Powering Uphill On The Bike

Physiotherapist Dana Ranahan shows us how to boost your power when cycling up hills without hurting your back.

So one question that we get in the clinic here with riding the bike, is how can I generate more power going up the hills because we have lots of hills here in North Vancouver, and how can I do it more efficiently without causing back pain? And what we often see in the clinic is that some people will do this sort of pumping motion and really trying to use their arms to help give them power to go up the hill.

Well effectively this gives, you can see all the torque that is coming through the pelvis for Angela and puts your back into repeated bending position which is not so good for your back. So what I suggest you try is once you have this good position that we’ve talked about with the flat back and the softness through the arms is you use your core muscles and your breathing to try and stay stable through here and really drive the force through the legs if you’re going to stay in the saddle and trying to maintain a relatively neutral position here. Now you may need to still give a little counter pressure here through the arms to counter the force of the legs but you don’t want to see this rotation or this bending happening.

Really trying to stay quiet in your upper body and using the power generated through the legs and you can think about pulling all the way through the cycle. So Angela doesn’t have clip-less pedals or clips on her pedals so she just has her shoe on the pedal but for her I want her to still think about pulling all the way around the cycle with her foot, and think about keeping your foot flatter, yeah so like your foot stays sort of flat to the ground and as you pull through that you’re using your glute muscle as well as your thigh muscles to drive pressure. That should help you to generate a little bit more force and help protect your lower back.