I am a great believer in ‘following the Tao,’ but this is a work of art. You have to make things happen, but not in a forceful way. How do you know when you need a little force or effort and when to just leave things alone to work themselves out? It’s a fine line between these two polar opposites, so I guess you just have to feel your way along ‘The Razor’s Edge‘ (didn’t like that book in my 20s, but loved it in my late 40s – there is a message there!). The other day I was out on a bike ride, with some pickups on hills. I found that these short climbs were perfect for exploring optimization of my degree of ankle looseness versus tension during the spin. Some people, even pretty good cyclists, ride up on their toes, with their ankles locked (I see this a lot), but it comes with considerable tension in your hips and elsewhere.
You can relax your legs and let your heels drop almost to the ground, while your heels fly high at the top of the stroke. But then the spin becomes sloppy with a lot of wasted energy. What is best, I wonder? As I explored this conundrum I found an elusive place that felt like the perfect combination of looseness and tension of my ankles, at which point my legs felt like rubber bands spinning freely around. A kind of springy, motorized feeling.
Saying, “Drop your heels” is fine, but how much relaxation is too much or not enough?
Anyone out there have the answer?
Important Note: These posts do not provide medical advice. You should always consult your physician before undertaking or significantly modifying an exercise program.
Copyright © 2010 Kevin T. Morgan aka FitOldDog, Old Dogs in Training, LLC.