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How To Do Cycling Spin-ups?

Training on a bike is more than just building strength and endurance -- your techniques will also determine your edge in a race or group ride. A smooth, even pedal stroke is key to maximizing your strength and fitness, and may help prevent injury. Cycling spin-ups are simple intervals that you can do to help your pedal stroke and raise your cadence range. They force you to learn to pedal at a very high cadence without bouncing in the saddle, and help you develop that super-smooth pedal stroke you need to excel.

  1. Select a middle gear on the small chain ring and begin pedaling at an easy speed. You should feel like you can keep up this pace indefinitely without getting really tired.

  2. Increase your pedaling speed very slowly, but steadily, concentrating on keeping a uniform pedal stroke. You should not be pushing straight down on the pedals noticeably harder than you are pulling them through the top or bottom of the stroke, and your hips should stay square on the saddle, without bouncing or rocking your torso.

  3. Continue to pedal faster until you can no longer keep your strokes even, or until you start bouncing in the saddle. At this point, slow down your cadence until you are able to maintain that smooth stroke and quiet upper body, then continue pedaling at that cadence for one minute.

  4. Rest by slowing down your cadence until you reach that easy, steady pace you maintained before the interval. Pedal easy for two or three minutes -- until your breathing slows down enough to hold a conversation -- then begin the spin-up interval again.

  5. Cool down at an easy cadence for at least 10 minutes.

    Tip

    Four intervals is a good place to start. As your pedal stroke improves, you can add extra intervals or extra time to each interval. Make small increases, adding no more than one or two intervals, or 30 seconds to one minute, each week. Keep your rest times at least twice as long as your intervals.

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Things Needed

  • Clipless pedals
  • Cycling shoes with cleats

About the Author

Greg Johnson earned his Bachelor of Arts in creative writing from The Ohio University. He has been a professional writer since 2008, specializing in outdoors content and instruction. Johnson's poetry has appeared in such publications as "Sphere" and "17 1/2 Magazine."

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