5 Tips for putting more pedal to the metal on your bike: harder, stronger, faster

At the beginning of your cycling career, every cranked kilometer can of course make you faster and fitter. However, once you reach a certain level of base and strength endurance, pure mileage becomes just a means to an end for the statistics Strava. If you ask experienced cyclists, you often get to hear that getting more pedal pressure and getting faster on a road bike is no real secret. If you really want to do this no matter what bike, then you should structure and plan your bike training. You should occasionally leave your comfort zone on the bike and ride some sessions with the intensity and at higher speeds than you’d like to pedal for longer distances in the future. It is therefore crucial to push the limits in order to be able to push the limits and to increase your personal performance. And sometimes even much more often, it’s very important to ride slow and long to work on your basic endurance at the base. Only then will you really develop more pedal pressure and be able to pedal more powerfully uphill at your seasonal goal or in competition, ride at a faster pace and, most importantly, hold it longer.


If you want to set a new best time in your favorite segment to get as many kudos as possible from your training buddies or get off your bike after an hour in the next short distance, then you should be riding your planned pace regularly and sometimes faster in your workouts. Specific strength training for your leg muscles, like squats and lunges, help supplement. This is how the pressure then gets to the pedals.

In addition, you should work on your quickness and strength endurance once or twice a week. A great effect has especially intervals, short and crisp starts with high cadence, such as 8 x 20 seconds all out plus 60 seconds loose roll and repeat two to three times 2 – 3 sets until the lactate swells out of your eyes. You can combine this perfectly with long tempo intervals of 8 – 20 minutes at 85 – 95 percent of your maximum heart rate. Also effective are seated intervals on hills on moderate, consistent inclines and with low cadence (8 – 12 minutes; cadence 60 – 70; 85 – 95 percent of your maximum heart rate alternating with 90 – 100 cadence and 65 – 75 percent; 2 – 3 sets).

IRONMAN VICHY 2017 The Making of an Ironman Triathlete / In the final form test and low flight over the bike course of the Triathlon Erlangen middle distance © Stefan Drexl


A weak point of many triathletes is the trunk muscles. Premature muscular fatigue due to back pain is a major problem for recreational triathletes. This is not the only reason why as much attention should be paid to core strength and core stability training as to cycling and running training. Regular athletic training once or twice a week should be as natural for every triathlete as running ABC, the correct crawl technique and stretching! With weak or prematurely fatigued core muscles and a lack of upper body stability, optimal power transfer to the legs and, above all, energy are lost with every step. The result is less pressure on the pedals lower speeds.

Therefore, exercises for the back extensor, hip extensor and gluteus maximus, as well as the combination of some exercises, are excellent. Ideal for improvement in all three disciplines is the Superman in the kneeling elbow support: From the basic position with a straight back, one arm and one leg are stretched completely and straight forward, respectively backward, in the axis of motion simultaneously and in opposite directions. Then the arm and knee are pulled back and brought together under the body (12 – 15 repetitions per side, 2 – 3 sets). It is important to maintain body stability without twisting the trunk and to coordinate the movement correctly.


Some ambitious triathletes use every free minute for their intensive training in the three disciplines in addition to their full-time job and the family. Especially on the road bike or the time machine, hours of mileage are then eaten up. But only a few people are aware of the special importance of targeted rest, or even if they are, they use it too rarely or not at all. Time spent with the family and at work with meetings and overtime certainly does not count as recovery.

No training is not the same as regeneration. But only during the regeneration the loads have an effect on the body and the actual training effect comes fully to bear. In the recovery phase, the body repairs and optimizes important organic structures and optimizes the muscles for the next load. Especially after intensive training sessions it counts all the more. You should therefore always make sure to train your light bike sessions as easy as possible and your intensive ones as hard as necessary, then your bike training will be twice as much fun!

02 THE SUPERMAN is an essential exercise to strengthen the trunk extensor for a healthy back, to improve water position and good swimming times.


On the mountain, lightweights usually have a decisive advantage – moving fewer kilos uphill is equally faster with less energy consumption. Especially in spring with the first warm sunny days, road cyclists and triathletes want to quickly increase their cycling performance again and at the same time reduce the excess pounds of winter again. But this is often counterproductive and can quickly lead to a dead end: In hard training sessions you consume between 800 to 1200 calories per hour, depending on the type of loading. However, your body can only store between 1500 and 1800 Kcal in the muscles and liver, depending on body size, age and training age, as well as gender. So if you eat too little, you will soon reach your limits with your regular training. Then, if you want to increase your bike performance in parallel, you’ll "hit the wall" faster than you think. Physically and also mentally it becomes demotivating to train in the long run in the hypoglycemia.

Of course, it can be helpful to always have a rough estimate of your carbohydrates and calories. Carbohydrates are also needed for basic endurance training and fat metabolism training. Even with a well-trained fat metabolism, you burn fat better with carbohydrates on board and also don’t deplete your muscles. In order to increase your performance in parallel with more intense sessions, you need to find the right level of filled glycogen stores and which type of carbohydrate intake is the most optimal for you. This is individual and highly complex, after all, our body is biologically organic and can automobile.

An optimal solution is to consume the right nutrients before, during and after training, at the right time and in the right amounts. You should eat a normal portion of high-quality carbohydrates together with protein-rich foods, such as rice or oatmeal, two to three hours before an intense workout. During the training you can reach for bananas or energy bars in time, but not only when you get hungry. In the first 30 to 60 minutes after training, natural sources of protein in the form of lean dairy products, such as lean curd cheese or nuts, as well as fish and legumes with fruits and vegetables are basically ideal. The more natural the food, the better. My philosophy: "Real is better!"https://stefandrexl.en/echt-isst-better-the-more-natural-foods-in-sport/

alt="IRONMAN VICHY 2017 The Photo Story / Left, right or straight where goes" width="1024" height="683" />IRONMAN VICHY 2017 The Photo Story / Left, right or straight ahead, which way is home?? © Stefan Drexl


One cause of slower speeds and increased energy consumption is often poor riding technique on a road bike. And that despite usually good physical fitness – especially on the mountain and in curves. Shifting gears properly uphill and mastering downhill with a good cornering technique can make up for many a performance deficit. You should therefore practice the correct riding technique regularly.

If you are a rather moderate mountain rider, you should ride mountains more often to practice proper shifting and to find out the most effective cadence. Find a suitable hill that is about ten minutes uphill and ride it three or four times. When it goes up, it goes down again, of course. You can use the same hill for your downhill training at the same time. On the downhill you can lose a lot of time, but you can also make up for it – provided you can make turns properly. Many stages of the Tour de France are decided downhill.

You should always keep the inner pedal up and vary the position of the curve by applying the appropriate counterpressure on the outer pedal. Get flat and grip the handlebars at the bottom so that your body’s center of gravity is as low as possible and your eyes are on the exit of the corner. Adjust your speed before the start of the turn and mainly with the rear brake. At the apex of the curve at the latest, your fingers have no business on the brake levers any more. This will definitely give you more pressure on the pedals in your next race and allow you to glide swiftly and elegantly through every turn on the descent.

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