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Climbing. Stand or sit and spin?

Old 07-11-19, 02:48 PM
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Climbing. Stand or sit and spin?

I thought I'd ask this question of the heavier riders. Do you stand to climb or gear down and sit and spin. Sometimes I'm wanting to stand but can't quite seem to get the hang of it.

Thanks.
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Old 07-11-19, 04:04 PM
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I do both. I stand to give myself a little break from trying to grind/spin my way up the hill then sit back down after say 20-40 revolutions of the crank, repeating as needed until I'm at the top or the hill has kicked my a$$
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Old 07-11-19, 04:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Jac of Hearts View Post
I thought I'd ask this question of the heavier riders. Do you stand to climb or gear down and sit and spin. Sometimes I'm wanting to stand but can't quite seem to get the hang of it.

Thanks.
For sustained climbing, most of your time should usually be seated and using the best gear cadence combo. Standing is good for short periods on longer climbs to change up muscle group work or can be good when you hit an especially large jump or increase in a grade that is steep but short.

Note: It is in most cases harder physically for heavier riders to stand and climb for any distance like you see some of the lightweight or middleweight serious recreational riders or the pros. (Guys like Contador, Armstrong, Pantani could stand for the longest period. Just another example of how the elite pros are in a literal class by themselves.)

YMMV depending upon ability.
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Old 07-11-19, 05:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Jac of Hearts View Post
...Do you stand to climb or gear down and sit and spin...
Yes.

You can train yourself to stand for longer periods. Just like anything else in cycling.
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Old 07-11-19, 05:37 PM
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I prefer to stand and climb, but I've been doing it this way for over 40 years. The more you do it the better you get at it.
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Old 07-11-19, 06:00 PM
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At 61 kg, I'm not a "heavier rider", but I do ride up hills quite a lot.

I do most climbing in the saddle, standing only occasionally for 16-24 pedal strokes (mostly to give my butt a rest). I click up two gears when standing, to reduce the cadence.

Standing is less aerobically efficient, and it does tire out your legs more, so I use it sparingly.
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Old 07-11-19, 06:02 PM
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A useful session in spin class is try to stand for 50% of the class. You will be a standing hill climbing monster in no time.
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Old 07-11-19, 06:57 PM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse View Post
I do most climbing in the saddle, standing only occasionally for 16-24 pedal strokes (mostly to give my butt a rest). I click up two gears when standing, to reduce the cadence.

Standing is less aerobically efficient, and it does tire out your legs more, so I use it sparingly.
^^^^This, exactly. Your lungs get a quick break, but your legs start screaming. Really need to watch your cadence and power. I learned the hard way before i got a power meter. I was shocked at how i thought it was “easier to ride standing up” and then was floored over how many watts i was putting down.
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Old 07-11-19, 07:16 PM
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Originally Posted by BengalCat View Post
For sustained climbing, most of your time should usually be seated and using the best gear cadence combo. Standing is good for short periods on longer climbs to change up muscle group work or can be good when you hit an especially large jump or increase in a grade that is steep but short.

Note: It is in most cases harder physically for heavier riders to stand and climb for any distance like you see some of the lightweight or middleweight serious recreational riders or the pros. (Guys like Contador, Armstrong, Pantani could stand for the longest period. Just another example of how the elite pros are in a literal class by themselves.)

YMMV depending upon ability.
Alberto Contador won the Tour at 136 pounds. Pantani was almost half a clydestale at 126. Armstrong was a more normal 165, but sat more than those guys and had the best doping program on the planet.

