Something a lot of riders don’t realize is that keeping your feet grounded on flat pedals is a skill. And like every other skill, it is something that you can train and improve.
You see, having your feet fly off the pedals isn’t a sign that you need to attach your feet to the pedals, it is a sign that your feet need to get stronger and smarter. In fact, if you have never learned to ride on flats or currently can’t maintain your pedal stroke and skills on them odds are your feet have become weak and dumb.
But it really isn’t their fault. In today’s society, we tend to wear shoes that weaken our feet and inhibit their ability to respond to what is happening to them. They require stimulus and inputs and we tend to deny them of those things for most of the day.
This results in a lot of people coming mountain biking with feet that are too weak to ground themselves into the pedals and lack the ability to quickly respond to trail conditions. Couple this with the groundless advice to sit-and-spin all the time and you end up with a lot of feet flying around.
Of course, the bike industries answer is to sell you on a piece of technology that keeps your feet attached to the pedals. Hard for your feet to come off if they are mechanically attached, right?
Along with this also comes the fairy tales about the need to pull up on the backstroke and other myths told to convince you for the need for clipless pedals. Together it all adds up to a lot of rides never fixing the real problems and instead being taught to rely on the bike industry to answer their movement based problems.
Anyways, back to fixing the real problem which is teaching your feet how to apply pressure and ground themselves into the pedals. This is a movement skill that your feet know how to do already, you just need to give them the chance to learn and master it.
To help with this process you can apply specific strategies and exercises to your workouts. These things will help your feet get stronger and smarter in the safety of your gym so that you can more quickly apply the skill to the higher-consequences world of the trail.
In this video, I go over these exercises and strategies as well as explain more about this vital movement skill that you need in order to ride flat pedals – and your bike – with more confidence.
In case you need it, here is the list of the exercises I covered in the video:
– Tennis Ball or Lacrosse Ball Massage for the Foot
– Standing Fire Hydrant
– Single Leg Overhead Press
– Single Leg Deadlift
– Heavy Swings
Learning how to apply pressure into the ground with these exercises will build the same movement skill you need to apply better pressure into your pedals. When this happens, you’ll find you can keep your feet in place with less mental effort since your feet will be strong and smart enough to do the work themselves.
And if you’re looking for some help with your flat pedal riding skills on the bike my buddy Ryan Leech Has a new 12 Ride Flat Pedal Challenge Course he has put together. In it Ryan – who is one of the most skilled flat pedal riders in the world – personally takes you through 12 lessons for you to apply on each ride to quickly progress your flat pedal skills and overall riding skills in the process.
You can sign up for free through the end of the year by clicking on this link:
I hope this video and the 12 Ride Flat Pedal Challenge inspire you to do the best thing possible for your pedal stroke and skills, which is to make your feet stronger and smarter and apply that to your bike through flat pedals. You’ll find that your body is capable of a lot more than you thought and that you can own your pedal stroke and skills instead of relying too much on your pedals holding you onto the bike.
Until next time…
MTB Strength Training Systems