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Old 04-23-12, 03:13 AM   #1
bfloyd6969
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Climbing - stand or sit

Are the muscles used in hill climbing different when you stand and climb vs. sit and climb? If so, is there a preferred way to do so - sit or stand - or is this a personal preferrence choice? How do you prefer to climb? I am referring to road riding. Thanks.
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Old 04-23-12, 05:57 AM   #2
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Yes, some muscles are engaged in both activities, but used in slightly different ways, and some muscles are recruited when standing that aren't used when seated.

Generally speaking, it is more efficient to climb seated. It is, however, possible to stand without wasting energy, and it is often helpful to do so for a while on a long climb just to give your muscles a break and spread the load, so to speak. Plus getting out of the saddle will allow you power over a short climb without shifting down, and thus maintain your speed, or to accelerate if you want to go past someone in a race, for example. And occasionally one comes to a hill that is simply too steep to be climbed seated with the gears one has available.

So, speaking personally, I'll climb in the saddle most of the time but don't hesitate to stand when that seems easier or appropriate.
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Old 04-23-12, 01:40 PM   #3
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Since having my hips replaced I have lost the muscle strength to stand and climb hills at the same time - I guess that means I just have to HTFU and just do it over and over until the muscles return then yeah?
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Old 04-23-12, 05:13 PM   #4
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I stand when I run out of gears to sit, get my cadence back, then sit down as soon as I can. Standing uses different muscles and even a few seconds rest for the sitting muscles makes a difference.I stand on very short (3-5 second) steep bumps to maintain speed and momentum.
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Old 04-23-12, 05:18 PM   #5
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a combination of both. try it and you'll see.
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Old 04-23-12, 07:24 PM   #6
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I stand to lower my heart rate when climbing.
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Old 04-24-12, 08:14 AM   #7
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Mostly seated with occasional standing to mix things up.
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Old 04-24-12, 04:23 PM   #8
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Think standing up is less efficient but it does break monotony on long climb. I notice HR going up for same power generated when standing up vs seated.
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Old 04-24-12, 11:58 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by fstshrk View Post
I stand to lower my heart rate when climbing.


hmmm, weird. Mine actually increases when I climb standing.
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Old 04-25-12, 12:04 AM   #10
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hmmm, weird. Mine actually increases when I climb standing.
This will happen unless you consciously slow down and reduce your cadence. But it is possible to stand for a rest.
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Old 04-25-12, 07:10 AM   #11
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This will happen unless you consciously slow down and reduce your cadence. But it is possible to stand for a rest.
Exactly. I do this only for a very short time and then sit back down.
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Old 04-25-12, 08:04 AM   #12
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Climb short enough that there's not time to blow up: standing. Long boring climb while babysitting the lanterne rouge: mostly standing. Ordinary long climb: sitting, but stand every 10 minutes and try to hold stand for 1 minute. I shift up one in the front and two in the back. Shifting up in the front reduces chain tension.

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Old 04-25-12, 08:10 AM   #13
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Sit, spin & gear down as needed. It's the only thing one can do, on a recumbent!
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Old 04-28-12, 10:36 AM   #14
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I notice more use of my back of leg muscles when I am climbing standing up vs. sitting down. But than, I am not sure if I stand up and pedal properly to begin with
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Old 04-28-12, 03:05 PM   #15
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Sit if you're fat, stand if you're skinny!

Joe Friel says, IIRC, stay seated if you weigh over 2.5# per inch of height (I am 6'2", 74", sit if I weigh over 185#). He says the best climbers weigh 2#/inch or less (148# for me).

FWIW, even though I weigh 226# (currently, going down with no carbs 6 days per week), I ride a lot - 100-150 miles per week. I find standing really does take extra effort. I still do it sometimes for the usual reasons, but almost never more than 30 seconds (about 30 pedal strokes).
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Old 05-01-12, 10:25 PM   #16
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Many great replies - thanks everyone! I've been mixing it up and liking the results...
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Old 05-01-12, 11:06 PM   #17
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I found it easier to climb standing if I think about keeping my knee close to the top tube when it's rocked to that side. Easier to show than to say, but it's obvious when you try it.
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Old 05-03-12, 12:17 AM   #18
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I found it easier to climb standing if I think about keeping my knee close to the top tube when it's rocked to that side. Easier to show than to say, but it's obvious when you try it.

I know what you are trying to say, and I do the same when standing. In fact, my recently aquired single speed road bike has the zip ties on the top tube to hold the rear brake cable, and I always scratch my leg on the end of one of them. So much so that I finally had to turn the ends to under the tube to save the inside of my knees
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Old 05-03-12, 04:58 AM   #19
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I stand on short, shallow climbs when I'm trying to maintain speed, and sit on long, steep climbs at a higher cadence to save my legs and knees.

On medium climbs (< 1mi), I'll go into them in a hard, standing sprint to build some inertia to help carry me up partially, then downshift as I start meeting resistance and sit the rest of the way.

I'd love to know the technique for being able to effectively rest while standing on a climb as mentioned by fstshrk and chasm54.

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Old 05-03-12, 12:26 PM   #20
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Watch your speed on your computer. Most people accelerate when they get up. To rest, you'll need to slow down a little. You'll still need a bigger gear than you used sitting. The real trick is the pedal stroke. It's tricky to develop an easy standing stroke that doesn't "stutter" as your foot goes over the top. It needs to be smooth to rest and it's much harder to pedal circles while standing, unless you're on a fixie of course.

OTOH, your sitting muscles still get a rest even if you accelerate and your HR and watts go up, you just can't stay up for long, assuming that you're climbing at your sitting limit for that length of climb. That's what I usually do unless I'm leading a line up the hill, in which case I call it out and then try to keep the speed right on when I stand.
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