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Old 10-22-12, 04:51 PM   #1
Esteban58
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Climbing - Citius, Altius, Fortius

Hi there,

I've only been back at this riding stuff for about 3 months, but things are going well in general - fitness, recovery, resting pulse, weight, speed are all trending in the right directions.
The one thing that's lagging for me is my ability to climb hills.

So, other than just riding up every hill in sight, are there things I should consider that would make me a stronger climber?

Any thoughts are greatly appreciated.

Steve
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Old 10-22-12, 05:07 PM   #2
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Nothing will work better than climbing more. But endurance training, spin bikes, weights can all help.
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Old 10-22-12, 05:24 PM   #3
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Do some climbing in the dirt. Once you get your technique and balance down, boy does it help on the roadie. Even short mileage on the MTB helps plenty.

I hit the fireroad today, what a workout!



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Old 10-22-12, 05:30 PM   #4
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I've started doing low-impact geezer-friendly core exercises. Couldn't they have come up with a better name than "dead bug?" I figure this will eventually help my cycling ability in all areas, including climbing.
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Old 10-22-12, 09:45 PM   #5
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I've started doing low-impact geezer-friendly core exercises. Couldn't they have come up with a better name than "dead bug?" I figure this will eventually help my cycling ability in all areas, including climbing.
My wife has a set of these set up for me for the winter... Guess I'll give them a try.

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Old 10-22-12, 10:23 PM   #6
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Do some climbing in the dirt. Once you get your technique and balance down, boy does it help on the roadie. Even short mileage on the MTB helps plenty.

I hit the fireroad today, what a workout!
Hum.... I'll have to look up what's available locally and see about getting a set of off road wheels...
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Old 10-22-12, 10:27 PM   #7
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Nothing will work better than climbing more. But endurance training, spin bikes, weights can all help.
I did a quick web search on endurance training, one of the sites I found talked more about the zen of training, mixing in different rides, off the bike work, recovery rides and real rest days. One mistake I've been making is doing pretty much the same ride most days. Thanks for the suggestions.

and yes, more climbing too.
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Old 10-23-12, 12:18 AM   #8
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I am an EX mountain biker and can assure you that when I go back to it on the few occasions in the winter- Offroads and the hills involved are tough. However when I went road 6 years ago- Road hills were tough aswell.

Few years ago and I went to the Alpes to climb a few mountains. Trained on the toughest hills in our area and have to admit that it worked. Still struggled up Ventoux but I did it.

Cross training in other sports or down the gym will increase your overall fitness levels but there is only one thing that will improve hill climbing and that is to climb hills.
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Old 10-23-12, 06:34 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Bierbaum View Post
I've started doing low-impact geezer-friendly core exercises. Couldn't they have come up with a better name than "dead bug?" I figure this will eventually help my cycling ability in all areas, including climbing.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Esteban58 View Post
My wife has a set of these set up for me for the winter... Guess I'll give them a try.
There is no reason that a "geezer" can't and shouldn't do max exercises. While one should start at low-impact, it should not stop there. The key is that your ligaments, tendons and muscles should be worked from low impact to higher impact slowly, as they likely have tightened up and don't stretch as they used to. They will need time to get to stretch and adjust to the new resistances. You should work towards a max of 6 repetitions to failure. You also need time to recover and restore.

There is a thread here about those of us who do max lifts and resistance and other exercises. All the literature says that to be beneficial at older ages, you should be working towards max. Cross training is also important - swimming, walking, hiking, etc.

As an example, at almost 73 years old, my max BP single rep right now is 195 lbs (I never was much of a BP guy) - however, in any event, I work towards that max rep when I lift, such as yesterday. Today, I am just a bit sore, which is good. I never want to lift to the point where I am REAL sore.

Also, stretching, for me, is real important.

Other landmarks for me - 73 consecutive pushups a couple of weeks ago to celebrate my 73rd birthday; 100 body dips - 2 sets of 30 + 2 sets of 20; etc.

So, don't get sold on "low impact" and "low expectations" for "geezers". You can do much better for yourself, and the research fully supports max efforts.

Also critical for bicyclers is avoiding quad - hip muscles imbalance, as bicycling really develops the quads. Bridges should be a regular activity, better yet, bridges using a fitness ball for your feet, and one legged bridges. There are other exercises and techniques, also.

Have fun.

Last edited by DnvrFox; 10-23-12 at 06:47 AM.
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Old 10-23-12, 06:37 AM   #10
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I agree that time on the mtb can really help with climbing. I try to ride up a short 3 mile 1200' climb on the mtb a couple times a week. That 35 min up makes for a nice tempo interval and helps to develop power on the steeper sections.
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Old 10-23-12, 07:23 AM   #11
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Climbing helps your climbing no matter where you do it, road or off road. But it depends on the type of climbing that you want to work on. In many places the available road climbs are longer than the off road climbs. If you want to improve your ability to do long climbs then you'd want to work on the road. Off road often has steeper climbs than on the road, so it's good for working on steep climbs. But it's really what's available in your area and what you like to ride.

Doing the same thing every ride is not the best way to improve. Trying to maintain average speed is an especially poor way to train.
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Old 10-23-12, 03:50 PM   #12
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If you just kept riding up hills, without resorting to cross-training, riding a mt. bike, etc., you'd get stronger as a climbing.

You can't improve your Geometry 2 skills by reading books like Moby Dick and Don Quixote, even though both involve thinking. By the same token, doing anything other than riding up a hill will only delay improvement in your ability to ride up a hill.

All the rest of it - cross-training, riding a mt. bike, etc. - will only keep you suffering the boredom that comes from doing just one thing all the time, whether it's pushing yourself against gravity or any other activity.
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