TRUE OR FALSE: The praying mantis position is the fastest time trial position
FALSE. Every athlete is individual. Flexibility and the shape a person’s body folds into when they are in the TT position is different for everyone. Depending on the body position, different arm and hand positions have a different impact on airflow. Also the configuration of the bike, and in particular the cockpit, make a difference. So for one athlete a praying mantis position can be very effective in reducing aero drag, but for another, it can be aero-poison!
Most importantly, whichever aero position is the lowest drag position for an individual athlete, he or she must be able to push target power in this position AND hold the position for the entire length of the race. It’s all very well sitting tight and aero for 10 minutes in the wind tunnel, but if you start shaking your head and shoulders 5k into the bike leg, your uber aero position is going to take a hit, and so is your speed.