Does pulling up help?

Changes of Pedaling Technique and Muscle Coordination during an Exhaustive Exercise

SYLVAIN DOREL1 , JEAN-MARC DROUET2 , ANTOINE COUTURIER1 , YVAN CHAMPOUX,2 and FRANÇOIS HUG1,3 1 Research Mission, Laboratory of Biomechanics and Physiology, National Institute for Sports (INSEP), Paris, FRANCE; 2 Ve´lUS Group, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, Que´bec, CANADA; and 3 Laboratory

“From a practical point of view, the mechanical adaptations observed in our study (i.e., higher downstroke effective force and lower mechanical effectiveness and effective force around the top dead center at the end of the effort) question the pertinence to perform a specific training program to improve mechanical patterns and more specifically, the ability to pull up the pedal more efficiently.”

Effects of Pedal Type and Pull-Up Action during Cycling

really interesting read

Interesting PDF

No difference in effeciency



mechanical efficiency hasn’t changed much in bicycles since the beginning.

Asher Straw reviews the literature for effeciency of clipless pedals:

Cycling enthusiasts and manufacturers have long claimed that rigid-soled cycling shoes and clipless pedals are “more efficient” because they allow riders to pull up during the pedal stroke. However, numerous researchers have shown this to be incorrect. Most notably, Korff et al. (2007) recorded a significant 5.9% decrease in gross efficiency when they instructed subjects to focus on pulling up during the pedal stroke as compared to “pedaling in circles”. Further, Ostler et al. (2008) compared the efficiency of cycling with tennis shoes on both flat pedals vs. classic toe clips and straps at different power outputs (60-240 watts) at a cadence of 90RPM. They concluded there was no difference efficiency between the two types of pedals. Mornieux et al., (2008)compared athletic shoes on flat pedals to cycling specific shoes and clipless pedals in competitive cyclists. They too found no significant differences in the rates of oxygen consumption. Recently, we (Straw & Kram, 2016), reported that cycling efficiency did not differ when riders wore flexible running shoes with flat pedals vs. rigid-soled cycling shoes with clipless pedals. Thus, the evidence to date is unequivocal that shoes and pedals do not improve efficiency.

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