4 cycling drills to improve cycling technique

Wondering how you can improve your cycling technique? Here are four proven sets from triathlon legends Spencer Smith and Joe Friel that will do just that...

How can I improve my cycling technique?
  1. ISOLATED LEG
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Isolated leg cycling drill

Coach Joe Friel

Benefits
To improve pedal technique.

Kit Bike, turbo trainer, apparel.

Nutrition
Bottle of water or electrolytes.

Warm-up 5-10mins of increasingly harder-effort cycling.

Main set With light resistance on a trainer, do 90% of work with one leg while the other is rested on a stool. Spin with a higher than normal cadence. Change legs when fatigue sets in. Focus on eliminating dead spots at the top and bottom of the pedal stroke. Don’t worry about heart rate or power with this one – it’s all about technique.

Cool-down 5mins of gentle cycling.

2. SPIN-UPS

The spin ups cycle drills

Coach Joe Friel

Benefits This drill helps to widen the bandwidth of cadence, making you a more complete cyclist.

Kit Bike, bike apparel, bike computer, turbo trainer (or you can do this outside).

Nutrition
Bottle of water or electrolytes.

Warm-up 5-10mins of increasingly harder-effort cycling.

Main set Set turbo trainer to light resistance then for 1min, gradually increase cadence to maximum. This is the rpm you can maintain without bouncing. As cadence increases, allow your legs and feet to relax – especially your toes. Hold your max for as long as possible. Recover for at least a minute and repeat several times. These are best and power aren’t important here.

Cool-down
5mins of gentle cycling

3. THE WEAVE

the weave cycling drill

Coach Spencer Smith

Benefits This drill really helps your bike handling. It’s also a good one to work on concentration and it helps strengthen your core a little, too.

Kit Bike, cones, bike apparel.

Nutrition
Bottle of water or electrolytes.

Warm-up 10mins of easy-to-moderate cycling

Main set The in-and out weave drill can be done either on the road or, to add complexity, on a softer surface. Simply place three or four objects in a row (cone or stones, for example) around 5m apart. Then, in a figure-of-eight motion, weave your way through the objects in a continuous manner. The more proficient you become, the closer you can bring the objects together. A key pointer is to look ahead not directly at the object you’re manoeuvring around.

Cool-down 5mins of gentle cycling

4. PEDAL, DON’T FORCE

pedalling drills to improve cycling technique

Coach Spencer Smith

Benefits This drill adds fluidity and suppleness to your pedalling.

Kit Bike, bike apparel.

Nutrition
Bottle of water or electrolytes.

Warm-up 10mins of easy-to-moderate cycling.

Main set Some coaches love to over complicate things and pedalling style is something that really keeps them busy. I’d advise keeping it simple – don’t overthink the issue. I like a simple 1min at high cadence (around 100-plus RPM), keeping your upper body still and relaxed, letting the pedal return to the starting position without forcing it, followed directly into 1min slightly overgeared at around 70 to 75-plus rpm. The contrast in cadence will really help your pedalling form.

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Cool-down 5mins of gentle cycling.