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  1. #1
    this one's optimistic... feethanddooth's Avatar
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    ridiculously high gear while climbing question

    lately ive been training for power by doing high gear climbs. today was the first day i went into a gear for the whole climb that was almost my max gear. aside from power increase will this give me any other benefit? and also what kind of damage might this cause? i havent noticed any pain or lingering soreness following these workouts. but id rather prevent something than have to deal with it while i get it.
    2002 cannondale r400, 2006 kona smoke, 2005 scott speedster s30

  2. #2
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    High gear climbs will mostly train for strength rather than power, though it *is* true that you can generate more power at a given heartrate if you can climb at slower cadences.

    The risks you run are pulling muscles and damaging tendons and ligaments. This may be acute - from a single attempt - or due to overuse, where it sneaks up on you.

    Having said that, you can do this safely if you don't overdo it, make sure that you warm up thoroughly and don't do them all the time. And avoid the ridiculously high gear part.

    You can find more info if you search for "muscle tension"
    Eric

    2005 Trek 5.2 Madone, Red with Yellow Flames (Beauty)
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  3. #3
    Senior Member VanceMac's Avatar
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    If you're talking about training sessions with a gear 2-3 higher than your normal cadence, then yes, I think there can be a strength benefit there. And I have some anecdotal experience that would support that (though far from conclusive, as the gains that I experienced were during a period when my overall fitness was still on an upward curve).

    However, I would urge extreme caution in this area.
    When you say things like "ridiculously high gear" and "max gear", I think you are not only on a dangerous path, but on a path to certain injury. The only thing that really scares me (other than an accident) is an injury that will prevent me from cycling... most especially anything related to the knees. And as eric mentions, the tendons and ligaments are especially vulnerable, especially if you do not already have years of base miles built up. Mashing just is not worth it, in my opinion. The strength will come, there's no need to risk injury trying to hasten the process.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by feethanddooth
    lately ive been training for power by doing high gear climbs. today was the first day i went into a gear for the whole climb that was almost my max gear. aside from power increase will this give me any other benefit? and also what kind of damage might this cause? i havent noticed any pain or lingering soreness following these workouts. but id rather prevent something than have to deal with it while i get it.
    How many days a week do you do this? I would recommend this workout only once a week (or even once every two weeks) or you can overuse the muscles and tendons.

  5. #5
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    I don't even use the offensive term "Fred." -- Sheldon "All Cyclists Are My Friends" Brown (1944-2008)

  6. #6
    Videre non videri
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    I do this almost every ride, and I don't have a problem. My legs and knees have never felt better, in fact.

  7. #7
    this one's optimistic... feethanddooth's Avatar
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    me knees are already destined to fold one day due to being an ice hockey goalie for years. not that it means i will throw caution to the wind but sometimes im not worried about those things.

    as far as how often i do this, probably one time every week or so.
    2002 cannondale r400, 2006 kona smoke, 2005 scott speedster s30

  8. #8
    Senior Member Jarery's Avatar
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    Bah ! If you can be in your "almost max gear" and still climbing, thats not a real hill
    Jarery

    -If you cant see it from space, its not a real hill
    -If two bikes are going in the same direction, ITS A RACE!

  9. #9
    Senior Member Jaleel Johanson's Avatar
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    me knees are already destined to fold one day due to being an ice hockey goalie for years. not that it means i will throw caution to the wind but sometimes im not worried about those things.
    I played forward for years, and my knees are shot too. My right knee is worse due to a skiing injury as well. This is the main reason I've switched over to ebikes. The power assist lets me control how much pressure I put on my knees while still climbing hills at a fun pace.

  10. #10
    more ape than man timmhaan's Avatar
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    i've done these types of exercises before, and i noticed no benefit compared to learning how to spin up hills.

  11. #11
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    I find a lot of benefit in two different low cadence exercises:

    1) Up to an hour at a steady cadence near 70 and HR in high zone 3. This should be done without breaks if possible on the trainer, rollers, or on flat or gently rolling terrain. Once or twice a week for 3 weeks. Do this before attempting Muscle Tension Intervals.
    2) Muscle Tension Intervals - sets with 10 - 15 minutes at 50 cadence, with half the interval time as rest period. These must be done in the saddle with no upper body movement. Do a set of 3 twice a week for no more than 3 weeks. Try to find a long hill with an even grade. Choose gears that will trash your thighs by the end of each interval. HR will be in high zone 3/ low zone 4. This is an early season workout.

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