With low weight you're not wasting much energy when it moves around climbing out of the saddle.

https://www.joefrielsblog.com/2010/0...-or-stand.html

Body mass. The lower your body mass the more advantageous it is to stand on a climb. The greater your mass the better off you’ll be staying seated. One quick and simple way to come up with your body mass is to divide your weight in pounds (1kg = 2.2lbs) by your height in inches (1cm = 0.4in). So if you weigh 154 pounds (70kg) and you are 72 inches (180cm) tall your “mass” is 2.13 (154 / 72 = 2.13). I’ve found that for males the best climbers are at less than 2.0. These folks should stand a lot (think of Marco Pantani). Men in the range of 2.0 to 2.3 tend to alternate between standing and sitting a lot (for example, Lance Armstrong). Those men at 2.3 to 2.5 are best advised to sit a lot (like Miguel Indurain). Folks over 2.5 usually avoid hills. Women should use a scale which is about 0.2 lbs/in less (for example, under 1.8 are climbers).
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Old 07-11-19, 07:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Drew Eckhardt View Post
Alberto Contador won the Tour at 136 pounds. Pantani was almost half a clydestale at 126. Armstrong was a more normal 165, but sat more than those guys and had the best doping program on the planet.

... snip ...


OMG. That is sick sick sick. Hilarious, but sick.

Keep up the good work my man, keep up the good work!
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Old 07-11-19, 09:25 PM
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I heard of an AIS study on this and seated was the most efficient. BUT seated means nice relaxed upper body, eliminate the tension, especially in the shoulders, and hands resting lightly on the tops of the bars, not even really gripping them. All this to save critical small amounts of energy to put into the climbing.
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Old 07-11-19, 10:25 PM
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I've always stood but this year I've been sitting. Sitting seems way harder for me. Maybe I'm not gearing low enough.
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Old 07-11-19, 10:31 PM
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It really depends on how strong and painfree I feel. When I was younger I stood for most of the hills until I couldn't stand anymore, then I sat and spun. Now I gear down and spin.
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Old 07-11-19, 10:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Drew Eckhardt View Post
<snip>I’ve found that for males the best climbers are at less than 2.0. These folks should stand a lot (think of Marco Pantani). Men in the range of 2.0 to 2.3 tend to alternate between standing and sitting a lot (for example, Lance Armstrong). Those men at 2.3 to 2.5 are best advised to sit a lot (like Miguel Indurain). Folks over 2.5 usually avoid hills. Women should use a scale which is about 0.2 lbs/in less (for example, under 1.8 are climbers)<snip>
As a guy sitting over here at (checks calculator) 2.86 on this particular day, this is actually kinda uplifting. Because now I have a bonafide excuse for those days I deliberately set out to ascend less than 1,000ft in a day.

In response to the OP's query, mostly sitting, as one would imagine from a 2.86. But I can stand for periods of several minutes without too much difficulty. Going up the hill is hard. Standing up doesn't make it appreciably more difficult.
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Old 07-15-19, 12:36 PM
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
As a guy sitting over here at (checks calculator) 2.86 on this particular day, this is actually kinda uplifting. Because now I have a bonafide excuse for those days I deliberately set out to ascend less than 1,000ft in a day.

In response to the OP's query, mostly sitting, as one would imagine from a 2.86. But I can stand for periods of several minutes without too much difficulty. Going up the hill is hard. Standing up doesn't make it appreciably more difficult.
Yeah, so basically he seems to be saying Clydes should avoid hills. Pretty hard to do most places . . .

On the question, I mostly sit unless I can't handle the torque. I've noticed I go much faster when seated, however.
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Old 07-15-19, 05:30 PM
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Originally Posted by drewguy View Post
Yeah, so basically he seems to be saying Clydes should avoid hills. Pretty hard to do most places . . .

On the question, I mostly sit unless I can't handle the torque. I've noticed I go much faster when seated, however.
Dang why would you avoid hills, that's what make riding so much fun. Pain is Delicious.
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Old 07-15-19, 06:14 PM
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I am just under 200lb and have a routine of anticipatory gearing up and down to take the hills without standing. I only stand when starting in line with cars. Usually catches the one behind me off guard....
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Old 07-16-19, 02:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Drew Eckhardt View Post
Armstrong was a more normal 165, but sat more than those guys and had the best doping program on the planet.
Weeeellll...I have to take issue with that. He didn't have the KGB breaking in to steal his tainted blood samples and replace them with clean ones like the Russians were doing at the Sochi Olympics. Now THAT's how you do doping right .
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Old 07-17-19, 07:55 AM
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I never stand when climbing on my touring bike. I alternate on "road" riding climbs.

