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  1. #1
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    Climbing hills out of the saddle

    I'm not sure if this is the right forum for this or not.

    I just started consistently riding this year. I've noticed when I try to get out of the saddle on tough hills that my legs feel weak. I can power up them while sitting but can't seem to stand. If I'm at a traffic light, I can stand to get thru the light quickly with no problem. Is this just a training issue, do I need to strengthen my legs more with squats? I do them now but no weights, just lots of reps.

  2. #2
    Idiot felt1's Avatar
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    You need to equalize your muscles. It sounds like you have strong quads and weak gluteus maximus or hammies. Squats should help also try inline skates, trampoline, or power slider to help with stability issues. Stability issues mostly come from the muscle on the opposite side of the muscle in use. A way to test this theory is simple. bench press 150 ponds with a straight bar and then pick up two 75 pound dumbells (same weight) and bench press that. notice how much harder it is without the straight bars connection(bringing the A. deltoids and biceps into play). When you stand you take away the seats connection.

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    You are using different muscles when climbing out of the saddle. Out of saddle climbing uses more fast twitch muscles whereas seated climbing uses more slow twitch muscles. Strengthing will definately help with out of saddle climbing but remember it isn't always more efficient. Yes, adding weights will help to strengthen these muscles as well as just more climbing out of the saddle. Start low and work your way up (no punn intended).

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    Quote Originally Posted by felt1 View Post
    You need to equalize your muscles. It sounds like you have strong quads and weak gluteus maximus or hammies. Squats should help also try inline skates, trampoline, or power slider to help with stability issues. Stability issues mostly come from the muscle on the opposite side of the muscle in use. A way to test this theory is simple. bench press 150 ponds with a straight bar and then pick up two 75 pound dumbells (same weight) and bench press that. notice how much harder it is without the straight bars connection(bringing the A. deltoids and biceps into play). When you stand you take away the seats connection.
    What's a power slider? Thanks.

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    Idiot felt1's Avatar
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    http://www.nettracing.com/board.htm something like this. I have one like it. Very effective.

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    umd
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    Quote Originally Posted by bfloyd View Post
    You are using different muscles when climbing out of the saddle. Out of saddle climbing uses more fast twitch muscles whereas seated climbing uses more slow twitch muscles.
    I don't think I agree with that. Different muscles yes, but not fast vs. slow twitch. Where did you get that idea?

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    Running is my main activity which I think works hamstrings more than quads. I use a balance board and Bosu for stability. I do squats on the Bosu a lot in addition to doing them standing on the floor and that works balance a lot.

    Would getting out of the saddle on the flat sections help me to build up slowly to doing it on a hill? When I've tried it on hills, I almost feel like I'm going to collapse but maybe that is because I don't try until I've already tired myself out most of the way up. If I start at the bottom when I still feel strong, would that be better?

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    Senior Member ericm979's Avatar
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    Just do it more. Before you're tired. You'll get used to it.

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    Are you using the correct gear? I usually shift UP one or two cogs right before I stand. Standing in too light a gear makes you spin too fast and tires you out super fast.

    Just a thought... can't really tell from your post.
    ...

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    Quote Originally Posted by valygrl View Post
    Are you using the correct gear? I usually shift UP one or two cogs right before I stand. Standing in too light a gear makes you spin too fast and tires you out super fast.

    Just a thought... can't really tell from your post.
    I was doing that at first but realized it wouldn't work well. I still may need to shift up because it does seem too easy. I was on a ride on Saturday with someone that stood for all the hills and his legs were moving pretty slowly, he looked really relaxed doing it. I'll try again tomorrow in a harder gear and see how that works. Thanks

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    Quote Originally Posted by chele519 View Post
    I'm not sure if this is the right forum for this or not.

    I just started consistently riding this year. I've noticed when I try to get out of the saddle on tough hills that my legs feel weak. I can power up them while sitting but can't seem to stand. If I'm at a traffic light, I can stand to get thru the light quickly with no problem. Is this just a training issue, do I need to strengthen my legs more with squats? I do them now but no weights, just lots of reps.
    Your legs are weak - being able to stand and simultaneously pedal takes strength that you don't have.

    Just work at it more.
    Eric

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    Read my cycling blog at http://riderx.info/blogs/riderx
    Like climbing? Goto http://www.bicycleclimbs.com

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    I had the same problem when I picked up cycling again a couple months ago.

    What worked for me is to just keep at it.. I get out of the saddle and stay up for as long as I can. I'm slowly getting better and better.. FAR better than I was when I started!!

    I noticed the biggest improvement when I started shifting twice to a harder gear and turning the pedals at about 60rpm up the hill.. keep going until I can't anymore than sit back down and grind the rest of the way in a different gear.

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    I've been recently working on my climbing skills, which I sucked at. I'd be hauling on the flats and get to a small climb and my speed would significantly drop and HR went way up.

