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  1. #1
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    What happens when you only climb hills?

    Lets say there is this guy, he rides only hills, every single pedalstroke is for the uphill. If he is going to descend, he gets into the car and drive to a point when it is all uphill again. No flats, no nothing, only uphill. You get the point. What is going to happen to the guy??

    Will there be muscles that are not worked compared to when riding the flats? Will the guy be stronger in the flats than other people? Will he just turn into a real lean climber who cannot do the flats at all? I really want to know what muscle groups are worked too, is it every single muscle in the body?

  2. #2
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    Interesting comment. As someone who rides as many hills as I can find, I may be able to shed some light on this one. I seem to be able to drop a lot of people on the hills who manage to own me 169% in virtually every other form of terrain -- however, that may also be a product of my skinny build, too. I guess it's a question of the natural physical make-up of the rider, but as I understand pushing into a wind is different to riding up a hill.
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    Does anyone else have any information, and try to fill me in at least?

    Why should one not be able to push into the wind, which a form of resistance and riding uphill where gravity is a form of resistance? I still want to know what different muscle groups are involved.

    Furthermore, about watts per kilogram, so the one with a higher one can climb better. As for climbers, with high watts per kilogram, it means higher watts as well, so there should not be much problem riding on the flats right?

  4. #4
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    Riding into the wind carries a different kind of resistance than riding uphill. When riding into the wind aerodynamic drag and wind speed are the forces that are used. When riding uphill gravity is the main force you have to contend with. When you ride uphill you also come out of the saddle more to dance on the pedals if you are on a long climb (Unless you're Jan Ulrich-like). When riding on flats you're almost always in the saddle. Riders that climb well are generally lighter. If you only weigh about 140 lbs you aren't going to have as much power to put into the pedals as someone who weighs 170 lbs if you're both in the same fitness level. That is why that muscle-bound guy in your riding group will get killed on hills, but when he puts that brute force into action on flats, he can get a bike to move. So, climbing well may not necessarily translate into being a better rider on flats.

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    Your right, Climbing & Cycling in general is pretty all about having a good power-bodyweight ratio. The lighter you are the better you are going to be on the hills, everything else being equal.

    When I started lifting weights 2 years ago my bodyweight-power ratio went through the roof. Currently I'm almost able to Deadlift 3x my own bodyweight, Squat 2.6x my own bodyweight etc, AND believe me that has done more for my pace on the hills than doing hill repeats with just bike restistance EVER did. When I kept doing performing hill repeats with just bike resitance I remember I was getting slower & slower. It may have been over training but it wasn't physcological, I was timing my repeats.

    Put it like this, If Armstrong does weights & Iban Mayo doesn't, forget about it, there is only winner in the mountains...

    Also, I have found many a time, pushing into a wind was more bruising than going up some of the steepest inclines in my area.
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    Senior Member OldsCOOL's Avatar
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    Vitamin X, I've lifted weights for nearly 30yrs...about as long as biking. What you've stated is what I've found true. Hills arent so bad. In fact the two main routes I use for training have difficult hills. This doesnt mean I dont tire or otherwise ascend without strain....I just have learned to power up and over better than I would have without the weight training.

    (I can have squatted triple bw and bench double plus...no drugs )

    Summer time is for biking, however and the training does pay off.



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    I am curious vitamin x , could you give some details about the wieght trianing you do.
    Thanks

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    syNapse, I know everything there is to know about training with weights and what exercises cyclists should be performing in the gym, but its a long discription to which I don't have time for.

    Anything in particular you really needed to know???...
    You do not get into Cycling, Cycling gets into you

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    Well, In particular I am looking for some adductor strengthening exercises and some techniques to overcome the strenght inmbalance between my two legs without causing some structural injuries.
    Any input would be appreciated.

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    You perform work against your own body weight in two different situations, climbing hills and accelerating. When you climb hills, you perform work against gravity. When you accelerate, you perform work against your inertia (inertia is an object's resistance to changes in velocity, heavier objects have more inertia).

