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Quad Dominant Tactics & Saddle Position

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Quad Dominant Tactics & Saddle Position

Old 08-20-19, 09:13 PM
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Quad Dominant Tactics & Saddle Position

OK bike fit gurus --

From cycling and running I am very quad dominant, which is something I am working through with my strength coach. One bike fit tactic that I've reviewed to recruit the entire gang of muscles is to rotate aggressively, like more riding in the drops and/or slamming your stem.

But what about saddle fore and aft, and height? I have a tendency to set my saddle high and pretty far back. Does that play into the quad dominant muscle behavior or does that promote better recruitment of hammies and glutes...I haven't seen that addressed in bike fit discussions. Anyone know of any reference material on this?
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Old 08-21-19, 04:25 AM
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For me, I continually alter saddle position in tiny increments. Sometimes raising or lowering it a bit or moving it forward or aft. To engage gluts I focus on Lemond's advice to scrape mud off the shoe at the bottom of the pedal stroke. Actually, I like Carbonfiberboy's approach to pull the feet back into the heel cup of the shoe. This seems to work a bit better for me. Ski instructors work at finding the right language or mental image to trigger the correct foot movements and weight transfer in skiing. The best mental image in pedaling will vary from person to person.
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Old 08-21-19, 11:02 AM
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I don't bike fit that matters much, other than saddle height. It's more about the pedaling motion, what you do where as your feet go around the circle. Try this: Put your bike in a very low gear and attempt to pedal at a very high cadence, say 115-120, for as long as possible, say 15' minimum to 45' max. Some coaches call this FastPedal. Don't do the more typical 1' fast cadence intervals. Long periods are necessary. No bouncing. I can pedal 150 w/o bouncing. If you bounce, pedal at the speed just below the bounce. The way to do this is to pedal with an air cushion between the soles of your feet and the insole of the shoe. Pedal with the uppers, including the heel cup. Wiggle your toes. So no down pressure at all. Yes, this is hard to do. That's the whole point. As it is said, if it were easy, everyone would do it.

You can play with your saddle height while doing the above, see where it feels best. Obviously, you won't be able to do this if your saddle is so high that you rock your hips while pedaling. No time for that.

Pedaling normally, you really shouldn't feel any down pressure unless you're pushing hard. The pedals should just go around with a more or less constant pedal force.This fixes the quad dominant thing, right there.

If you don't have a trainer or rollers on which to do the FastPedal exercise, you can do it on a flat road. That's maybe harder because of the bike's momentum. In either case, no chain slack anywhere. Steady tension on the chain is necessary.

Another good exercise is one-legged pedaling (OLP). Wedge the lazy foot in your empty bottle cages, pedal with the other one, 2' interval, switch feet, 2' other foot, 2' legs together, repeat until you start to get chain slack as your foot comes over the top hopefully increasing to 45' total over many weeks or months. If you can't do 2', start with 1'. Obviously this is easier on a trainer or rollers, but I've often done it on a long shallow hill. Too difficult to do on the flat, IME.

1 do one of the exercises once a week on my resistance rollers, year 'round, have done for a couple decades. I do the FastPedal until January or February, then switch to the OLP. Yes, they both hurt pretty good. Fix you right up though. Once you get proficient, either of these makes a good recovery exercise.
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Old 08-21-19, 07:32 PM
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Wow, I appreciate the responses, as non-responsive as they may be.

So, none of you bike fit gurus has any real authority to reference on how tactical saddle position affects muscle recruitment?

?
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Old 08-21-19, 11:55 PM
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Originally Posted by FrenchFit View Post
Wow, I appreciate the responses, as non-responsive as they may be.

So, none of you bike fit gurus has any real authority to reference on how tactical saddle position affects muscle recruitment?

?
Maybe because folks don't think it should be considered in isolation? Hip angle affects it, but many ways to alter that. There's a complex interplay among all the factors which make up position including usage focus, training, and talent. There's a decent discussion here: https://neillsbikefit.com.au/?page_id=364
or just google "cycling glutes hip angle" or any number of variations on that theme. It's complicated. One has to experiment.

IME training has a lot more to do with recruitment than do the fine points of a bike fit.
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Last edited by Carbonfiberboy; 08-22-19 at 12:00 AM.
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Old 08-22-19, 01:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
There's a decent discussion here: https://neillsbikefit.com.au/?page_id=364
That is very helpful, right on point. Thanks.
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Old 08-24-19, 05:07 PM
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You should be setting your saddle so that neither your quads or hamstrings engage more.
Sitting further forward and/or higher will engage your quads more while sitting further back and lower will engage your hamstrings more.
You should be working to engage both hamstrings and quads equally.
This gets even more involved once we start talking about cleat position though.
Most people I see have their saddles too high and also have their cleats too far forward.
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Old 09-03-19, 12:03 PM
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Yes adjusting your position over the BB does affect muscle recruitment. I will purposely slide forward a little bit while in the drops when I am really going hard (think TT position, but in the drops). If I'm just riding tempo I will take it easier by sitting "in" the saddle and alternate between hoods and drops.
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