    What I'm working on now is more spinning on the rollers / small - medium climbs while seated. I'll try to keep at least 100 rpm cadence throughout the climb. Sometimes it may not feel like you're going anywhere, but it's strengthens you aerobic system and you will become better with it at time. On steeper climbs, I'll spin at the bottom and once I get tired of spinning (especially if my speed is decreasing significantly), I'll shift up 2-3 gears and stand on the pedals. The best way I've found to do this is pretend you're going up a set of stairs. Consciously lift your feet from the bottom of the pedal stroke up and over into the down stroke. It is amazing what this does instead of just standing on the pedals and having to push the dead weight from your other leg up and over. I've always had a good pedal stroke on the flats, but never really thought much of it for climbing, but now that I do, it's great and I'm starting to like climbing more. The other thing that I've been doing to get better at hills is incorporate several tough climbs in my normal route that I take and when I get to them I try to climb it one gear harder than I did the previous days. If you're not a strong climber, you'll probably have to shoot for a higher gear every week to two weeks. Anyways, hope this helps.
    Last edited by Speedster22; 09-26-07 at 07:45 AM.

  14. #14
    seppomadness
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    I hereby nominate this thread for 'S$%test advice of all time on BF Award'.

    Shocking.

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    [QUOTE=Shocking.[/QUOTE]

    Have you ever contributed to trying to help someone else out? Doesn't seem like it. Most of your posts are just babbling nonsense.

    Shut up and ride.

  16. #16
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    do more riding while standing that is all

    case closed

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by edzo View Post
    do more riding while standing that is all

    case closed
    I concur with Dr. Edzo.

    We'd like to put you on a regimen of going up more hills and standing until it hurts. I think you'll see dramatic improvement in a month.

  18. #18
    bzzzz fuzzthebee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chele519 View Post
    I'm not sure if this is the right forum for this or not.

    I just started consistently riding this year. I've noticed when I try to get out of the saddle on tough hills that my legs feel weak. I can power up them while sitting but can't seem to stand. If I'm at a traffic light, I can stand to get thru the light quickly with no problem. Is this just a training issue, do I need to strengthen my legs more with squats? I do them now but no weights, just lots of reps.
    Why do you feel that you need to get out of the saddle?

  19. #19
    Rick Schulze rschulze's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ericm979 View Post
    Just do it more. Before you're tired. You'll get used to it.
    This is the right answer. People ask me how to get strong on hills....go ride hills. You want to be a fast sprinter, sprint. Want to ride long distances, ride long. No magic, no slider needed, no weights. Find hills, put bike in hefty gear, jump out of the saddle and sprint like mad...repeat, repeat, repeat........

  20. #20
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    One stands when one has to: when one cannot turn the cranks seated (>18% for instance), when one needs a change to rest, or when one wants to attack or sprint.

    My problem with standing has always been that I don't stand much on group rides or brevets, because I'm usually at my seated limit and I'll get dropped if I stand. So maybe I'll stand one minute in 10 while climbing and during my rotation in a paceline. That's not enough to build strength to climb really steep stuff out of the saddle.

    So yeah, that's it - just do climbs out of the saddle on your training rides. Climb 'til it burns. It helps a little to squat and a little to do the Stairmill or Stairmaster in the gym in the winter. But on your long rides, save it for the steep climbs. Keep your butt in the saddle 90% of the time when climbing, if you can.

    If I'm turning the cranks sort of comfortably seated, when I stand I'll shift up a chainring, maybe even plus a cog or two in back. Maybe I spin a little more on the climbs than some.

  21. #21
    seppomadness
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    Quote Originally Posted by Speedster22 View Post

    Shut up and ride.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Speedster22 View Post
    Have you ever contributed to trying to help someone else out? Doesn't seem like it. Most of your posts are just babbling nonsense.

    Shut up and ride.
    Yup

  23. #23
    this one's optimistic... feethanddooth's Avatar
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    do leg extensions for stronger quads. you use them more when out of saddle. or at least thats what it feels like to me. i climb better out of the saddle so i know i have to do more leg presses, squats, and leg curls. this past winter i went crazy on the leg extension machine and did more power training on squats rather than endurance training.

    all the weight training helped me tremendously in the off season.

    oh, ride in the winter too. when "riding season" starts next year you will be an animal.
    2002 cannondale r400, 2006 kona smoke, 2005 scott speedster s30

  24. #24
    bac
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    Quote Originally Posted by chele519 View Post
    I'm not sure if this is the right forum for this or not.

    I just started consistently riding this year. I've noticed when I try to get out of the saddle on tough hills that my legs feel weak. I can power up them while sitting but can't seem to stand. If I'm at a traffic light, I can stand to get thru the light quickly with no problem. Is this just a training issue, do I need to strengthen my legs more with squats? I do them now but no weights, just lots of reps.
    Really, just train more out of the saddle and you'll get stronger in that position.

    ... Brad

  25. #25
    Enjoying the ride Yield's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rschulze View Post
    This is the right answer. People ask me how to get strong on hills....go ride hills. You want to be a fast sprinter, sprint. Want to ride long distances, ride long. No magic, no slider needed, no weights. Find hills, put bike in hefty gear, jump out of the saddle and sprint like mad...repeat, repeat, repeat........
    This is the advice I've been living off of for a while. If you want to do better at anything, you have to keep doing it. Keep in mind, however, that slow and steady wins the race. It's going to take some time to work up the strength. Back in the spring, when I stood up to climb a few hills it would kill me. This past Saturday I did some standing on the same hills and I was feeling the burn when I got back home and it felt soooo goooooood

    As far as weights go, it won't hurt you to do them but it's not necessary. When you're doing those squats, you could throw on some light weights and try do the same number of reps. Keep increasing the weights until you can squat a VW Jetta then go show those hills who's boss

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