Our potential for athletic performance (or anything) is limited by many things. First, of course, we have genetics. If your parents didn't give you any fast twitch fibers then you can forget becoming a world-class sprinter or if you don't own any SlowTwitch fibers then you can forget becoming a world-class marathoner. If you want to become really good then choose your sport wisely. But there are many other things, aside from genetics, that limit our potential. The list is long and can include your nutrition plan, how much you sleep, and how much you train. But one thing that is frequently ignored, especially by cyclists and runners, is using good technique or form. This is where your equipment choices, especially for training, can be limiting your potential because training good pedaling or running form is almost impossible using standard equipment or drills and this is where PowerCranks enters the picture. PowerCranks is about the only product on the market that addresses improving running or cycling form. Improving running or cycling form requires knowing when you are doing it right, knowing when you're doing it wrong, and getting enough repetitions in of doing it right to actually change the unconscious neuromuscular coordination. PowerCranks does all of this and if you are injured they also help with rehabilitation. If you are a serious athlete (or injured, and serious about rehabilitation) then you need to add PowerCranks into your mix.
PowerCranks are, simply, independent bicycle cranks that replace the regular cranks found on a typical bicycle or exercise machine. Independent means one leg cannot help the other in making the pedals go around and in order to pedal the bike one cannot simply relax on the back stroke but must actively raise the pedal using your hip flexor and hamstring muscles, generally undertrained muscles in most athletes. This give the rider feedback when he is doing it right (they will work like regular cranks) and feedback when they are doing it wrong (they simply fall apart) and, because they are on a bicycle, the user can get enough duration to train this change for whatever their sport demands, even for hours. This forces the user to learn how to pedal a bicycle in a more efficient and powerful manner and the motion closely resembles a running motion (without the impact). Further, this simple change ensures that your leg muscles will become balanced (both right/left and fore/aft) and that you will be training additional muscles with a coordination important to overall well-being and superior athletic performance whatever your sport. They have been described as plyometrics without the impact or injury risk. Watch the intro video.
PowerCranks are a unique training tool to improve the benefit you receive from the time you spend training. Since 90% of an athlete's time is spent training, preparing for competition, this makes PowerCranks particularly effective in enhancing competition results. They do this by helping the user to train more and better balance muscles while also focusing on helping the athlete to develop better form or technique. Runners run faster without risking injury from needing to run more (runners frequently see running improvement starting in 2-3 weeks - yes they are used by pro runners and university track teams). Cyclists gain more power and speed compared to the same amount of training time on traditional cranks. (Cyclists typically see 2-3 mph speed improvement in 6-9 months and, yes, they are used by World, Olympic and Tour de France champions.) Triathletes gain running speed while they are improving their bike power (and, yes, they are used by World, Olympic and Ironman champions). Any athlete that uses their legs can benefit (yes, they are used by World Series and Superbowl champion teams). If you are injured PowerCranks will help you rehab faster and better, usually a lot better. The injured can insure complete recovery and balance during rehabilitation, lessening the chance of reinjury after return to competition. Other athletes (currently used by pro football, baseball and rugby teams) can gain better core muscle balance and coordination which usually translates into more strength, better coordination, and reduced risk of injury.
PowerCranks do all of the above by, again, by forcing the user to train more and better balance lower extremity and core muscles while also focusing on helping the athlete to develop better form or technique. Using PowerCranks will add synergy to your training and racing. One training tool provides all of the above benefits and all you need do is incorporate it into your normal training routine. Interested? Read on and check out the other pages that address specific questions or issues you might have.
Every sport or rehab need puts different demands on the person and every person is different in goals, needs, and genetic make-up. Click on any tab below that fits your interest area to find out more regarding the benefits PowerCranks might offer you.
1. Improve running speed/power beyond normal training benefits
many are a minute per mile faster in 3 months
2. Improve cycling speed/power beyond normal training benefits
many are 2-3 mph faster in 6 months
3. Increase VO2max
15-20% improvements have been shown.
4. Reduce risk of injury in the athlete
correcting the cause of many non-impact injuries.
In summary, PowerCranks help the athlete go way beyond what normal training can accomplish
PowerCranks do this by:
5. Training additional muscles
6. Ensuring leg and core balance
7. Improve training time management
8. Faster/better rehabilitation after injury or surgery
9. And, there are benefits for many other athletes and non-athletes.
No other training tool does even a few of these things, let alone all of of these things. How will they help you?
