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  1. #1
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    Best/Strongest Climbing Position

    This was in Road Bike Riders email thing and I thought since this topic comes up often it should be shared.

    Find Your Strongest Climbing Position

    Is it seated or standing? The best position is highly individual because it depends on muscle fiber type, body weight, fitness and training -- all combined with the length and steepness of the grade you're climbing.

    Generally, heavier riders climb better seated because standing requires them to support their body weight. This exacts a larger energy penalty. Virtually all weight is carried by the legs, none by the seat.

    You need to find which position is more efficient. Here's how:

    Important: Warm up well, then ride each of the following tests with your most comfortable cadence and gear. Don't try to spin fast if that's not your style. Be yourself.
    *

    Test 1. On a hill that's representative of those you usually ride, pedal to the top standing all the way. Record your time, heart rate, perceived exertion and, if you have a power meter, your average wattage.

    Recover for 10-15 minutes and repeat the climb, this time seated. Record your data.

    *

    Test 2. Several days later, climb the hill again. But reverse the order -- make the first ascent in the saddle and the second while standing. Take the same amount of recovery time between efforts. Record your data and compare.

    Do this procedure again the following week. Then you should see a pattern. What you're looking for is the position that produces . . .

    * a lower heart rate
    * lower perceived exertion
    * a faster time (or higher wattage)

    That's the most efficient position for you.

    Be careful with these results. It's a rare cyclist who always climbs better either seated or standing. Most riders will be faster and more comfortable when they alternate being in and out of the saddle on the same climb.

    It takes quite a bit of climbing experience to determine the best mix. What you want to know is which position you should use for max performance when you need it.

  2. #2
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    I like alternating positions, but I do find "dancing on the pedals" to be easier on my knees than remaining seated, particularly with my current plica inflammation.
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
    Capo [dschaw'-poe]: 1959 Modell Campagnolo, S/N 40324; 1960 Sieger, S/N 42624
    Peugeot: 1970 UO-8, S/N 0010468
    Bianchi: 1981 Campione d'Italia, S/N 1.M9914
    Schwinn: 1988 Project KOM-10, S/N F804069

  3. #3
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Been climbing hills since 1990 and one thing I have learnt is that every rider is different. Strongest hill rider I know sits in the saddle and has a far lower cadence than I would ever dream of using. He is an oddball though. I stay seated as far as I can. For hills up to 12% or so- that will be all the way up. More than 12% and I get out of the saddle when the cadence drops below 70. Works for me.

    BUT- When I climbed Ventoux- I stayed seated all the way. No section over 12% but it was a bit long. Only thing I did notice was that the cadence towards the top was a lot lower in places.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


    Spike Milligan

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