a Pro - or even an almost Pro - they must make a science out of getting the most bang-for-the-buck and endurance out of thier pedal stroke. It is after all the key contact point as well as the point where your body's energy becomes forward momentum.

Hard to say when it comes to endurance - did you have a bad day because you pulled up on your stroke or would you have had a bad day anyway?

I'm interested to see what everybodyelse thinks about this.
 

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I only purposely and intently employ the pulling-up technique when

1) I'm riding tempo by myself and in zone3 heart rate. This allows me to pull the pedals in a controlled way. Once my heart start to race and I'm hammering, I can't pull, then it becomes mostly mashing.

2) I'm riding in a group and I'm drafting someone. In this case, I sit and pull and spin.. conserving energy. Cadence is usually high. You can't pull up on low cadence or else your cleats might just pop out.

3) on climbing, I've tried pulling but sometimes this cause my rear wheel to hop. It's probably my bad technique as I tend to "jump up" on the pedals during the pull stroke.

All in all, I find pulling to be most effectively employed when sitting in the draft of a group and spinning at a high cadance (100+ rpm).
 

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There seems to be some debate as to the effectiveness of pulling up on the pedals.
The only debate is between those who've seen and understood the data and those who haven't or choose to ignore it. If the goal is to go fast, push down as hard as you can on the pedals at whatever cadence feels best to you and don't worry about the rest.

I'm pretty sure Hunter Allen and Stephen Cheung go over the research on this in Cutting-Edge Cycling: Hunter Allen, Stephen Cheung: 9780736091091: Amazon.com: Books
 

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2) I'm riding in a group and I'm drafting someone. In this case, I sit and pull and spin.. conserving energy.
You might be conserving something, but it sure ain't energy. The power to propel the bike doesn't depend on cadence so there's no saving there. Then since humans are most efficient at cadences between 60-70 rpm, if anything, a higher cadence means consuming more calories for the same work at the pedals.
 

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There seems to be some debate as to the effectiveness of pulling up on the pedals.
Actually, there isn't. The data show that experienced professionals push down and nobody pulls up. Stronger riders push down harder. Simple as that. If you are learning to spin smoothly and think of "pedaling circles" that is improving your style. The only time you can successfully pull up is at low cadence which should only be taking place when climbing and then you can only sustain pulling up for a very short period of time.

Arguments among misinformed people do not constitute a "debate."
 

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'brifter' is f'ing stupid
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if you're pulling up on the pedals you're doing it wrong. plain and simple. NO racers pull up on the pedals. don't take this the wrong way, but the only people that do are the ones that don't know any better.
 

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I don't think Kerry, bigbill or cx could have said it any better. That sums it all up. The only time I ever remotely feel like I'm pulling up is climbing and at a low cadence.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Actually, there isn't. The data show that experienced professionals push down and nobody pulls up. Stronger riders push down harder. Simple as that. If you are learning to spin smoothly and think of "pedaling circles" that is improving your style. The only time you can successfully pull up is at low cadence which should only be taking place when climbing and then you can only sustain pulling up for a very short period of time.

Arguments among misinformed people do not constitute a "debate."
Yeah, this is actually pretty much exactly when I do it and what comes naturally to me: while climbing and momentarily to relieve lactic acid buildup in the thighs without wasting the energy of getting out of the saddle.

Otherwise, yes, it completely feels like a waste.
 

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Many cycling book I've read says concentrate on the 3 o'clock to 9 o'clock position of the stroke. The best way to describe it is pretend to scrape mud off the bottom of your shoe. This will give you a power stroke that helps you do a proper circular motion.
When I concentrate on this stroke, I gain 1 or 2 mph without even thinking about it.
"pulling up" is what I hear from spinning instructors who don't actually ride outside.
 

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Actually, there isn't. The data show that experienced professionals push down and nobody pulls up. Stronger riders push down harder. Simple as that. If you are learning to spin smoothly and think of "pedaling circles" that is improving your style. The only time you can successfully pull up is at low cadence which should only be taking place when climbing and then you can only sustain pulling up for a very short period of time.

Arguments among misinformed people do not constitute a "debate."
Show the data please.
 

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Show the data please.
Capmal S and Vandewalle H, “Torque-velocity relationship during cycle ergometer sprints with and without toe clips”, European Journal of Applied Physiology. 76: 375-379, 1997
Coyle EF, Feltner ME, Kautz SA, Hamilton Mt, Montain SJ, Naylor AM, Abraham LD and Petrek GW, “Physiological and biomechanical factors associated with elite endurance cycling performance”, Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. Vol 23 No 1: 93 – 107, 1990
Jorge M and Hull M “Analysis of EMG measurements during bicycle pedaling”, Journal of Biomechanics. 19: 683-694, 1986
Ting LH, Kautz SA, Brown DA and Zajac FE, “Contralateral movement and extensor force generation alter flexion phase muscle coordination in pedalling”, Journal of Neurobiology. 83 (6): 3351-65, 2000.

Or did you mean summarize the research and hand feed it to you?
 
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