More Power in the Drops

I generate more power (and RPE is lower) when I’m in the drops. Reading the forum and listening to the podcast, it seems this isn’t the norm.

(1) Is it possible that my bike fit is substantially off because I can’t generate the same power in the hoods? I do note that 4-hour rides (mostly in the drops) don’t give me problems.

(2) Does this unequivocally mean I’m going to be faster on a TT bike, especially considering the improved speed is due to aerodynamics despite the usual lower power output?

(3) For my rider type, which muscles are over/under-performing?

This could be moved to the bike fitting thread: The Bike Fitting Mega-Thread

1: Yes, you’re bike fit is off. You need to lower and/or lengthen your reach to the handlebars. It has to do with your hip angle.
2: Not really relevant. Power output has to do with hip angle, not type of bike.
3: Your glutes are not activated optimally when your hip angle is too open.

Compare front squat (open hip angle) with back squat (optimally closed hip angle). You can lift much more when back squatting since you’re using more of your glute strength.

Thanks @hugo1. Just trying to understand this more…

The handlebars are lowered with just 5mm of spacers left (from 20mm initially). Looking at a mirror, my back is flat/horizontal when in the drops. Not sure if lowering it further helps.

I also remember Nate saying in a podcast he envies people who generate more power in an aero position, which means this isn’t normal but it does happen.

Also, my power on the hoods is lower but I don’t mean like sweet spot workouts are impossible. RPE and HR are just lower in the drops.

It certainly has to do with hip angle.

Again, look at power/weight lifters. Those that can produce alot of power at the bottom of a squat - pinched hip angle - can become good olympic weight lifters. Those that can’t need to work on flexibility, or they just don’t have the genes for shallow hip sockets and ability to be powerful with a closed hip angle.
My flexibility is good but I don’t have chinese/russian genes for shallow hip sockets so I’m screwed if I go “ass to the grass” like the professional weight lifters do.

Looking in the mirror, your back may be very curved. Having your scapula parallel to the ground doesn’t necessarily mean you’re very aero. Look at hip angle and height of your front end instead.

I’m more powerful in the drops. I have never been convinced of the logic that puts the drops lower than they should be for optimum hip angle and reserves that for the hood position. And I’m not changing at this late date.

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I generally don’t have an issue generating power in the drops, it’s just not as comfortable for me to stay there for 20 minutes and it’s a little harder to breathe. So maybe more accurately, can you “sustain” power in the drops as well?

Perhaps if OP rides and trains on drops mostly, that is the position that is most familiar to the body to produce power… I have only fractionally higher power on hoods. But being on drops I recovery quicker due to, I believe, body being more horizontal and heart having easier time circulating the blood.

I’m not an expert but the only other thing that might affect your position is the frame geometry, head tube length and saddle height. What is the vertical drop from the top of your saddle to the top of the handle bars?

When I move my hands from the drops to the hoods the only thing that really changes is my elbow angle. When you do this what happens? I’m guessing you move forward over the pedals more (when in the drops) but, with out any other info or video it’s only a guess.

Anyone giving you answers without seeing what you are doing is just guessing. Go to a fitter or ask your buddies if your fit is off.

@ErickVH I’m certainly getting a bike fit. But my location prohibits this until December of this year (already scheduled a session with a known bike fitter in my country). In the meantime I’d like to know more.

I’m not even sure if it’s a bike fit issue. As mentioned, I can sustain hours in the drops without problems.

@kurt.braeckel Breathing is a bit limited as compared to when I’m on the hoods, but I take it as a given and it isn’t a limiter.

@nordic To me training in the drops is more of the effect rather than the cause. I started on the hoods just like pretty much every one, but often found myself moving to the drops when needing bigger watts just because it was easier.

@Landis @apond58 Hope this info helps but I move back on my saddle (i.e., moving away from the handlebars) when I transition from hoods to drops. Only slightly though. Saddle to handlebar drop is around 100mm (I need to measure this more accurately).

@eekeller Are they suggesting to move the hoods down further to a position where the drops would have been? Not sure if I understood this right.

Thanks everyone for the feedback.