The Power Position

As long time cruiser aficionado, it has been a bit of a surprise for me to want a road bike. To me, a good bike ride has always been a leisurely spin about town being pulled along by Mowgli. Maybe a jaunt from cafe to hamburger stand to yogurt shop, or some variation. That is what cruisers are good for. Heading downtown for a show or a snakehead or two? Hop on your cruiser.

Back when I surfed more, I used to ride down to Indicators or Cowells with a death grip on my nine six. Hell, I once pulled a cruiser out of the water at the Lane, dragged it to the stairs and home, and restored it. In my mind, you weren’t a proper Santa Cruz local unless you had at least a couple, or a fleet, of beach cruisers littering your garage or yard.

However, I have the road bike urge and I started looking into them. And I hit a wall. Road bikes are a lot more complicated than cruisers with a lot more options, and a lot more expensive.

Only 700 dollars!

So I turned to my esteemed colleague and friend and all around beast, Emmett Z, a former pro racer and bike shop grunt. I told him what I would use the bike for, what I liked and didn’t like, and could he recommend something for me. Here is his answer:

Sam, what’s up man, so here is the deal on bikes. Oh yeah, I worked at a bike shop throughout high school and sold literally hundreds of bikes to all levels of riders, so I know what will work for ya and what won’t. As for road bikes, you mentioned that you wanted one for its speed and weight, but that you wanted to make it more upright. This was a common complaint for many when I was fitting people for bikes. The geometry of a road bike is such that you are limited to a position that is specifically for generating the most power. Think of the setup of a snatch or clean. Road bikes, and especially the most rigid bike of all–time trial bikes, slam your body into the most powerful position possible on two wheels.  Now, your size is a huge disadvantage because probably the best bike for you is something custom made.  If you really want to go road bike there is a custom builder in town who makes rad bikes. The company’s name is Rock Lobster.  Maybe you know of them, it’s over off Swift.  Another option, and I think the best for you, is the hybrid bike. This bike was developed in the last ten years and was specifically made because people who rode road bikes wanted something more comfortable but still speedy. They took the upright geometry of a mountain bike–think head up, no neck pain, neutral spine, and put super light road bike wheels and road bike gearing on it and called it a hybrid.  Every single bike company makes one these days they are usually labeled under transport or fitness in categories. These bikes are super light, fast, really comfortable and can definitely keep up with any road bike.

What struck me about his email was his description of the forward lean into which road bikes place the body. It’s all for generating power, Emmett says. He then went on to compare it to the hang position in the clean or snatch. Again, it’s all for generating power. And that’s why that position is called the “power position”. It is also referred to as the “athletic position”.

Olympic gold medalist Kristin Armstrong.

Look at almost any sport, and you will see that the optimum body position is the power position. It varies a little from sport to sport with hand position and foot placement, but the hip, chest, knee, and foot angles and their relationships are very similar. The demands of the individual sport will close or open the angle of the hip a little; the boxer stands more upright than a wrestler, yet a tennis player and a short stop’s ready position are virtually identical.

Many, if not most, movements in CrossFit are, at their core, about using the power position and explosive movement out of it to generate power. The snatch and clean are two obvious examples, but so are kettlebell swings, sprinting, and broad jumps, and even the kipping pullup.

Liz S. The prowler places one in a perfect power generating position, which is one of the key reasons it is so good for sprinting.

The power position is just that, a position from which to maximize power and movement in all directions. It is replete with potential.

 

What a beauty! A Bianchi hybrid. I want!

Workout:

Deadlift

Find new 5RM.

Then:

3 Rounds w/1 minute rest between rounds

AMRAP in 1 min:

Rope Climb

Clean and Jerk 155/100#

Burpee

Perform the WOD in a manner similar to Fight Gone Bad. Score is total reps.