Updated: Apr 21, 2022
Why should I practice the single-leg cycling drill? I asked the same question a few years ago when I walked into an indoor cycling lab in Colorado.
My bike was put on a Computrainer and I started riding. I was surprised that my right leg was generating a lot more power than my left leg, but given that I’m right-side dominant, maybe that wasn’t so strange. As it turns out, most cyclist’s dominant leg generates about 10 watts more than their non-dominant leg.
This was really obvious when a cycling coach had me outside trying to do a single-leg drill and my left leg wasn’t staying engaged with the pedal evenly. My darn left leg wasn’t pulling it’s fair share of the work! Years later, after much time spent doing the single-leg drill, I’m more balanced!
Here’s how to incorporate the single-leg drill into your routine:
Warm up for 10-15 minutes.
Unclip your dominant leg and pedal for 30 seconds at low RPM and moderate resistance - I like 65-70 RPM’s during my first iteration.
Switch legs and pedal with your dominant leg.
Finally, pedal with both legs, focusing on your non-dominant leg to keep even pressure.
Repeat the drill four more times.
You can practice the single-leg drill on a bike trainer, spin bike, or outside on a ride a few times a week until you notice (or measure) more even power in both legs. This drill is especially helpful during the base phase of your training plan when you are focused on good form.
Maria Netherland is a Northwest Florida-based coach who is a USA Triathlon Level II Endurance and Youth & Juniors Certified Coach as well as a NASM Certified Personal Trainer and Performance Enhancement Specialist. Coach Maria loves working for athletes of all abilities, military athletes, and new triathletes as they pursue their goals. Maria is a veteran of the US Army and a United States Military Academy at West Point graduate. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.