    But when you are riding at a constant speed on flat ground, you are not climbing or accelerating, so you are not performing work against your weight. You are mainly performing work against air resistance. Your air resistance is dependent largely on your surface area and aerodynamics.

    Heres, the catch. As an object, such as a human body, increases in volume, it has a much less significant increase in surface area. You can add a significant amount of muscle without greatly increasing your surface area, which means that you can make significant increases in power without signifantly increasing air resistance. This means that skinny guys who may be able to power up a climb will be blowing like a leaf (relatively speaking) fighting a headwind while trying to cruise fast on flat ground, because they have a similar surface area as a larger more muscular rider, but less power output.

    So to sum it up, speed on climbs depends on a power to weight ratio, while speed on the flats is dependent on a power to surface area ratio. Maybe this will help to give you some insight on how different body types perform differently under varying conditions, and how the stresses on your body change as well.

  12. #12
    Senior Member DMulyava's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dane
    You perform work against your own body weight in two different situations, climbing hills and accelerating. When you climb hills, you perform work against gravity. When you accelerate, you perform work against your inertia (inertia is an object's resistance to changes in velocity, heavier objects have more inertia).

    But when you are riding at a constant speed on flat ground, you are not climbing or accelerating, so you are not performing work against your weight. You are mainly performing work against air resistance. Your air resistance is dependent largely on your surface area and aerodynamics.

    Heres, the catch. As an object, such as a human body, increases in volume, it has a much less significant increase in surface area. You can add a significant amount of muscle without greatly increasing your surface area, which means that you can make significant increases in power without signifantly increasing air resistance. This means that skinny guys who may be able to power up a climb will be blowing like a leaf (relatively speaking) fighting a headwind while trying to cruise fast on flat ground, because they have a similar surface area as a larger more muscular rider, but less power output.

    So to sum it up, speed on climbs depends on a power to weight ratio, while speed on the flats is dependent on a power to surface area ratio. Maybe this will help to give you some insight on how different body types perform differently under varying conditions, and how the stresses on your body change as well.
    This thread has certainly stirred some interesting thoughts in my head, keep it up guys!

    OK, but isn't our ride compromised of small accelerations and decelerations, even on flat ground. The way I tend to think is that we are slowed down, and each pedal stroke we accelerate ourselves. So, aren't we still performing that work against our own body (and bike!) weight.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dane
    Heres, the catch. As an object, such as a human body, increases in volume, it has a much less significant increase in surface area. You can add a significant amount of muscle without greatly increasing your surface area, which means that you can make significant increases in power without signifantly increasing air resistance. This means that skinny guys who may be able to power up a climb will be blowing like a leaf (relatively speaking) fighting a headwind while trying to cruise fast on flat ground, because they have a similar surface area as a larger more muscular rider, but less power output.

    So to sum it up, speed on climbs depends on a power to weight ratio, while speed on the flats is dependent on a power to surface area ratio. Maybe this will help to give you some insight on how different body types perform differently under varying conditions, and how the stresses on your body change as well.
    So now I see the size and surface area thingy. A bigger guy does not really have any significant increase in surface area.

    What about the muscles involved? Are they all the same, or does the incline uphill causes some hidden muscles to be developed and thus build great climbers? Otherwise, could it be that climbing uphill requires a huge force created on the downstroke than on the flats? It seems that since it is inclined, your downstroke is longer than when it's flat? Is that true? Come on man, keep this thread going, I'm sure to discover many things that I would like to know, and maybe others will want to know too

  14. #14
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    I think that the people who beat you on the flat have higher ENDURANCE and SPEED capacity against your STRENGTH capacity.

    It's the same reason that so many mountain bike racers ride road bikes for some of their training.

    Watch your riding buddies cadence and try to match it. I'm also guessing you ride in higher gears then they do on the flats.

    Speed skills (high cadence) will usually boost your pedaling economy and pedal stroke smoothness...

