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Out of the saddle for extended periods

Old 06-04-20, 12:13 PM
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mattscq
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Out of the saddle for extended periods

Hey all,

This is a thing I've noticed only when I began to do intervals on my trainer but sometimes it prompts me to get off the saddle and ride standing. This is never really an issue for short bursts but I find myself tiring out really quickly after about 20-30 seconds (sometimes the intervals says to hold it for minutes). Part of it may be because of erg mode and I'll find either my cadence start to creep up or I'll try to maintain the low cadence it is suggesting but my legs get super tired trying to slow down.

I've found that if I grab the drops and my body is more forward/lower, it's less tiring and I suspect that it's a mix of my legs not only having to keep up the power but also my own body weight. I'm wondering if it's a technique thing and what I may be doing wrong or should look out for when I'm trying to do a slower more sustained out of saddle effort.

Thanks
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Old 06-04-20, 12:56 PM
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Extended efforts out of the saddle can be quite tiring because your upper body has the counteract the force of your pedal mashing. Intervals are the appropriate way to build strength in short bursts. If you canít sustain minutes, donít do minutes. Start with 1 minute on and one minute off four or five times. You want to do a hard effort but not your max effort. You will slowly start to build fitness for these short bursts.
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Old 06-04-20, 01:12 PM
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More muscles are involved, so takes practice.

Generally shift up 1 or 2 gears to get lower cadence & more resistance.

I do 10+ minute climbs, occasionally 20 minutes, and sets of 3 minutes on spin bike
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Old 06-04-20, 01:37 PM
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I routinely do 2-3 minutes while climbing. Focusing on standing, I've done 20-25 minutes a couple of times. My legs are usually fine, my spindly stick arms are what go out first.
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Old 06-04-20, 03:28 PM
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Size/weight has a factor also. Lighter riders tend to climb out of the saddle more/longer than heavier riders.
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Old 06-04-20, 03:44 PM
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My arms never bothered me standing to climb.
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Old 06-04-20, 03:45 PM
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I stand up when climbing quite often. I have a friend who weighs as much as I do but canít stand up for more than a few seconds - but he comes close to me in terms of seated power.

I think the difference is that I have extensive weightlifting experience. The stronger your legs are, the easier it becomes to put down high torque for extended periods of time, without feeling the ďburnĒ.

If you really want to be able to comfortably stand up on the bike for extended periods, Iíd recommend doing some low volume, high weight lifting (once the virus blows over). You can also look into calisthenic equivalents. One legged squats seem like they hurt.

As for the arms thing, I always make sure to keep my butt back and put as much weight on my feet as possible. I can do close to 600W out of the saddle while holding the bars with 2 fingers. Itís a technique thing - albeit one thatís much harder to do when fatigued.
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Old 06-04-20, 04:00 PM
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Originally Posted by woodcraft View Post
More muscles are involved, so takes practice.

Generally shift up 1 or 2 gears to get lower cadence & more resistance.

I do 10+ minute climbs, occasionally 20 minutes, and sets of 3 minutes on spin bike
I agree to shift up and slow down, to help work your way into longer times out of the saddle.
Then once you get stronger, speed up the cadence and you can even start throwing in little ten second sprints every minute or two.
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Old 06-04-20, 04:11 PM
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Climb like Marco

Important to have a strong core and not let it drop as you pedal, this uses a ton of energy. Keep you upper body still and let your legs do the work. Watch some videos of Marco Pantani, who I think is one of the best climbers ever and stands a lot, and his form.

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Old 06-04-20, 04:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
My arms never bothered me standing to climb.
I generally don't notice my arns even on tough big gear climbs but after the climb pictured in my logo (2 miles hitting 14+% done in a 42-17), I touched my forearm with the bar of soap in the shower and it hurt!

Ben
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Old 06-04-20, 04:22 PM
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It's really hard on a trainer, easier outdoors because you have the bike's momentum to carry you through the pedal stroke. I do one-legged pedaling on my resistance rollers because it's hard, while it's quite easy outdoors for the same reason. There's a 500' hill around here we often climb. I used to climb it once a summer entirely standing, just to see. I can't do that anymore, but I have this incredibly nasty saddle sore, which started as a impacted hair follicle, finally diagnosed after about 3 years of putting up with it. Medical treatment has morphed it into two skin ulcers which is way worse. Anyway, I've been trying to do exercise which does not involve cycling. But today, I'm going to start just riding out of the saddle. I'm supposed to do 2 X 8' SS intervals. Hmmm. I saw this thread and thought I'd just post. It's practice what does it. Anytime you feel like it or not, like every 10', just stand and stay up until your pedal stroke goes to the devil. Keep doing that, and you'll figure it out while your legs get stronger. It's just training, nothing complicated really. A zillion articles have been written about just how to do it, but nothing beats just doing it. There are several postures employed, depending on the circumstances and speed. Try them all, good to be good with them all. All the above advice is good. I'm going out to practice.
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Old 06-04-20, 04:34 PM
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I don't know the exact reasons why, but every stationary bike I've ever used requires more work to pedal out of the saddle than any of my actual bikes. It's just more work. I always attributed it to not fitting the trainer as well as the bike. Normally I get out of the saddle for extended periods only on steep climbs and the grade has the bike at a different angle which makes it more comfortable. I think it's really important to long out-of-saddle efforts to have so you're CG stays balanced over the pedals and your upper torso is is in a comfortable position without having to hold tension to keep balanced. I've never found this on any trainer I've used - part of the reason I don't like trainers.

- Mark
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Old 06-04-20, 09:55 PM
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Originally Posted by billridesbikes View Post
Important to have a strong core and not let it drop as you pedal, this uses a ton of energy. Keep you upper body still and let your legs do the work. Watch some videos of Marco Pantani, who I think is one of the best climbers ever and stands a lot, and his form.

https://youtu.be/3Hf3KOgFhwU
That is a great video, thanks for posting. I did go out and try some OOS work as I mentioned I would do earlier. Some comments on the video:

When he stands, notice how his torso always points straight up the road, aligned with his bike. Notice how many of the other riders lead with their shoulders, twisting at their hips as they rock the bike. Pantani doesn't do that. Notice also how little bobbing he does, how little upper body motion. He's almost still. Notice that when he sits, he drops his heel during the downstroke, his foot almost flat at the bottom of the stroke. He does that to relax his calf and let his big leg muscles do the work. But then see how when he stands, he points his toe down the whole time. not allowing his foot to flex and lose some of the power in his downstroke. That also might reduce the range of motion for his legs.

I had a sunny afternoon (!) for my ride, and with the sun height, had a really good shadow so I would watch my torso as see if I was doing what Pantani did. Yes. I guess I've always done that naturally. I was careful to point my toes. That was new and very helpful. That somehow made it easier for my knee to drag my foot over the top and keep tension on the chain. Pantani was basically running in place on his toes. I noticed that the location of the pedal spindle w/r to the ball of my foot was critical.

I stood some in the drops and some on the hoods. I experimented with weight distribution. My favorite position is almost as far back as I can go, my hams almost brushing the saddle nose. That takes almost all the weight off my hands. In fact, going hard, I found it best to exert a very, very slight upward pressure on the bar on the side of the downstroke pedal. That's how light my hands were, lighter than they are in the saddle. The reason for that is that we ride standing at a lower cadence than sitting and only apply force on the downstroke, which force is more powerful because of the lower cadence. That provides a powerful up-force which lightens our hands.Of course I don't stand at anything like Pantani's cadence. On this ride, my seated cadence was in the high 80s and my standing was always about 60. Maybe that gets better with practice, maybe not.

I mentioned in my earlier post that today's workout was supposed to include 2 X 8" of sweet spot. I tried that standing and it just wasn't fun, so I picked a couple stretches of flat road and just did it by feel, ignoring the PM. I got 5' of 110% FTP and 4' of 115% FTP, plus a lot of other standing, trying to stay off my saddle sores, maybe 20' out of the hour. The interesting thing to me is that we've mostly been riding our tandem outdoors this year and only stand for a few seconds at a time. However besides cycling, I've also been doing the "Couch to 5k" walk/run program for a few weeks and I think that running got my legs ready for standing on the bike. Recommended.

No Strava PRs but a few just for this year and a few segments in the top 5%. Standing is fun! I rather shocked myself. I'll try to do more of it when I can get outside on my single.
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Old 06-04-20, 11:26 PM
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Hmmm,

I'll pay more attention to what my hips are doing next time. I've never really noticed much fatigue out of the saddle when on the road but I've also never forced myself to stay up for too long on the road. I think part of it is being made to ride standing and having erg mode on. Usually the resistance is lower than I would do when standing so it feels like I'd spin out if I didn't control my cadence (which I think some of my fatigue comes from slowing down). From memory, I do feel like a lot of the strain is just keeping myself up while trying to maintain a certain cadence.
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Old 06-04-20, 11:49 PM
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One trick is to shift up two gears as you stand. Standing and spinning doesn't mix well and you get super tired in no time at all.
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Old 06-05-20, 12:17 AM
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I watched the Pantani video also. Yes, great climber. I am also a natural out of the saddle, but I was never gifted with either the engine or his compact frame. I love climbing in the drops and will do it for long periods if I'm in a headwind. Unlike him, I cannot generate that headwind uphill! My true love is on steeper stuff doing the dance at lower RPM and rocking the bike so my whole body is moving - except my head and eyes which stay aimed straight up the road. It doesn't look like Pantani and I go far slower, but it is efficient and I can do it all day. (Well not now but when I am in form.)

My advice? Copy the racers who do what you could do, Me trying to copy Pantani would not have helped my racing; much as I would love to be able to do that.

Oh, edit: to the original post - standing on the trainer - for many of us, the rocking of the bike is a huge part of a natural standing climb. The trainer prevents that. It is a huge part of the "dance" that I can do so efficiently.

Ben

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Old 06-05-20, 11:04 AM
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It has its place but these days if you can spin, spin to win.

If a grade is steep enough and it's your only comfortable option, sure. Or you're accelerating an attack.

So, I'll say that implementing some regular running into my diet has made out of saddle at or below threshold about as ho hum as spinning. Especially doing some hill sprints while running being sure to drive through each stride.

Came in handy first time up the Alpe on Zwift in a 39t ring at 100% difficulty. Yikes.
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Old 06-05-20, 11:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Racing Dan View Post
One trick is to shift up two gears as you stand. Standing and spinning doesn't mix well and you get super tired in no time at all.
2 gears? On the flat, I was in my 53-11. On a climb, I usually shift a chainring, I do better up at lower cadences.
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Old 06-05-20, 11:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
2 gears? On the flat, I was in my 53-11. On a climb, I usually shift a chainring, I do better up at lower cadences.

So like... just cruising along on the flats at 34mph or so? I wish I could put down +750W in "cruising mode."
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Old 06-05-20, 12:27 PM
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
So like... just cruising along on the flats at 34mph or so? I wish I could put down +750W in "cruising mode."
Cruising mode? Who you think you're talking to? Heck that was a 110% interval! I misremembered - different bike - it was 53 X 12. A little over 20 mph, 60 cadence, 176 average watts for 5'. So says TrainingPeaks.

For a little BF humor - Strava says I was 14" slower than I was in 2017 with a strong tailwind, so not too bad, no wind yesterday. 3rd place cup for my age group, our tandem team being in second place for this segment. In a week, our tandem team will be in first place in our new age group and I'll be in second. There are other segments on this route where we'll have first and second AG in a week. Perspective . . .
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Old 06-05-20, 12:35 PM
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Cadence of 60!?! Seated?! My knees can feel that from here.
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Old 06-05-20, 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
Cadence of 60!?! Seated?! My knees can feel that from here.
I think this thread is about standing.
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Old 06-05-20, 01:01 PM
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I was thrown by the wattage output. At least over shorter periods, output is usually (IME) significantly higher standing compared to seated.

Beyond that, 20mph standing @ 176W would be impossible for me. 20mph seated in an aero position takes a good 10 more watts. Aerodynamically, standing is terribly inefficient.
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Old 06-05-20, 04:13 PM
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
I was thrown by the wattage output. At least over shorter periods, output is usually (IME) significantly higher standing compared to seated.

Beyond that, 20mph standing @ 176W would be impossible for me. 20mph seated in an aero position takes a good 10 more watts. Aerodynamically, standing is terribly inefficient.
Standing's not all that bad if your back is horizontal. There are more legs and arms in the wind. "Standing" is maybe not the right term - OOS is better. I have a race bike, old but is, and I can't pedal on it at all sitting with my back horizontal. My chin would be on the stem. Short person on 700 wheels is the issue. That's an interesting observation, though. Next time I'm out on this route, I'll try it sitting at 20, see what the PM says. When I did that PR on this flat segment 3 years ago, before I had a PM, Strava said my estimated watts was 175, recalling the recent tire test thread with the estimated watts.
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Old 06-05-20, 06:44 PM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
I generally don't notice my arns even on tough big gear climbs but after the climb pictured in my logo (2 miles hitting 14+% done in a 42-17), I touched my forearm with the bar of soap in the shower and it hurt!

Ben
Even thinking about that makes me want to cry. Sounds fun!
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