Monday, December 3, 2007

Tour de Garage- one legged drills

Here is another workout from my Tour de Garage series. I want to explain the background of this workout first. I am sorry if I lose you but I will try to keep it simple. Why do we do one legged drills? To improve our pedal stroke, right? Well if we don't know what makes up our pedal stroke, we can't improve it. Think about this for a minute. When you do one legged drills, is it easier for your the more you sit up, or can you do them just as well on your tops as you can in the aero position?

The pedal stroke can be broken into four phases. TDC is the top dead center, 90 degrees is the 3 o'clock position, 180 at 6 0'clock, 270 at 9 o'clock, back to TDC. Here is the list of muscles (or groups) working during each phase.

From TDC to 90 degrees: Quadriceps and gluteus maximus (butt).
From 90 degrees to 180 degrees: Gastrocnemius (calve), and hamstrings
From 180 degrees to 270 degrees: hamstrings, dorsiflexors (raises your toes up), and gastrocnemius (calve)
From 270 degrees to TDC: Rectus Femoris (front of the thigh) and tibialis anterior (shin)

That being said, think about the last time you did one legged intervals. What part hurt? Can you concentrate on contracting your quads and butt, then your calves and hamstring, then the front of your thigh and shin? When we bring our leg up from 270 degrees to TDC we want to use our hip flexors. However, the further bent down we are, the less they have the ability to work. The Rectus Femoris is a hip flexor, although not the primary one. So we have to get good and using all the muscles possible and not count on just momentum to bring our leg up. That is why this drill will have you in different positions on the bike. We are going to force our muscles to work how they should. If this workout is hard, you probably need it. So here we go.

Warm up
(small ring/15) Start cadence at 80 rpm. Increase by 10 rpm every minute for a total of 5 minutes (120 rpm)

Rest 1 minute

(big ring/15) 30 seconds at a 90% effort, 30 seconds recovery for 3 sets

Rest 2 minutes

One legged drill module
(big ring/18) Start with your left leg clipped in and your right leg behind your trainer. Pedal in a fluid pedal stoke with your left leg for one minute. Your hands should be on the tops of the bars.

Easy pedal for 1 minute both legs, then do it for your right leg. Easy pedal again for 1 minute. Change to your left leg again for 1 minute but move your hands to your hoods. Keep repeating the cycle of:
left leg 1 minute
both legs 1 minute
right leg 1 minute
both legs 1 minute.

For each cycle you will move you hand and body position:
tops of bars
aero position
aero position
tops of bars

Cool down:
(small ring/15) Start cadence at 120 rpm. Decrease by 10 rpm every 1 minute for 5 minutes.
Continue to soft pedal for another 2-5 minutes.

Remember to concentrate on getting those muscle to work. If they burn, you need this workout. If you are having particular problems with a segment of the pedal stroke (and this drill will tell you where you are weak), work on that segment. Start your stroke at the beginning of the segment and quickly contract those muscles needed to get through the rest of the stroke. Stop and repeat.

Hope you like the workout. Hope it wasn't too much tech talk, just wanted to make sure you had the background. Comment me if you have questions.
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