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My turn to ask a sprinting question(12 posts)

My turn to ask a sprinting questionPODIUMBOUNDdotCA
Feb 5, 2003 10:36 AM
Out of curiousity does anyone know what the ankle position should ideally be when sprinting at about 140+ rpm in saddle? Is it possible to ankle at least a little or should the ankle be locked at a certain position?

I find myself sprinting toes down at about 180-190 rpm on rollers which completely takes the power out of the hamstrings.

answer from a non-expertlonefrontranger
Feb 5, 2003 10:47 AM
Thought I'd jump in here before the usual crapflood one of your posts tends to trigger, as it's a legit question.

I'm a Cat III woman who's not a pure sprinter, more of the last wheel in the leadout train if you know what I mean, so my opinion is worth what you just paid for it.

What I've been told is you have to keep your form, regardless of ankling. If your form and balance on the bike is compromised, no amount of worrying about what your lower leg is doing will add power.

That being said, if you have the flexibility and form to ankle at this RPM (I do, at least on a Spin bike and the fixie), it will bring more musculature into play.

Work on your form first, hone later.
re: My turn to ask a sprinting questionRaven1911
Feb 5, 2003 12:11 PM

I've been coached by a track sprinter and I asked this exact question to him a while back. His response to me is that it is all personal preference. Someone like Marty Nothstein sprints with his toes down, but some others might not have their toes down as much. As stated above, as long as your form is ok I wouldn't worry so much what is going on at your ankle. I personally do the same thing you do, which is go to the toes. This will bring in the calf muscles more which might actually help with power and speed as well.

re: My turn to ask a sprinting questionbrider
Feb 5, 2003 12:27 PM
At that high of a cadence, I think ANYONE would have problems even firing the calves or hamstrings fast enough to get full power through the stroke. In fact, you'd probably find that the harder you tried to put power into the stroke, the more you'd lose the form to hold the cadence. So don't worry about WHAT the ankle is doing, worry about being able to hold the cadence. If you can hold it without getting bucked off, you're doing it right as far as your body is concerned.
Personally speaking at 140 rpm...scary slow
Feb 5, 2003 12:59 PM
I can barely keep my arse in the saddle. I am assuming this means my form is crapola. I have been doing leg speed drills to try and improve my sprint. I have the power it just takes to darn long to get up to speed. I recently purchased rollers which seems to have helped. Is there any other way to smooth things out or am I stuck mashing big gears?
Personally speaking at 140 rpm...eschelon
Feb 5, 2003 1:24 PM
Do single leg pedal drills.
Single leg drills...scary slow
Feb 5, 2003 1:36 PM
Do you recommend doing those with one foot unclipped or with both clipped in and zero pressure on the leg not being worked. I was told not to do them with one foot unclipped. However, when I do it with both feet clipped I don't feel the dead spots nearly as much.
One foot clipped outPODIUMBOUNDdotCA
Feb 5, 2003 2:46 PM
Its way to easy to cheat if you have both feet clipped in. In my spin classes used to (and still do) take people to one side and make them work one leg but the other leg is at least doing a little work no matter what you do.

Theres always powercranks if you want to be truely evil to yourself. I last about 20 mins on them in my smallest gear before my form blows up. You can see them at .

Feb 5, 2003 6:48 PM
Do those things actually work? Do you own them?
Perhaps a discussion on their virtues is in order.
Feb 5, 2003 5:27 PM
Well, 180 on rollers has little to do with road sprinting. That said, ankling a little at 140 rpm will not have much of an effect on your instantaneous peak and 20 second average power (the numbers to watch if you're an analytical geek). In fact it will be difficult to "lock" anything at 140 rpm and 1200+ Watts.

As far as power recruitment from the hamstrings, I wouldn't even consider it. Ever see Nothstein's hamstrings? Of course not, his QUADS are in the way. Also, trunk curls, or crunches, or whatever the kids are calling sit-ups these days will help add a few Newtons of reaction force from the bars to help up the Watts to the pedals.
ankling at 140RPM?cyclopathic
Feb 5, 2003 9:30 PM
is it even possible? it is suppose to be effective under 70RPM. At 100+ it is counterproductive.

With respect to toes down locking up ankle in this position takes load off calves and reduces lactic acid build up. It is the next best thing to attaching cleats to heals ;)
Toes down changes the effective seat height,Spunout
Feb 6, 2003 4:12 AM
if you think about it, our quads are very heavy. When toeing down(lets call that anti-ankling) our quads have less distance to travel. The lever from knee to spindle has been effectively lengthened. Better yet, the knee doesn't reach anywhere near straight, and less so than usual. It is the change of direction of the heavy quads that cause bouncing.

My problem was that I couldn't change the direction of my quads, because momentum would cause the bouncing. By relaxing, toeing down a bit (never consciously though), my quads felt smoother, and I could just sail to 160rpm after that.