One-legged pedaling

My weakest link in Triathlon is without a doubt the bike.  And that sucks because the majority of the time in any distance race will be on the bike.  No matter what distance race I ride, I’m always in the 18-20mph range.  Since signing up for IMFL in November, I have been focusing on many aspects of biking. Simply, I need to have more strength on the bike.

I’ve never been the indoor trainer type, I just like to ride. The problem is that it’s not convenient for me to ride outdoors year-round for many reasons.  So, I broke down and bought an indoor trainer several months ago.  It has changed my life!! No matter what time I get home from work or wake up, I can be on the trainer in 5 minutes ready to go.  No stoplights, no coasting, no slowing down, just getting in the exact workout of my choosing….(or my coach’s choosing).

Which brings me to drills.  I’ve been biking for a long time now, but I’m a newbie when it comes to drills. Back in January coach introduced me to a one-legged-azz-kicking contest.

I have found One-legged pedaling a very effective way to work on strength especially during the weekdays when my time is more limited.  One-legged pedaling exposes your pedal stroke weakness, as your legs will quickly fatigue until you get the hang of it.

See below:
My first attempt ever at One-legged pedaling.  As you can see, it didn’t go to well. I was supposed to do 5 sets of 2min_Left, 2min_Right.  After the 2nd or 3rd set, my hip flexors were burning to the point that I just had to stop and go back to normal pedaling(with both legs).


About a week to 10 days later, I gave it another shot.  You can see some resemblance of control.  Starting at 0.00 to 2min I was able to keep my cadence ~60…Minutes 2-4, I switched over to the right leg and kept a bit higher cadence.  Recovery is 2 legged pedaling from min 4-6.  I was able to get through the 5 sets(barely), though feeling much better about the result than my first attempt.


My third session was last night.  I wasn’t sure what to expect as my previous One-legged session  was 3+ months ago.  I’ve been doing a lot of other biking, just not the one-legged variety.  As you can see, after only 3 sessions, you will improve dramatically.  The improvement comes quickly because of the neuro-muscular adaptation taking place.  Just like riding a bike, once you learn how, your brain never forgets.  Pretty cool.


These exercises are great to break up the boredom of riding indoors on a trainer.  Currently I’m only doing them about once every month or so during the season, but expect to be doing them once per week during the offseason.   They really do expose those dead spots and help to get you pedaling 360 degrees instead of just mashing.

So give it a try:

  • Start with a 10 min warm up.
  • Unclip your right leg and rest it on the back of the trainer where the skewer is mounted.
  • Spin at a nice even cadence and less resistance than normal.
  • After 30 seconds to 2 min, switch over to the other side and repeat. 
  • Then easy high cadence spin with both legs to recover. 

As you get better, your cadence will improve to that of riding with both legs.  Then you can gradually increase the resistance and gain strength over time.

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One Response to One-legged pedaling

  1. Pingback: You’re invited to a One-legged Butt Kicking Contest | Jeff Greene

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