How long can you hold an aero position on the hoods?

Agree we’re not talking about the “puppy paws” position with forearms on bars and hands dangling out the front in space. But with hands on hoods and forearms horizontal, your forearms are still going to be touching and getting some support from the bars. I think bar choice and hood position is a big part of making this position sustainable. Find a setup where you can get your forearms comfortable resting on the bars while holding the hoods and then more of your weight is supported skeletally not muscularly and there’s less load on your triceps, lats, lower back, etc.

Ironically I’ve realised recently that my winter bike is currently set up better for this than my race bike. Thicker bar tape and bars that angle back slightly from the stem and then have longer drops means my forearms have both more contact area and more cushioning, so I can ride the “aerohoods” position all day long. On my race bike that part of the bar is shorter and with thin tape on, it’s not very comfortable and it’s taken a lot of work to be able to hold the position for long and even so I still get a fair bit of discomfort in my triceps and other supporting muscles.

1 Like

That’s not the point. I can ride in the drops for as long as I want. When I shift to the hoods with forearms parallel the limiter is tri and arm strength to hold that position. Raising the cockpit up to make that easier defeats the purpose since I can ride in the drops forever.

Basically: Arms parallel and low > drops and low > arms parallel and higher.

So I’m not going to adjust the bike fit so I can stay parallel on the hoods longer since I spend far more time in the drops for other reasons anyway, and then trade off isn’t worth it with respect to overall body position.

3 Likes

Exactly. Train the position. I wanted to train it more this season but wasn’t very diligent at it… didn’t really need it that much anyway.

1 Like

Interesting. I like thin bar tape, but the bruising from aerohoods on my forearms is annoying - I was thinking of running some gel padding just behind the brake leavers.

This is one of those myths that won’t die……flexibility is rarely the issue. I am about as flexible as a log, but I can maintain a very low position for long periods.

The most important component is hip rotation….that is what allows you to get low, not flexibility. I can barely touch my shins (let alone my toes), but I am significantly lower than all my riding buddies. Training your upper body to hold that position also helps…as noted, forearms and triceps are key muscles.

3 Likes

I’m just glad I could bring some unity to this forum.

1 Like

I would say that you are flexible in the hips but have tight hamstrings, but that’s just my opinion.

If we want to ignore flexibility and go with the triceps strength being the limiting factor, this doesn’t change the fact that the seat to handlebar drop is too aggressive relative to the riders tricep strength.

Raising the bar so they can sustain the position for longer durations will be strengthening the triceps. If the lower position is their goal, then once they gain the tri strength they can lower a bit and adapt/ strengthen in that position.

You can reach the same goal many ways, but I liken this to the guy half repping 2 plates on the squat rather than dropping the weights, doing proper form, and rising in weight over time. It would be gentler on the body to raise the bars for a bit and then try lower when you nail the less aggressive position.

Sure, but again, why would you do that if you can sustain that position in the drops without issue? It makes some sense to do this in the offseason - set your cockpit higher and commit to training the aero-hoods position if that’s a goal; I just wouldn’t go to a higher overall body position in the drops (which is far more important) to get the relatively marginal gain of being able to have flat forearms on the hoods. YMMV.

Bc the athlete can get in the same position (shoulders just as low) in the drops with a slightly greater bend in their elbow in the higher bar position if they can hit it in drops with the lower.

However, they can’t go all day in aero hoods. So raise it up til you can then progress.

1 Like

Yeah, to be clear…I’m not arguing that raising the bars isn’t a good option, just that the idea of flexibility being the limiter is as big an issue as most people think.

Absolutely agree that raising the HB can actually make someone more aero. Another myth that needs to die is that you need to slam your stem to get aero.

2 Likes

Never really thought about it. My stem is fully slammed down and a slight negative on the stem, I think. I spent about half of an 80 mile road race as a solo breakaway, so I can stay low for a long time. Also just did a 500+ mile day on my sportbike Saturday only broken up with an 11 mile trail run, so those positions work for me.

:face_with_monocle:😵‍💫 please say this is a typo.

Never done more than 25 minutes, but could go a lot longer.

It really depends on your position beforehand. I see lots and lots of people who slam their stems, locking out their elbows to even reach the hoods… I cant fathom why anyone would do that.

I have 8cm drop on my 56 Venge, with 3cm of spacers. And sure, it would look better and cooler to just slam it, but with the setup right now I always have my elbows 45+ degrees bent, and can comfortably be at 90 degrees when riding reasonably hard.

The best is when you see 55 year old dudes with beer bellies (no offence) have 15+cm drop, and can barely reach the drops… I just don’t get it.

Alaphilippe has 8cm if I don’t remember incorrectly, if he can get aero with that, then no amateur should need more :slight_smile: (albeit he has a 52 frame so its hard for him to get lower unless he goes to a frame that is too small)

I can hold flat forearms on my hoods forever I think? Can’t quite but out the same power as when I’m sat up a bit but the actual position is comfortable.

Imo this ability is not primarily a a question about flexibility but rather weight distribution. If the body’s center of gravity is to far forward, the triceps will fatigue prematurely making it very challenging to stay in that position for long.

2 Likes

“on my sportbike”

Much easier than on my bicycle :rofl:

2 Likes

I find the biggest issue with low aero isn’t my arms, or back, but tension in my neck from having my head all the way “up” (neck fully flexed back) in order to see up the road. Any thoughts on how to improve that?

yeah, I can suffer from the same issue on really long rides. After The Rift (~10 hours), I had to turn my whole body to look to the side…LOL.

Time in the saddle is your friend, as well as a general shoulder / trapezoid strengthening process. You don’t have to do big weight…just high repetition with light weights will help (arguably better, as well).

Many years ago a coach (in a different sport) assigned me an exercise where I looped a gi scrap through the hole of a weight plate, gripped the ends with my teeth, and nodded my head. This exercise was recalled to some effect when I started doing ultra distance events. It probably helped a little but I don’t think any exercise is going to keep your neck from going janky eventually if you ride turtled all day long.