One of the most common complaints I hear when I suggest that riders should stand up more to pedal is how hard is it to keep traction, especially on climbs. While I’ve posted a video showing how shifting your hips back can help with this, another thing that can really help is being able to modulate the power of your pedal stroke.

This skill is best demonstrated by swinging a kettlebell of different weights and seeing how the speed and form look the same no matter what weight is used. If you used the same power you put into a 70 pound kettlebell with a 35 pound kettlebell you’d toss it over your head but you can’t slow down or else you’ll end up using your arms too much.

So you learn to keep the speed but modulate the power.

Same things with your pedal stroke. You have to learn how to feel the traction and know how to apply more or less power based on it instead of just powering your foot down. Sure, it takes more core strength and finesse than just winding up, pedaling like mad and hoping for the best but it also puts you in more control and allows you to sense and make up for mistakes.

In this video I show you how to this concept looks in action with the swing as well as explain a bit more about how it all applies to the bike.

This is admittedly an ongoing thought project and it may not make total sense yet. But mountain biking is an art that takes patience, thought and practice and hopefully this post has you thinking about how this concept can apply to the trail.

If you have any thoughts on this or questions about it please post a comment below, I’d love to hear them. And if you liked this post please click your preferred social media button below to help spread the word.

Until next time…

Ride Strong,

James Wilson

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