My Hamstring and Pedaling


2018 Fantasy Football Toilet Bowl Lead Technician
Team MTBNJ Halter's
I have two questions. 1 is about a pain in my hamstring and the other is about pedaling. The 2 questions are related...

Lately about 20 minutes into a ride, my right (never my left) hamstring gets a little twinge in it. Its not painful, its not really tight, but there is definitely something there. I take it easy for a couple of minutes and it seems to get better. Almost completely. I can still push very hard, but its in the back of my mind. I know I am probably not describing it too well, but does anybody have any suggestions?
I dont really stretch pre or post ride (duh, i know)... But i do try to take it easy and warm up the first couple of miles.

And the second question Is about spinning your crank.
How much are you actually pulling up with one foot as the other foot is pushing down. if you had to do a % what would it be. ( like 70% down with one foot and and 30% up with the other)
I know when I got my fitting at Halter's, J taught me about trying to spin my feet in circles as opposed to just pushing down left, right, left, right, etc, etc..

Any insight anybody has is appreciated


Active Member
From my riding I don't "spin circles" as often as I should, but I notice that on long or sustained climbs I tend to have a very noticeable pull (almost like 60/40 Push/pull on this quick beastly climbs, usually a little more subtle on longer climbs and when I'm not pinning it on the flats it's less than it should be ;)), it's also a lot easier to do with a well fit bike since even simple things like seat height greatly impact your ability to transfer power via either pushing or pulling.

As for your hamstring pain, I've got nothing, the only pains I've ever had to overcome were slight knee pain which was fixed with a better fitting :)


New Member
In regards to your hamstring; I play a lot of soccer and find when I pull the hamy, if not to bad, some heat on the area w/a neoprene sleeve and Im good to go. You may already where some type of tights with a pad so you would just need the heat [icy hot or freeze-it (roll on)]. Another option is a self-adhesive pads that is heat activated when they hit the air (3 in x 4 in small). I have used both.

Also remember to always hydrate and that will help too.

Good luck, -W


Horse-faced space dog
hydrate and streeeetch well b4 riding. i got a near pull once pedaling up a fast steep climb at allaire and i literally fell over and screamed. one of the worst feelings.


Shop: Bicycle Pro
Shop Keep
do you know of a any leg length differences? I used to be squatted down on my left knee alot detailing cars and I found after a few years of doing it, it finally caught up to me with pain during cycling. I made a conscious effort to not do it, or to switch legs if I had to and the pain went away. Sometimes habits you have at home or work can cause pain while riding. For the pedaling stroke, I would bet that 90% of your power comes from pushing down. For me, having a smooth round stroke is important and being able to switch mentally and physically from pulling up to pushing down at high rpm is not practical. When you are pushing down with your right foot, I think most of us have heard the old greg lemond saying, when your left foot reaches the 5 oclock position, you want to start dragging it back, like you are scraping dog poop off the sole of your shoe on a step. By that point, your left leg is already being forced up by the velocity of the cranks and you are almost ready to start the downstroke on that leg. Now I am no pro on cycling or cycling physiology, but thats what I think.


JORBA Board Member/Chapter Leader
hydrate and streeeetch well b4 riding. i got a near pull once pedaling up a fast steep climb at allaire and i literally fell over and screamed. one of the worst feelings.
that's why it is now known as "MIG" hill ... :)
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Shop Owner / Employee
Shop Keep
Leg length differences could be a possibility, but if you were fit by jdog, I'd expect that he would have picked that up and shimmed your shoes. Be sure you sit square on your seat so you do have proper rotation, and if you see a chiropractor, check that you're hips aren't out.

Then see if you apply your pedal strokes evenly. If you are right leg dominant and pull more on the right than the left, you would certainly feel that in your hamstring and pretty quickly too.

As 743 said, there is more to an even pedal stroke than a push-pull. In training, I use six different subtle stroke segments that use different muscle groups and each make up a portion of the complete circular stroke. I'll concentrate on one segment at a time and check by kicking one leg out of the pedal to check for smooth rotation with each leg. Where I find a weakness, I work harder. Right now my core sucks and there is nothing there when I go from the pull to the transfer across the top so I need to work core, on and off the bike.

Yes, hydrate, potassium, good nutrition etc.

I'm bad, I don't stretch at all, pre or post ride and somedays it's click in and hammer right out of the gate.


Endurance Guy: Tolerates most of us.
Stretch before and after rides, it makes a huge difference!!

As far as your pedal stroke is concerned, try this. While pedaling on a road or open section, unclip one foot and try to pedal using one leg. It will immediately point out how bad your pedal stroke is!! Try doing it for over a minute and you'll see how weak your hip flexors are and how much you only use the "down" portion of the stroke. Doing isolated exercises on a trainer will build strength, efficiency, and teach you how to "pedal circles". It will also build up the other muscles in your leg and allow to to crush your friends:D

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