Wednesday, May 29, 2013

All Comes Back to the Technique: Proper TT Position

Isn't it weird after that first week of CrossFit you realize that almost all of it is boiled around solid technique? For the majority of folks who workout, it's really not something you think about. After about 6 months of starting CrossFit 3 years ago, I realized that in order to get better I'd have to dial in on the technique. The first 3months are always really cool for anyone because their adjusting to the training style and they see big gains. The question is what do you do when those big gains slow down? Are you willing to face the "skill" work?

Today I want to pull our attention to the Bike as we've got great group of Less Miles athletes training for the annual Beach Bum Triathlon series on the Island. If I were to start with any triathlon this would be the one. On On Tri does a great job of putting this event on and its entirely on the beautiful HHI beach off of Coligny circle. Better yet the distances are mangeable, 400m swim, 6mile bike (beach cruisers allowed) followed up with the typical 5K run. Did you know the top ten above and below 40 years old get Monkeys? Probably the coolest award ever.

We're going to talk TT position meaning Time Trial position. This is pretty much the standard for most triathletes and technique I am still working on to this day. If you're a road cyclists or a mountain biker some of these same principles will apply, but with a few adjustments. I have CrossFit Endurance and Power, Speed, Endurance to thank for all these helpful hits on the proper bike mechanics. I also attended Doug Katona's bike seminar, which was a huge eye opener. Who knew there was so much to biking?

Normally I like to start with the proper position, but let's go thru the common faults first.  I'll then breakdown what any good coach would do is coach you on "what to do" verses "what not to do" ...

1) Rounded Back - we can't all be Lance Armstrong. The position he gets into isn't the norm. Make sure when your cycling you keep midline stability and above all get a proper fit on your bike. It's really the most important factor as everything from there will affect your body position.

2) Head lift - tons of pictures of me doing this at races branching out my neck like giraffe. Keep the head slightly down and your eyes forward. I've also learned shades are a nice addition so the pebbles don't spring up into your eyes. Sprint triathlons? not a necessity.

3) Too Far Forward - if you sit too far forward your going to put unneeded pressure on the upper
body and it can compromise your speed because of the positioning with your legs.

4) Too Far Back - biggest thing here is that it will lead to inefficiency of your pedal stroke and stress you'll be placing now will be on the lower back. Not good if you have to get off and run a marathon.

5) Hands to Far Forward - you'll fatigue a lot quicker and reduce your power output. CFE has a great suggestion, if you're doing 3 bikes per week do one out of every three rides on a trainer verses the road. All the PROs spend a great deal of time on their trainers.

6) Shoulders Up - strong upper body is important yet if your shoulders stay tense and are too far up it'll put stress on your cervical spine.

Check out Doug Katona a leader in teaching cycling mechanics...

Now let's sum it all up to make it easier..

Above all good time trialist's establish proper position from getting on and spending a lot of time on the bike. This doesn't mean you have to bike every day, but practicing that smooth 3-4 O'Clock stroke can pay dividends with your fluidness when it comes to pedaling. They also learn early on to do two big things...

a. Get Slightly Forward in the saddle so it's visible and
b. Minimal upper body movement as Doug mentioned.Only pull out of POSITION if there is a super steep climb or sharp curve. Most importantly, keep that back flat and relaxed.

We had our first bike workout with our CFE team this evening as the Beach Bum. Out athletes did quite well and picked up a few of these tips (many of which haven't been on a bike in a while). I think the coolest part about being a coach and an athlete is that your costantly learning. When you teach something you only get better at it and it takes a lot of reps.The most exciting thing for me is seeing someone accomplish something for the first time. I'm sure most coaches can agree.

“One of the most important keys to Success is having the discipline to do what you know you should do, even when you dont feel like doing it.”All comes back to the technique...

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