Funny aside...During my recent tour in MT and ID I was climbing Thompson Pass from ID back into MT. It's roughly 9.2 miles from where I started it. The first several miles are gentle, then it gets steep. The final 5 miles average 7.1%. The final two miles average 7.7%, and the ruling grade is over 11%. I hit the steep section and am having a devil of a time. Barely moving, and all lover the road. After a couple of miles I have a face palm moment. I couldn't remember shifting into my smallest chainring. Looked down and, sure enough, I was still in the middle ring I had been cruising long in during the gentle section.
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Old 07-17-19, 08:14 AM
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Originally Posted by BengalCat View Post
For sustained climbing, most of your time should usually be seated and using the best gear cadence combo. Standing is good for short periods on longer climbs to change up muscle group work or can be good when you hit an especially large jump or increase in a grade that is steep but short.
I agree.

Originally Posted by BengalCat View Post
Note: It is in most cases harder physically for heavier riders to stand and climb for any distance like you see some of the lightweight or middleweight serious recreational riders or the pros. (Guys like Contador, Armstrong, Pantani could stand for the longest period. Just another example of how the elite pros are in a literal class by themselves.)
I disagree. Whether you stand and climb or sit and climb has little to do with weight. It has far more to do with the people doing it. The elite pros do this for a living and ride miles more than even a "serious" recreational rider. They do it because it's what wins and when they win, they get paid.

Originally Posted by BengalCat View Post
YMMV depending upon ability.
Yup.

Originally Posted by ZIPP2001 View Post
I prefer to stand and climb, but I've been doing it this way for over 40 years. The more you do it the better you get at it.
Yup.
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Old 07-17-19, 08:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Drew Eckhardt View Post
https://www.joefrielsblog.com/2010/0...-or-stand.html

Body mass. The lower your body mass the more advantageous it is to stand on a climb. The greater your mass the better off you’ll be staying seated. One quick and simple way to come up with your body mass is to divide your weight in pounds (1kg = 2.2lbs) by your height in inches (1cm = 0.4in). So if you weigh 154 pounds (70kg) and you are 72 inches (180cm) tall your “mass” is 2.13 (154 / 72 = 2.13). I’ve found that for males the best climbers are at less than 2.0. These folks should stand a lot (think of Marco Pantani). Men in the range of 2.0 to 2.3 tend to alternate between standing and sitting a lot (for example, Lance Armstrong). Those men at 2.3 to 2.5 are best advised to sit a lot (like Miguel Indurain). Folks over 2.5 usually avoid hills. Women should use a scale which is about 0.2 lbs/in less (for example, under 1.8 are climbers).
What a load of codswallop! I'm far north of 2.5 and I don't "avoid hills". I load bikes with stuff (pushing me even further from "2.5") and go ride lots of hills....sometimes to the tune of over 64,000 feet of climbing in 1100 miles (53 feet of climbing per mile on average) and 4 weeks. Other times, I've strapped a bit less of a load to the bike and done 14,000 feet of climbing over 160 miles (87 feet/mile on average) but done it on dirt. I've even done 5500 feet of climbing over 33 miles which is 170 feet/mile on average but that ride had almost no downhills. And that was done from 5000 feet to 10,000 feet.

Just last week I did the Dirt Morgul near Boulder...on a mountain bike where sitting isn't usually an option...which is 14 miles with 880 feet of climbing and descending. On average, that's 62 feet/mile but only half of it is uphill so it works out to 120 feet/mile of climbing. I wasn't the fastest person out there but I wasn't the slowest, either. And most people weren't doing the whole loop.

Don't tell me that fat people can't climb! I hate that word but will proudly use it when some skinny person tells me I can't climb a damned hill! Climbing...seated or standing...is about attitude and ability but it isn't about "weight". I may not climb as fast of some but I can still climb....Damnit!
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Old 07-17-19, 08:40 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
I never stand when climbing on my touring bike. I alternate on "road" riding climbs.
Pssst! Hey, buddy. It's your bike. That wimpy steel frame flexes too much. Get an aluminum one.