    Longer rides..maybe 4 hours plus...will gain you Endurance.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Richard Cranium's Avatar
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    Don't know how much difference it makes to the muscles, but one thing for sure, the rider would "feel" like his bike-fit was messed up when finally trying out the flats.

    All those miles with your center-of-gravity shifted due to the incline would cause the nature of spinning and standing positions to feel differently. Riding on the flats after a truly long period on inclined training would feel as if your bike fit had changed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueAncientOne
    I think that the people who beat you on the flat have higher ENDURANCE and SPEED capacity against your STRENGTH capacity.

    It's the same reason that so many mountain bike racers ride road bikes for some of their training.

    Watch your riding buddies cadence and try to match it. I'm also guessing you ride in higher gears then they do on the flats.

    Speed skills (high cadence) will usually boost your pedaling economy and pedal stroke smoothness...

    Longer rides..maybe 4 hours plus...will gain you Endurance.
    You guessed wrong. Lol, I have less strength than I have speed. It is pretty easy for me to hold on high cadence, I can't push the big gears, honestly. The 53 I have in front is practically brand new. Anyway I'm still young so I won't want to bust my knees.

    It's pretty strange about the terms, speed, strength. I hope you guys are not confused. Speed as in leg speed and strength as in strength to push high gears.

    Currently, I can ride hills pretty fine. In fact I'm getting much better at it. That was with an increased ability on both the flats and the hills. With regards to the bike fit of Richard Cranium, I think I agree with you, there seems to be a change in bike fit. The style of riding is vastly different if I believe. I still need to know about the muscles involved!! Lol, the sooner I get to know, the better it will be. Only then can I restructure my training and riding. I do hate the lack of hills here though, there are never long enough and continous enough.

  17. #17
    Evil Genius capsicum's Avatar
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    Here is a little bit known for sure without any speculation, just dry facts without a conclusion.

    All the power you produce is transfered through the chain.

    The chain does not care whether you are going up, down, or into a hurricane or whether its in a high or low gear it only knows how much power it is transmitting.

    Power is by definition speed times driving force, watts and horsepower are units of power just as feet and meters are units of length.

    Resistance is speed times [drag force plus acceleration force].

    Drag force is mainly but not limited to, wind drag, tire friction, rolling resistance(rubber dampening), bearing/grease drag, friction in the chain/driveline.

    Acceleration force is the force needed to increase the speed or change the direction of a mass. Gravity is considered acceleration, it is in fact an acceleration of 32.2 feet per sec, per sec (example; 2 seconds of that acceleration would be an increase in speed of 64.4 feet per second, 10 seconds would be 322 feet per second)

    Acceleration works equally on everything, one kilo is one kilo, no matter what it consists of or what shape it is.

    Power generation and power usage will always be equal.

    Power is not lost in accelerating a mass, it is stored as kinetic energy within the mass and transfered back and forth between masses readily, eventually the kinetic energy is used to generate heat energy by means of drag force (see above) the heat generated is then given off freely never to return.

    Inertia is an objects resistance to acceleration/decceleration(no such thing as decceleration, just accelerating in the oppsite direction, but for earthly uses its a simple way to put it; also turning is acceleration- forward energy is used to accelerate the bike laterally, same mass same kinetic energy = same speed)

    Your body does not care wether you are going up down or into a hurricane it only cares about power generation and position of the three contact points and the balance point, therefor riding up hill is like switching to a bike with a more relaxed geometry, higher handle bars, and a seat that is tilted up a notch too much.

    The different effective geometry works slightly different muscles and or works the same ones to different degrees, triathlon bikes use different seat tube angles because of muscle usage (ever try to run after a long ride? Its like that in reverse, it takes several minutes for the muscles groups to fully make the switch. Tri bikes help ease this.)

    Muscles used while standing on the pedals are much different than those used while sitting and spinning. It's not so much about power generation, it is more about letting one muscle group rest while the other works.

    P.S. Any typos or non-sense phrases are caused but lack of sleep I will reveiw this tomarrow.
    Last edited by capsicum; 08-22-04 at 11:24 AM.
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