EPISODE 2 – Force Creates Motion, But Stiffness Controls Motion

The strong savvy cyclist & triathlete podcast

In episode 2 Coach Brodie talks about his recent appearance on the GCN Show to help Hank & Dan crush their pushups proper, and why force production in itself is not the end goal of a strength training program…. but STIFFNESS and force production ARE.

Learn why Pushups may not be “bike specific”, but the FUNdamental 5+1 Movements of Push, Pull, Squat, Hinge, Press, and Rotary Stability ARE IN FACT critical to master if you’re looking to crush your on-bike or in-sport goals.


Many coaches, cyclists, runners, and triathletes talk about force creation in the sport….but many miss the important linchpin that STIFFNESS CONTROLS MOTION.

Today we talk about one of the biggest, yet most overlooked aspect of strength training- learning to create stiffness to control motion.


Apple Podcast




Show Notes:

In this Episode:

  • Global Cycling Network (GCN): episode 318
  • Teaching the Youth
  • Dan’s and Hank’s Assessment
  • Proper Push-ups
  • Importance of Glutes, Posture, and Breathing
  • Body Awareness for Stiffness and Stability
  • Core, Energy, and Power
  • Conclusion


2:02 – 

Global Cycling Network (GCN): episode 318

  • Menachem asked if a leading strength coach for cyclists and triathletes could come on the show to talk about strength training
  • The week before, they actually tried to do push-ups and created a 20-second push-up challenge and as expected with cyclists and triathletes, the push-ups were horrendous
    • Many shoulders were hurt and not a single real push-up was done, so Menachem came in to help correct Dan’s and Hank’s push-ups


3:38 – 

Teaching the Youth

  • “With professional athletes, there’s a certain level of body awareness that they have”, which is something that Menachem feels is being lost in what we teach our youth now
  • In school, both gym and music are being cut when school should be investing more in movement and art to allow children the opportunity to move and express themselves, and not sit on their phones and computers
  • “It’s so important to get people moving – especially kids. This is something I talk about with long-term athlete development in a number of settings”


4:37 – 

Dan’s and Hank’s Assessment

  • Menachem only had about 3-5 minutes with the guys, and he started by looking at how they were sitting, standing, and walking, and how they would get out of their chairs
  • Dan closed the segment by saying something along the lines of them just leaving the push-ups alone now because they’re not cycling-related
    • Menachem agrees to disagree here: “understanding and being able to execute the Fundamental 5+1 movements is so absolutely integral to your long-term success as an athlete – we have to have them”


7:23 – 

Proper Push-ups

  • Juxta-parallel with the elbows, push themselves back up, and have fantastic scapular-thoracic rhythm and lena-humeral rhythm
  • Riders see awesome results on the bike when they execute these movements properly because joint position dictates muscle function
  • In order to do a push-up, you have to be able to produce stiffness and stability through the core, lock the rib cage together, fire the glutes and deep abdominals, the transverse abdominis, the external obliques, and the internal obliques – all this stuff has to fire to keep your rib cage and pelvis locked together
    • Then, your canister will allow for diaphragmatic breathing, which will allow you to match your breath, as we saw with Hank, and give you more repetitions
  • Menachem also corrected Hank’s thumbs on the ground
    • The thumbs and feet tell us what’s going on at the deep abdominals – the pelvic floor and the deep six: the obturator internus and externus, the superior and inferior gemellus, the piriformis, and the quadratus femoris, which all work together to stabilize the hip
    • With cyclists, a lot of their deep hip rotators don’t work because they’re frozen
      • They’re either elongated or isometrically stuck, which affects how you’re able to produce and mitigate tension through the midsection and produce power through your hips


11:14 –

Importance of Glutes, Posture, and Breathing

  • There’s a number of different resources that talk about the importance of the glutes in cycling and triathlon and how you have to get them activated, which is great, but now nobody’s talking about posture
    • “You can get the glutes working better, and your posture will improve from that, but you have to increase your ability to take good quality breaths while you are going through your movements”
    • Breathing allows you to get muscles to move when they need to move and relax when they need to relax, which is key to top-level performance


12:26 –

Body Awareness for Stiffness and Stability

  • To get to top-level you really need to have that mind-body connection, body awareness, and the willingness and ability to learn about your body and its sensations
  • The Fundamental 5+1 is something that is really important for us to understand. While these movements may not be cycling related, we do need to have command over these basic human movements
    • When you have command of these and can produce stiffness and stability in certain areas when you need, you will see a huge increase in ability to perform
  • It’s not necessarily about creating force
    • Force simply creates motion, but the line of action, and how you’re producing that force, will help in understanding what’s possible. Also, you need stiffness to control motion


15:48 –

Core, Energy, and Power

  • “You need the core, all of it”
  • Menachem counts the core as all of the muscles between the knees, neck, and elbows
  • You need the core to help you have stiffness in the right places and times in the right amounts because it allows you to control the motion
    • If you have good stiffness through your core, you can put more power down to the pedals, which means you will waste less energy
  • The average beginner cyclist gets about 16% of the actual energy they’re putting forward on the pedals to propel them forward, whereas for professional cyclists it’s around 21%
    • Almost 80% of professional cyclists’ energy is not going down to the pedals to propel them forward, it’s going elsewhere
  • Plenty of people say, “I can’t strength train because I don’t wanna put on weight”, but if you’re doing it properly, and you’re training to allow yourself to produce more power, or produce the same amount of power with better control where you have stiffness in the right place, you are going to be a better cyclist or runner when it counts
    • Also, you’ll decrease the amount of wear and tear that happens on the joints


19:32 –


  • What did you find interesting?
  • Send Menachem a message!
  • Pop over to Youtube and subscribe!
  • Stay tuned! There’s a great guest list to come
  • Key point: Force creates motion, but stiffness controls motion, and we need to master the Fundamental 5+1 in order to become a better cyclist or triathlete, or runner, because it will allow you to produce stiffness in the right places, to get joint position where it dictates the muscle function allowing you to put more of your power to propel you forward as opposed to wasting it with different movements at different joints


Picture of Menachem Brodie

Menachem Brodie

Coaching since 2000, Menachem Brodie has been working with athletes in a number of settings, and a broad variety of sports.


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