Just sayin'
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Old 07-17-19, 11:19 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
What a load of codswallop! I'm far north of 2.5 and I don't "avoid hills". I load bikes with stuff (pushing me even further from "2.5") and go ride lots of hills....sometimes to the tune of over 64,000 feet of climbing in 1100 miles (53 feet of climbing per mile on average) and 4 weeks. Other times, I've strapped a bit less of a load to the bike and done 14,000 feet of climbing over 160 miles (87 feet/mile on average) but done it on dirt. I've even done 5500 feet of climbing over 33 miles which is 170 feet/mile on average but that ride had almost no downhills. And that was done from 5000 feet to 10,000 feet.

Just last week I did the Dirt Morgul near Boulder...on a mountain bike where sitting isn't usually an option...which is 14 miles with 880 feet of climbing and descending. On average, that's 62 feet/mile but only half of it is uphill so it works out to 120 feet/mile of climbing. I wasn't the fastest person out there but I wasn't the slowest, either. And most people weren't doing the whole loop.

Don't tell me that fat people can't climb! I hate that word but will proudly use it when some skinny person tells me I can't climb a damned hill! Climbing...seated or standing...is about attitude and ability but it isn't about "weight". I may not climb as fast of some but I can still climb....Damnit!
Well said. Yeah, I don't avoid hills at all, and I'm something like 4.8 on his calculations...shrinking, largely due to the bike riding, but well over 2.5 and if I avoided hills I couldn't ride near my house.
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Old 07-17-19, 01:34 PM
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I won’t share my number in that ratio supplied above. That said I ride hills. Not fast but I ride them.
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Old 07-18-19, 09:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Jac of Hearts View Post
I thought I'd ask this question of the heavier riders. Do you stand to climb or gear down and sit and spin. Sometimes I'm wanting to stand but can't quite seem to get the hang of it.

Thanks.
To show that I'm not just an angry old fart on the Intertubzs, I'll contribute something helpful. Climbing out of the saddle is more then just standing up and pushing down on the pedals. If you watch someone on YouTube standing during a climb, you'll see that they push the bike from side-to-side. There's a reason for doing that and a technique to making it work. First, let's look at how you ride while in the saddle. The rider is generally steady. It's kind of that duck thing where the part above the bike is still and sedate while the part below the bike is furiously spinning. You are pushing down on the pedals with the weight of your body but that's all you are pushing down with. You will move along faster and more efficiently when the bike is moving in a straight line.

But when you stand and pedal, the dynamic changes. You still want to maintain a straight line as the bike moves down the road but you are pushing down on the pedals harder than if you are seated. What some people miss is what your arms are doing. They aren't just along for the ride. You should be pulling on the bars to give your downward push a bit more oomph. But which arm pulls where?

Start with (for example) your left foot at the top of the pedal stroke. The bike should lean towards that side. The amount of lean is pretty small...probably less than 10°. As you push down with your foot, pull up with the left hand and push down with the right. This puts a bit more power to the pedal because you are pushing down on it with your body weight plus just a little bit more from your arms. It will also put the bike in the proper lean when your left foot hits the bottom of the stroke. The bike should rock back and forth gently without the bike wandering all over the road. You want to move in a straight line but also allow the bike to sway back and forth in a rather natural manner above the contact patch.

You may also want to shift up a gear because you want your cadence to drop a bit. Be careful with the upshift, however. Most people use this for climbing and as the hill goes on for longer, you will naturally slow. If you are in too high a gear, it will make the climb harder than it should be and you'll slow too much. This could mean that you have to downshift. While you can downshift while standing, it takes a lot of finesse to do it properly. Usually, you just have to sit down, shift and (maybe) stand back up. But that loses a lot of momentum and it become a vicious cycle.

Hope this helps. If all us Clydes get good enough at out of the saddle climbing, perhaps we can thumb our collective noses at people who say we can't climb
__________________
Stuart Black
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