Track Cycling Standing Starts

Perfect your starting technique with former World and Commonwealth Champion Kerrie Meares

A key element of sprinting is starting in the gate we have a lot to learn and improve on, as in my experience gated starts are an element that can win or lose you a race! In a bit more detail.

So many components are involved in the standing start. Efficiency and technique are combined with timing and momentum and if done correctly, will produce a fast force to propel the bike and rider forward. You only have to turn on the box set and watch the time trial events at World Championships and Olympic games to see how in a matter of tenths and hundredths races are won and lost. Tips to focus on:

1. Timing - 3, 2, 1, GO! We all know to go on zero right? This is something that can be a challenge for many, especially with nerves at play and the distraction of a sometimes-hooting crowd. False starts burn a lot of energy so it's best to get it right the first time. A great tip is visualisation - visually sit on the bike (or in your office chair), listen to the count down (record it and replay - replay - replay), train your brain to work with the beeps!

2. Breathing - ever thought about how much more power you can generate if you breathe at the right moment? And how much better your strength endurance will last with more oxygen? It's true, much longer! Yet it's so easy to focus on so many things in a standing start and we forget to breathe! A great tip is when you are visualizing your count down, incorporate a breathing pattern so that you have your lungs full of air on GO! Taking a deep breathe in on 1 second before the go is always a good idea. But don't hold your breath for too long, the goal is to breathe through your pedal strokes; don't be holding your breath until reaching the corner! This will help your length in your time trial event - and will also ensure you don't pass out half way around the bend!

3. Stability - for a standing start to be efficient, all the power you generate needs to go through your pedals. Any drop in your shoulders, hips or core will result in energy being diverted elsewhere and not into your pedal stroke force. By establishing the coordination and activation of the muscle groups required to give you a solid power transfer, and developing strength needed to incorporate stability will help standing start performance. A great tip is to consult with a physio or personal trainer to make assessment and recommend specific exercises for any weaknesses that need attention to help your performance. 

4. Hand position - I see many starts where hands are relaxed and resting with literally seconds to go. Ideally hands should be holding onto the bars firmly, with wrists straight (not bent), incorporated with a good solid upper body frame. If your wrists are bent, you may have your hands placed too high in the drops, or if your wrists are inverted, they are relaxed and not solid for start preparation. Either one of these wrist positions can affect the body's position in the early stages of the start which can restrict power drive to your pedals.

Anna Meares had one of the best starts, check it out here and try and replicate her technique in your training sessions

So there we have it a few tips to get you on your way flying around the track! These tips will be sure to make a substantial difference in performance at a fundamental level. 

Whether you are based in Queensland, Australia or anywhere in the world Velodrome.Shop recommend Track Cycling Academy as our official Track Cycling Training partner.

The Track Cycling Academy specialise in skill development across all disciplines and aim to ensure all cyclists have adequate competency and bike handling skills when commuting, training and racing.

They hold a number of clinics each year that are conducted at various velodrome locations, road and criterium circuits and business locations.

Within the Track Cycling Academy, there are a number of coaches that expose athletes to high performance training and coaching environments and are regularly up skilled with the latest in Cycling developments.

Our coaches also conduct team building exercises with corporate clients in both cycling and gym (personal training) arenas.

Emily Rosemond - Director/Partner
Emily looks after the management and operations of Track Cycling Academy. She brings Olympic, World, Oceanic and National Level experience and has a passion for assisting everyone who has a keen interest in cycling and sports. Emily holds National Coaching Accreditations (NCAS), as well as a Communications-Law degree, Personal Training, Strength & Conditioning and Fitness Australia certifications. Emily also works as the State Development Officer for Cycling Queensland. She is based in Brisbane, Queensland.

Kerrie Meares - Coach/Partner
Kerrie heads the coaching department for Track Cycling Academy. As a previous World and Commonwealth Games Champion, Kerrie brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the team. She specialises in tactic and sprint training models, but also leads the corporate events sector running team building days and skills development activities in various locations. Kerries qualifications include National Coaching Accreditations (NCAS), Personal Training Qualifications and a large public speaking portfolio. She is based in Brisbane, Queensland.

All Track Cycling Academy plans are fully customizable and vary slightly across all packages and cycling disciplines, we also offer standalone training and skills sessions, this also includes Junior Development Programs with some scholarship based funding incentives.

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If you need a Track Cycling Coach, get in touch with the Track Cycling Academy today!