PowerCranks improve running ability because they "force" the user to develop the muscles and coordination that contribute to better running technique in a manner that avoids injury (other than a potential overuse injury that might happen if you try to do too much too fast). On regular cranks the foot moves in a circle, just as it moves with PowerCranks, but a good portion of that movement is done passively - the foot is pushed up and over the top. PowerCranks requires the foot to be moved about the entire circle actively and this coordination closely resembles optimum running coordination.
Improved running technique results in improved efficiency. Improved efficiency means the athlete can run faster for the same effort or go longer before the muscles fail. So, the coordination changes forced by PowerCranks helps running even though one is riding a bike. Our typical triathlete customer seems to improve their marathon pace about 1 min/mile within the first 3 months. Results, of course, vary. For additional information view our running technique video.
PowerCranks improve cycling because they do several things that improve cycling power. PowerCranks "force" the user to train additional muscles that can add to the pedal forces and overall efficiency. PowerCranks also develop a better coordination that leads to improved efficiency. The higher the efficiency the more power the wheel sees for the same energy "effort". These changes are almost impossible to achieve using regular cranks because they move in the same circle regardless of what muscles or coordination is used. On regular cranks all you know is you are working hard and the bike is moving (or you know you are generating X amount of power if you have a power meter) but you have no idea what your technique is and whether it could be improved. With PowerCranks the athlete can do the same workout as before but now the PowerCranks also provides technique feedback. That feedback is the training secret of PowerCranks.
On regular cranks the foot moves in a circle but a good portion of that circle is done passively. PowerCranks requires the foot to be moved in the entire circle actively and this active coordination is a better cycling technique. The constant feedback ensures that with time that natural pedaling motion of the cyclist changes to this more efficient pattern. Training with PowerCranks results in proven improved efficiency. Again, improved efficiency means the athlete can achieve more power/speed for the same effort or go longer for the same training base. Our typical cyclist-triathlete customer is reporting speed improvements of about 2-3 mph after about 6-9 months of serious PowerCranks use. Results, of course, vary. Click on the links for more.
VO2 max is a metric use to assess endurance potential in endurance athletes. VO2 max is highest rate oxygen can be taken up by the athlete while exercising and is related to how much muscle the athlete is using in an aerobic manner. PowerCranks force the user to train additional muscle into equivalent aerobic muscles and trains the coordination that allows incorporation of these muscles into their sport. Increasing VO2 max improves the potential of any endurance athlete. In a collaborative study done at 3 Canadian Universities PowerCranks were shown to have increased VO2 max a statistically significant 15.6% after only 6 weeks of immersion use.
Another customer (an experienced cyclist) tested himself and reported to us his VO2 max had increased from 4962 ml/min (71.2ml/kg/min) pre PowerCranks to 5609 ml/min (81.7ml/kg/min) after 6 months and to 5794 ml/min (85.5 ml/kg/min) after 13 months, a 20% increase from his pre-PowerCranks days. Results, of course, vary.
Most non-contact injuries in athletes are related to muscle strength or conditioning imbalances in the legs and poor technique or coordination. PowerCranks improve both of these aspects in the athlete.
Regarding muscle balance, because a stronger leg cannot assist a weaker one, with enough use and time the legs invariably become balanced. The most extreme example of this we can think of is what one of our customers with cerebral palsy reported. Before he got on the PowerCranks his cycling imbalance was measured at 80/20. After about 1 year it was measured at 51/49. WOW!
Further, PowerCranks are non-impact so they allow the athlete to correct these balance and coordination problems without the risk of injury seen with more traditional techniques, such as plyometrics.
For the injury prone athlete, PowerCranks allow the athlete to increase the intensity of their training without increasing the "pounding" to their bodies, and risking injury. For a more detailed explanation go here
The two big muscle groups that PowerCranks train beyond those currently being trained are the hip flexors (the iliopsoas) and the hamstrings. Another smaller muscle that is trained is the tibialis anterior, which dorsiflexes the ankle (pulls the toes up). Eventually, with time, all of these muscles are being trained in an aerobically balanced, coordinated, manner which means they can be used more effectively in almost every activity.
Being able to invoke more muscles into any activity means that all the prime mover muscles will be working less hard at any given level so it is much easier to go harder (faster) than they normally do.
