December 14, 2017 Login  


Muscle groups used in pedal stroke
Last Post 10/11/2017 12:13 PM by Evan Solida. 17 Replies.
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6ix

Posts:214

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10/03/2017 11:22 AM
Starting to wonder if my cleats need to be moved forward or back because I find myself straining my ankle plantar flexors and dorsiflexors (i.e, my calf muscles) far more than my quads.  If I push myself way back against the saddle when climbing, I can feel my quads burn more.  I definitely have extremely defined calves and I wonder if this is a result of my pedal stroke focusing more on that group of muscles for some reason. 

I'm hesitant to go to a fit specialist because I've always left being more messed up than before, and with a lighter wallet.  After riding for the past 25 years, I'm not about to make any big changes.  Just some small adjustments but wondering where to even start.  And my guess is that my cleats need to be moved around a bit.

Thoughts?
Orange Crush

Posts:2017

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10/03/2017 12:18 PM
Too many variables and not enough visual input to provide thoughts. I'd only focus just on cleats if you are certain all the other fit factors are properly addressed. Otherwise any discomfort or uneven use of muscles could be any number of things (saddle vertical and lateral position, reach, drop etc.). I'd tend to agree on bike fit. The few times I've done one I always ended up adjusting it after a few good climbs. Hard to replicate that on rollers.
Cosmic Kid

Posts:2187

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10/03/2017 01:33 PM
My $.02....no change accepted.

Once I started running (oh, how I rue that day!! ), I had a LOT of Achilles problems. One of the best things I did was move my cleats all the way back towards the heel...as far as possible. Made a huge difference.....and definitely reduces the amount of "ankling" and lower leg strain you get.

There is a niche, but growing, trend towards mid-foot cleat placement. I think that is a bit extreme, personally.....but go ahead and try moving your cleats back and see if that helps. Based on your description above, I think it will.
Just say "NO!" to WCP!!!!
6ix

Posts:214

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10/03/2017 02:15 PM
Thanks for the tips, fellas. Fortunately, I have a back-up pair of shoes that I can easily experiment with. Can fiddle around with the cleats on those without losing where my current cleats are.

Figure this is a good time of the year to get this kind of stuff worked out. New saddle, cleat placement, etc. Not packing in the miles so limited risk of injury.
huckleberry

Posts:501

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10/03/2017 02:47 PM
Like CK, about 8 years ago I bought an adapter plate and moved my Speedplays as far back as possible - not only did it help out tremendously with my long term ankle issues (OCD Talus), but I felt stronger on the bike - didn't expect the performance gains, but then read more about the cleat move and found that was common in people with big feet as they became a somewhat useless lever arm - just maintaining tension in the lower legs to keep semi-rigidity in the foot position.

My $.01 as I don't put as much value in my opinions as CK ; )
6ix

Posts:214

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10/03/2017 03:44 PM
How should this impact my saddle height? If I move the cleats back 1mm at a time, should I raise or lower my saddle accordingly?

I should add that I'm just under 5'10" yet wear a 45 shoe, so perhaps moving the cleat will help.  And using 175mm cranks.
79pmooney

Posts:1759

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10/03/2017 04:06 PM
Posted By 61x on 10/03/2017 
Thanks for the tips, fellas. Fortunately, I have a back-up pair of shoes that I can easily experiment with. Can fiddle around with the cleats on those without losing where my current cleats are.

Figure this is a good time of the year to get this kind of stuff worked out. New saddle, cleat placement, etc. Not packing in the miles so limited risk of injury.

A trick for marking cleat placement.  (And a lot of other things)  Get some 1/2" tape.  (Masking or whatever.)  Tape around the front of the cleat; well enough to get the position redefined.  Tape around that tape.  Pull the first.  Now you have lots of room to play and by re-taping the inside, you get you exact position back.

Ben (Edit:  quoted Huck inseatd of 61x)
Orange Crush

Posts:2017

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10/03/2017 04:07 PM
Posted By Evan Solida on 10/03/2017 03:44 PM
How should this impact my saddle height? If I move the cleats back 1mm at a time, should I raise or lower my saddle accordingly?

I should add that I'm just under 5'10" yet wear a 45 shoe, so perhaps moving the cleat will help.  And using 175mm cranks.


6ix - this article almost perfectly describes your question and provides some answers. http://www.neillsbikefit.com.au/?page_id=348
Cosmic Kid

Posts:2187

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10/03/2017 04:43 PM
Posted By Evan Solida on 10/03/2017 03:44 PM
How should this impact my saddle height? If I move the cleats back 1mm at a time, should I raise or lower my saddle accordingly?

I should add that I'm just under 5'10" yet wear a 45 shoe, so perhaps moving the cleat will help.  And using 175mm cranks.


FWIW, I didn't change my saddle height, but if you wanted to keep everything equal, I think you would want to lower the saddle a few MM. Emphasis on "think"....I always sucked at geometry.
Just say "NO!" to WCP!!!!
Orange Crush

Posts:2017

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10/03/2017 04:49 PM
CK - that's actually confirmed by the article I linked above (lowering seat). It goes into some detail as to what you're balancing by moving cleat position (endurance versus sprinting ability etc.).

On a side note, good to hear there's other that are coming apart at wheels even more than this old dog. Y'all are OLD. I can still fix my demons by simple stretching and never worry too much about bike fit. There was a while (before I clued into stretching) where I was monkeying with everything including cleat position; it was a nightmare.
Cosmic Kid

Posts:2187

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10/03/2017 05:11 PM
If it wasn't for running, I'd be having no problems with falling apart!!!

That said, I got though this whole year with no running injuries and feel great. And my saddle to HB drop is still lower than almost anyone's......
Just say "NO!" to WCP!!!!
Orange Crush

Posts:2017

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10/03/2017 05:53 PM
Hahaha CK - I have someone in our cycling group who can probably compete on that front. Another (albeit ex) tri geek. He is "Director of Fit" of our team. Zero stack everything, slant that stem down.
longslowdistance

Posts:1500

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10/03/2017 09:15 PM
Q factor might figure into this too, but I confess I'm not smart enough to know how. (By Q factor I refer to pedal distance from the bike's center line.)

Anecdote, perhaps a shred of wisdom in here somewhere:
Decades long fan of lowest Q factor possible (i.e., pedals as close to the center line of the bike, and along with this knees brushing the top tube, think George Hincappie).  But by middle age always soreness in lateral soleus and lateral aspect gastoc lateral head. Modern equipment forced me to use a wider Q factor. Problem gone. That's just me, I cannot reasonably extrapolate.
That said:
 Look at Sagan, Mr. World Beater with a large gap between his knees and ankles. Low Q might work for some, but clearly not all. Yet another variable to play with.
79pmooney

Posts:1759

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10/03/2017 09:36 PM
lsd, my Mooney refit has been a real blessing for my knees. I don't have a number for the Q (and I have my cleats pushed out a little to keep my near NOS cranks nice), but the left crank misses the chainstay by about 5mm and the right is close. (No chain deviation to deal with.) My knees love it.

My Competition with its Shimano crankset and symmetrical triple BB is becoming my least favorite bike. I'm seriously considering going Phil Wood on both that bike and my TiCycles to bring the Q's down.

Ben
smokey52

Posts:250

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10/04/2017 08:05 PM
Another approach to keeping track of current cleat positions before making changes is to take a picture with a ruler placed alongside the cleats. You can compare/optimize left & right too. They don't have to be the same.
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