Single-Leg Drills?

My left leg is stoooo-pid. I’ve heard of people having ‘dead-spots’ in their pedal strokes, but not ‘dead-quarters’ or ‘dead-halves’.

I’ve spent who-knows how much on bike fits, and I’m convinced that leg is just a lazy idiot, especially coming over the top of the pedal stroke.

Like very other topic - there are a ton of opinions on this out there. I’d like to hear what SUF Science has to say. I have noted that single-leg drills are only very rarely included in a workout, and usually they tell you just concentrate on a single leg, but not unclip it.


If you go to a decent bike fitter they should have electromyography shorts which will tell you a fair bit more information. There may be something underlying though. When you’re on the bike if you look down at the top tube do you see more of one side of the down tube?

That’s something interesting to check out.

I have a different view of what makes a bike fitter “decent”, and over-dependence on gadgetry is a warning sign for me.

But that is off topic, I asked about single-leg drills.

Are you doing any strength training or yoga? Thinking stuff like single-leg dead lifts and squats, lateral lunges, yoga moves like half moon, Warrior 3, airplane.

Hello! Let’s start with a few basic questions-

  1. Do you have any past leg, back or hip injuries that could cause a pedaling discrepancy?

  2. Do you routinely complete single leg exercises within your strength training routine?

  3. Do you include pre ride activation to initiate correct nerve channeling pathways in order to promote the muscles to fire in correct patterns?

If you are routinely executing cadence drills such as Cadence Builds and Holds that’s a great starting point. I do feel that since you have had several eyes look over your bike fit with no remedy I have a strong feeling that this might be an off the bike imbalance that shows up on the bike as a left right imbalance through your pedaling form. It’s possible that you could have a structural or muscle imbalance that your body has adapted to, so you feel no pain or soreness but still manifests itself in uneven pedaling. The best way to deal with these muscle imbalances in through mobility and strength training. The added benefits of strength training will also give you increased bone density and injury prevention.

I suggest starting with the following exercises

  1. Lateral side steps with a resistance band. Band should be positioned just above your knees

  2. Basic squat with resistance band. Position band just above knees and push out with knees to keep band taut. No need to go any lower than 90 degrees

  3. Fire hydrants. No need to use band here. Position your body so that the non rotating side is pushed up firmly against a wall preventing your hips from rotating as you lift the external leg

  4. Single Leg Romanian Deadlift. Watch yourself in a mirror and you should quickly be able to tell if you have an imbalance through the hips! Keep those hips square to the ground.

Let me know how you get on!


No, No, and No.

Whatever my issue is, it didn’t stop me from racing triathlon. Sounds like single-leg drills aren’t going to help then.

I’ve had terrible luck with the SUF-style of strength training in the past. While it’s awesome for the bike, it craters my running. Everyone is built different I guess.

I think you misunderstand me. I don’t think a decent bike fitter relies on gadgets. You seem to think you have a leg that just isn’t working, I said if you truly want to find out then electromyography shorts would be the way forward (either that or buy a power meter which allows analysis through the pedal stroke left and right. I don’t think there’s a need to be so dismissive/flippant, I was only offering something which would allow further insight.

For reference, my bike fitter is regarded as one of the best in the UK, and has done several team GB athletes, so he’s not too bad :slight_smile:

Sir Clayton … I know you specifically asked for the science team to comment, and I’m no scientist. I do however have a single leg discrepancy.

I only confirmed it (albeit with an untrained eye) being able to use L/R cranks that do waveforms for a bit and it showed up. But I’d always suspected there was something. And that was before I messed up a tibial plateau (hence a bit of tech to help me rebalance)

Anyway - to help me -

  • I do single leg stuff even when outside now - I think it helps me ‘reawaken’ everything (whatever everything is) as it forces that ‘side’ to work all the way round outside if I’m to keep going.
  • the best outcomes from outside (and inside) I get are when I do Abi’s pre ride activation yogasession - modified time include stretching my quads and hip flexors
  • I do do EoS from time to time as well as it’s ‘easier’ on the trainer but I unclip (and often wind down intensity) for the single stuff.

If I’m doing all that then I also ward off the worst of imbalance pain I get afterwards.

That might all be nonsense. Happy to exchange experiences at any point though

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Thanks @Martin - Not nonsense at all. The pain gets me in the left ‘hip pocket’, for lack of the correct term, especially at high cadence or high effort. I’ve attempted the strength training series a couple times, and it has two effects on me:

  1. My NM power goes way up.
  2. My cruising run pace goes way down.

I’ve never been willing to sacrifice running for sprinting (which I hate, stupid Violator).

It could be fit, but working in the oil patch right now, I’m not spending anything on bike fitters right now.

It could be strength imbalance, but I doubt it considering I can run distance just fine.

It could be that those neural pathways need to be awakened. I’ll try doing the pre-ride activation and see if that helps.

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One for more discussion maybe. It’s my right hip but possibly the same issue.