Experimenting with aerodynamic riding positions and being “more aero” is a much talked about subject amongst cyclists, particularly those looking for performance improvements.
Air resistance has the greatest effect on a riders ability to ride quicker or use less energy to maintain the same speed.
Get Lean to Get Aero
What the manufacturers of smooth carbon frames, skin suits, aero wheels and tear drop helmets don’t want the average cyclist to know is that 80% of your drag comes from your body, not your bike.
The cheapest and most effective way to improve aerodynamic efficiency is to loose fat and therefore bulk. Consistent cycling training using a progressive Training Plan will help a rider loose fat and gain lean muscle, allowing a smaller but more powerful body shape to cut through the air.
If you are serious about improving your fitness then you must plan your nutrition just like you plan and prioritise training sessions, these Cycling Nutrition Tips from Team Sky will help.
Here’s our recommended further reading if you want to learn more about what to eat and when to eat to get lean and powerful on the bike!
Feed Zone Cookbook deserves a place in any endurance athletes kitchen, check out these quick nutrition tips and buy your copy.
Book Review: Racing Weight by Matt Fitzgerald is essential riding for cyclists who want to reduce fat and increase lean muscle.
How to Ride in a Group
For the amateur cyclist, the next best aero gains are in learning how to take shelter well when riding in a group, up to 25% less energy can be used by following a good wheel:
- Drafting: As explained in our post on How to Ride in a Group, riding in a group can save 25% of your energy
- Echelons: When riding in a cross wind forming an echelon can protect you from the wind
Aerodynamic Riding Positions
Simple improvements to your position on the bike can also improve your aerodynamic efficiency:
- Tidy up your bike: Are you carrying old bike lock holders, mounts from old lights or a mini pump when you plan to use a canister? Get rid of any debris that your bike is carrying that doesn’t contribute to performance
- Hands in the drops: When descending or driving a faster pace on the flats have your hands in the handlebar drops for greater aerodynamic efficiency
- Bend the elbows: One of the easiest ways to present a smaller frontal area to the wind is to bend your elbows; this will helps to flatten your back and expose less of your chest
- Narrow the shoulders: If you watch Bradley Wiggins as he hits the front on the last lap of the 2011 World Championships you’ll see that he keeps his shoulders and elbows tucked in to reduce drag
- Tip: Start the video 04:30 minutes in if you are short of time
Core Strength and Flexibility
You’ll notice as you experiment with more aerodynamic riding positions that they will place more strain on your lower back, shoulders, hamstrings and hip flexors. The reality is that if you want to get more aero you have to put the hard work in:
- Flexibility: Improving your flexibility with these cycling stretches will improve your range of motion
- Core Strength: These aerodynamic riding positions require you to work on increasing your core strength
- Comfort = Power: When adjusting your position on the bike always remember that you need to be in a comfortable position to get the most power out of your legs
- Bike Fit: Investing in a Bike Fit will help you get more comfortable and more aerodynamic
Don’t buy Upgrades – Ride Up Grades
Sportive Holidays with Brevet
Taking the time to get a more aero riding position will save you lots of energy in flat sections between the climbs in these Alpine sportives – which one will you take on?
Sportive Training Plan
Are you in training for a sportive? Use our free 12 week Sportive Training Plan to get you in the best possible shape for your sportive challenge. Simply fill the form below and we’ll send you your free training plan: