Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Fifty Plus (50+)
Reload this Page >

Best/Strongest Climbing Position

Fifty Plus (50+) Share the victories, challenges, successes and special concerns of bicyclists 50 and older. Especially useful for those entering or reentering bicycling.

Best/Strongest Climbing Position

Old 04-09-08, 12:51 PM
Senior Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 6,900
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Best/Strongest Climbing Position

This was in Road Bike Riders email thing and I thought since this topic comes up often it should be shared.

Find Your Strongest Climbing Position

Is it seated or standing? The best position is highly individual because it depends on muscle fiber type, body weight, fitness and training -- all combined with the length and steepness of the grade you're climbing.

Generally, heavier riders climb better seated because standing requires them to support their body weight. This exacts a larger energy penalty. Virtually all weight is carried by the legs, none by the seat.

You need to find which position is more efficient. Here's how:

Important: Warm up well, then ride each of the following tests with your most comfortable cadence and gear. Don't try to spin fast if that's not your style. Be yourself.

Test 1. On a hill that's representative of those you usually ride, pedal to the top standing all the way. Record your time, heart rate, perceived exertion and, if you have a power meter, your average wattage.

Recover for 10-15 minutes and repeat the climb, this time seated. Record your data.


Test 2. Several days later, climb the hill again. But reverse the order -- make the first ascent in the saddle and the second while standing. Take the same amount of recovery time between efforts. Record your data and compare.

Do this procedure again the following week. Then you should see a pattern. What you're looking for is the position that produces . . .

* a lower heart rate
* lower perceived exertion
* a faster time (or higher wattage)

That's the most efficient position for you.

Be careful with these results. It's a rare cyclist who always climbs better either seated or standing. Most riders will be faster and more comfortable when they alternate being in and out of the saddle on the same climb.

It takes quite a bit of climbing experience to determine the best mix. What you want to know is which position you should use for max performance when you need it.
oilman_15106 is offline  
Old 04-09-08, 01:02 PM
John E
feros ferio
John E's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: www.ci.encinitas.ca.us
Posts: 19,339

Bikes: 1959 & 1960 Capo; 1982 Bianchi; 1988 Schwinn KOM-10;

Mentioned: 29 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 680 Post(s)
Liked 7 Times in 7 Posts
I like alternating positions, but I do find "dancing on the pedals" to be easier on my knees than remaining seated, particularly with my current plica inflammation.
"Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing." --Theodore Roosevelt
Capo: 1959 Modell Campagnolo, S/N 40324
Capo: 1960 Sieger (2), S/N 42624, 42597
Peugeot: 1970 UO-8, S/N 0010468
Bianchi: 1982 Campione d'Italia, S/N 1.M9914
Schwinn: 1988 Project KOM-10, S/N F804069
John E is offline  
Old 04-09-08, 01:11 PM
Time for a change.
stapfam's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: 6 miles inland from the coast of Sussex, in the South East of England
Posts: 19,914

Bikes: Dale MT2000. Bianchi FS920 Kona Explosif. Giant TCR C. Boreas Ignis. Pinarello Fp Uno.

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Been climbing hills since 1990 and one thing I have learnt is that every rider is different. Strongest hill rider I know sits in the saddle and has a far lower cadence than I would ever dream of using. He is an oddball though. I stay seated as far as I can. For hills up to 12% or so- that will be all the way up. More than 12% and I get out of the saddle when the cadence drops below 70. Works for me.

BUT- When I climbed Ventoux- I stayed seated all the way. No section over 12% but it was a bit long. Only thing I did notice was that the cadence towards the top was a lot lower in places.
How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.

Spike Milligan
stapfam is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.