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Sprinting/ Climbing form question(8 posts)

Sprinting/ Climbing form questiontimfire
Jan 26, 2002 11:49 AM
This is a newbie question I'm sure (since I'm still pretty new to road riding), but I was wondering when sprinting and climbing, how much side-sway/ leaning is acceptable for good form.

You know what I mean, the old "lean the bike toward the right to a accompany a left-foot downstroke" and vice versa. Is this motion OK or is it just a left-over habit from when I rode with flats? Should I try to keep the bike as vertical as possible when sprinting or climbing?

-Timothy KLeinert
re: Sprinting/ Climbing form questiontheBreeze
Jan 26, 2002 1:27 PM
We see it all the time. The big sprint to the finish and everyone's throwing the bike from side to side. In the last few seconds of a race I don't know that it really matters. (except if you wipe out in your enthusiasm!) However when climbing my opinion is that it's a lot of wasted energy in the lateral plane and really doesn't add that much to forward movement. Besides, do it long enough and your going to burn out faster. It can also result from poor core control, or mashing. Neither very smart cycling. Maybe some do it to make it LOOK or FEEL like they're working hard?

In sprinting, my understanding is that the movement comes from the opposing pull on the handle bars to get a stronger downstroke, than from "leaning."

Replay some old TDF vidoes and check out the form of the "good" climbers and the "bad" climbers. Any trends? Can't say that I've ever seen LA doing a lot of flip flopping, he's pretty steady out of the saddle on a climb. TT's may be different.
re: Sprinting/ Climbing form questionWoof the dog
Jan 26, 2002 1:30 PM
do it the way it feels good and natural. Some people think it is a waste of energy while others find it imperative to their rhythm. In my experience, I spend way more upper body strength trying to keep the bike vertical. Leaning the bike side to side feels good and natural and seems to help pushing a big gear up the hills. For sprinting if you lean it side to side too much, at some point it may be harder to keep the right line so focus on good "snap" and true spin that keeps your rear wheel on the ground instead of monstrous gear mashing.

just some things

Woof the dog.
re: Sprinting/ Climbing form questionTig
Jan 26, 2002 4:31 PM
Here's what I wrote in response to a similar question on sprinting form in the Racing board. It may not be for everyone, but it has worked well for me on the road as well as the track.

One way to keep your upper body mostly quiet and to transfer more power to the cranks is in how you use your arms. I'll try to describe it. When you are sprinting in the drops, grip your hands and use your arms as if you were twisting the bar backwards within the horizontal clamp in the stem. Your hands will be trying to move the drops in the same motion you would drink from a bottle... twisting up and back.

Go ahead and try it after sprinting like normal. You will notice a difference. A track coach taught me that and it felt like more of my power was being transferred to the wheels, and in a more explosive way. It also quiets the wild lateral bike movement.
re: Sprinting/ Climbing form questionWoof the dog
Jan 26, 2002 8:01 PM
yo Tigger, can you explain that in a different way please? It seems that you are describing a regular pull back on the bars when you are in the drops thing. Do you mean you need to twist your bars as if you were trying to rotate it in the stem to make the shifters come up higher? I don't get it.

Also, I am still in need to work on my elbows out in the sprint. It seems impossible when I look at Genevive doing that. When I try to imitate just how wide she has them, I don't have any good grasp on the bars for that extra leverage.

Thanx a bunch

Woof, the sprinting dog.
my late responseTig
Jan 28, 2002 9:48 AM
Sorry, I just noticed your post. You have it right. You are trying to twist the bars (within the front horizontal stem clamp) as if you were trying to bring the levers UPward. I believe this works to smooth out the upper body better than just pulling back on the bars since it helps prevent extra wheel-turning inputs from your arms.

Try it and see if it works for you.
Watch the Pros on Tape (if Possible)Greenie
Jan 26, 2002 7:45 PM
Here's an important point. The sprinters' bodies are not swaying when they sprint, but rather the bikes are moving side to side.

You're supposed to pull up on the bar. There are lots of people and books that describe this well. Track guys use both arms and pull up and back a bit. You should be able to find a book in the bookstore that has well-written and concise descriptions of the proper sprinting and climbing form.

re: Sprinting/ Climbing form questiontuffnick
Jan 26, 2002 9:53 PM
I'm a track sprinter so trust my opinion on sprinting over climbing. But if you look at track riders and how they sprint there is absolutely no side to side motion whether starting in an event such as a kilo or accelerating so when sprinting in road races I take this techique off the track and onto the road.

On the road you have a bit more leeway but I feel a little side to side play is fine but ideally you should limit it. The best thing I'd recommend is find a crit course (or something similar to it) with 4 corners and do a couple sessions just sprinting practising each technique seeing which is most effective for you through max speed. For example swing your bike side to side wildly... keep your upper body calm... try twisting the bars up like was mentioned in an earlier post and figure out what works for you.

Also do the same for climbing... with climbing however since unless you live on a very steep hill most of your climbs will be in the middle of the ride so all the excess energy from swaying a bike side to side may really hurt you in the long run. I have a teammate who's tiny and dances on the pedals up the hill wriggling all over the place and just flies but my coach literally told him to stop and focus more on being smooth. But once again over a few different sessions timing your climb up the hill with different techniques.

Finally one of the most important things whether seated or standing when climbing or sprinting for a cyclist is core strength and its often neglected. This year its something I've been working on very very hard so I recommend you do the same. 3 sessions a week is more than adequete!

Good luck!
Nick :)