The core muscles are those deep inside the body that stabilize the pelvis and the spine. Good core strength is important for powerful movement of the arms and legs. With poor core strength an athlete will lose upper extremity coordination and power and with poor core endurance, upper extremity technique will "fatigue" sooner. Athletes are only as good as their weakest link. Leg muscle imbalances are associated with increased risk of non-contact injury.
Because PowerCranks are independent from each other, and effectively train all of the lower spine core muscles in both strength and endurance. If you are unbalanced, this means that, if you are riding both legs at the same time, trying to do the same amount of work, the weaker leg is being stressed more and it will respond to this stress and eventually become the equal of the stronger leg. This same principle holds for the fore/aft muscles. The pushing leg cannot help the pulling muscles on the back stroke. As one trains these "pulling" muscles will become the effective equivalent of the pushing muscles.
PowerCranks is an "easy" way to enhance lower core muscle and leg balance.
PowerCranks by doing more for the athlete in the same amount of time really help the athlete to get more for the time they have to give. Training additional muscles, improveing technique and efficiency, helping to avoid future injury, improving rehab from current or old injury.PowerCranks does it all.
Triathletes especially benefit because now they can see running benefit while riding their bike. This gives them the option of taking some time away from their running and adding it to either the bike or swim training, depending upon where they will see the biggest advantage.
Customers typically spend a lot less time running than they do now but find themselves running much faster. Less pounding. Less risk of injury. Better outcome. What could be more efficient from a training time-management perspective? More here
Many sports, beyond the obvious cycling, running, triathlon can benefit from PowerCranks. It simply requires using the product to train the weaknesses of the athlete for the demands of the sport that the product can address. Even some non-athletic needs can be enhanced. Click on the tabs below for more specifics in these areas.
Elderly fall risk - the elderly tend to fall because they lose the ability to lift their leg off the ground so they trip. And when they do trip they do not have good hip flexor capability to bring the foot forward to catch themselves. Regular use of Powercranks can improve hip flexor capability to encurage a more normal gait and enhance the ability to recover from tripping incidents.
Weight loss enhancement - People trying to lose weight often exercise to try to burn more calories. PowerCranks do two things to enhance the amount of calories burned for any amount of exercise. First, more muscle is exercised. And, exercised muscle burns more calories when resting than sedentary muscle. So, exercising more muscle during exercise should also increase the basal (resting) metabolic rate, increasing the daily calory demand beyond that seen from the exercise itself.
Cerebral Palsy prohibits "normal" muscle function in both the relaxation and contraction of the muscles. PowerCranks allow the user to come closer to what is possible. Jim Lawyer, who has CP, reported PowerCranks allowed him to go from a 80/20 power split between his legs to a 51/49 split in about 1 year.
PowerCranks will help almost any athlete who uses his legs for power or speed in his sport or activity or any athlete who requires good core strength, balance, and function. This is especially true for those athletes who are injured or have a history of repeated injury. The question isn't so much "who will they help?" but, rather, "how much will they help?" That can't be known until the athlete integrates them into their training and sees which weaknesses they have that the PowerCranks address. The long list of Olympic, World, and National champions in cycling, triathlon, and running, who have used the product in training is extensive plus a wide variety (athletics, baseball, football, gymnastics, hockey, rugby, power lifting, etc.) of National, University, and professional teams have adopted the tool for performance enhancement, injury prevention, rehab, or all of these. If PowerCranks can help these people we would expect them to work for you also.
How long to see benefit depends upon your current level and weaknesses. Technique improvement does not come easily and everyone is different. However, most new users are reporting they are starting to see running improvement starting in about 2 weeks. Cycling improvement usually takes a little longer but most are starting to see it in about 6 weeks (because that is how long it takes to start to see some endurance get into the new muscles you need to use for those activities).
The amount of improvement one can expect depends, again, on how good you are and how well the PowerCranks correct your specific weaknesses. Our typical triathlete (a good but not great runner) is reporting running pace improving about 1 min/mile in about 3 months. About 80% of our customers who run report new running personal records within 3 months. Cyclists are typically seeing time-trial speed improvements of about 2-3 mph in about 6 months. Triathletes typically see improvements in both areas. Over 25 pro triathletes have won their first Ironman Championship after starting training on PowerCranks.