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Climbing out of the saddle detrimental?

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Climbing out of the saddle detrimental?

Old 02-27-08, 08:29 PM
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Climbing out of the saddle detrimental?

I tend to climb out of the saddle a good amount because a) my sora shifters suck and b) I used to run a lot before biking so it just seems natural to me. It seems to work totally different muscles and possibly slow me down a bit so I was wondering if it's actually a bad thing to do training-wise or if maybe it's somehow good. Any input? Thanks.
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Old 02-27-08, 08:36 PM
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Low cadence is what kills knees, not climbing out of the saddle, per se.

Assuming you either have knees that are in much better condition than mine (which I can assure you with almost 100% certainty), you're basically just choosing whether to work your muscular system more (low cadence) or develop your aerobic system more (high cadence).
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Old 02-27-08, 08:39 PM
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I am not sure what Sora shifters have to do with it.
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Old 02-27-08, 08:41 PM
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Originally Posted by barba
I am not sure what Sora shifters have to do with it.
It's the standard answer to everything that's wrong with the world, or might be wrong.

"Sora shifters suck."
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Old 02-27-08, 08:42 PM
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I learned to sit and spin on my mtb but on longer road climbs I switch back and forth.
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Old 02-27-08, 08:53 PM
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This helped me:

https://www.pezcyclingnews.com/?pg=fullstory&id=4512

I tend to mix it up to res muscles. I prefer sitting but I am weak and run out of gears so need to stand. I am working on it.
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Old 02-27-08, 08:55 PM
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Rule of thumb (meaning it's a myth but I still believe it) is to do long climbs 1/3 in saddle, 2/3 out of saddle, for those that prefer to climb out of saddle.

Hinault among others point out that early on racers climb a lot out of the saddle. As they get heavier and more powerful, they climb in the saddle more.

80 pounds ago I climbed out of the saddle all the time. Now I climb out of the saddle only when I'm about to topple over if I stay seated.

Another rule of thumb is if you stand up, you can either shift up one gear (i.e. one shift into a smaller cog). Or, if you're seated and you feel like you need to shift into one gear lower, you can stand up instead. In other words, standing is equal to shifting down one gear, and sitting is like shifting up one gear, effort wise.

If you are comfy climbing out of the saddle, by all means do it. Do some in the saddle too so you get an idea of each method, esp with the gearing bit. One day you may choose to sit in your lowest gear so you have another gear ("standing") as a reserve rather than standing right away.

hope this helps,
cdr
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Old 02-27-08, 08:58 PM
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Originally Posted by carpediemracing
Hinault among others point out that early on racers climb a lot out of the saddle. As they get heavier and more powerful, they climb in the saddle more.
Mr. Armstrong might have something to say about that

-murray
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Old 02-27-08, 09:11 PM
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Originally Posted by carpediemracing
Rule of thumb (meaning it's a myth but I still believe it) is to do long climbs 1/3 in saddle, 2/3 out of saddle, for those that prefer to climb out of saddle.

Hinault among others point out that early on racers climb a lot out of the saddle. As they get heavier and more powerful, they climb in the saddle more.

80 pounds ago I climbed out of the saddle all the time. Now I climb out of the saddle only when I'm about to topple over if I stay seated.

Another rule of thumb is if you stand up, you can either shift up one gear (i.e. one shift into a smaller cog). Or, if you're seated and you feel like you need to shift into one gear lower, you can stand up instead. In other words, standing is equal to shifting down one gear, and sitting is like shifting up one gear, effort wise.

If you are comfy climbing out of the saddle, by all means do it. Do some in the saddle too so you get an idea of each method, esp with the gearing bit. One day you may choose to sit in your lowest gear so you have another gear ("standing") as a reserve rather than standing right away.

hope this helps,
cdr
Thanks for the input
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Old 02-27-08, 09:14 PM
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"They" say (whoever they are), actually I think I read it in an Ed Pavelka book, that climbing in the saddle is more efficient as far as distance per calories burned. That being said, I prefer climbing out of the saddle. It really is a matter of preference, and which muscle groups you tend to rely on...I try to mix it up.
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Old 02-27-08, 09:31 PM
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I stand as much as I sit when climbing. The ratio depends on my fatigue, the slope, and the speed of the wheel I am trying to follow. (I always seem to get stuck trying to follow some mountain goat that weighs 30 lbs less than me.)

CDR is absolutely correct that standing up is worth one gear shift. When I stand, I shift up. If I am seated and need to shift down, I usually take the opportunity to stand, and down shift when I sit down again. The alternating standing and sitting creates a good rhythm if you are climbing long hills.
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Old 02-27-08, 09:46 PM
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Standing will increase your heart rate over sitting when riding at the same speed. It's because you are using more muscles. OTOH, you can put out more power when standing.

On long climbs I stand every once in a while to change the muscles that I am using. I'll stand to maintain speed when the road gets momentarily steeper, like on a switchback. I usually stand when I want to attack another rider or chase an attack. The faster the ride, the more standing I do. The longer the ride, the less I stand.
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Old 02-27-08, 09:51 PM
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Climbing out of the saddle is supposed to produce more power and be much harder on the bike. Otherwise, it seems like it's a good skill to have from a racers point of view: I don't watch much cycle racing but every clip I see has someone riding out of the saddle.

It's also inefficient.

For a while I climbed out of the saddle too much (IMO). So I'm working on getting better at climbing in the saddle. But there are some hills (parts of hills really) that I have to leave the saddle for. And sometimes it feels good to get out of the saddle on a hill.
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Old 02-27-08, 09:57 PM
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It's interesting to see all of the different approaches to what I thought might be a short thread. I set little goals for a long climb - I try never to go less than 10 mph. When I get close, I stand, when I get tired I sit. When there are hot chicks in the vicinity, substitute 15 for 10 When I get tired at 15 mph and I'm out of sight, I find a bush behind which to pass out
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Old 02-27-08, 10:01 PM
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Lots of miles on the bike will help you determine under which conditions to stand, sit, or a variation of the two.

On a strictly pragmatic note, if you're in a paceline be sure to warn the rider behind you when you're about to stand. Even with a gear shift, the sudden change may result in wheels touching. Just say, "standing" and after a pedal stroke or two, smoothly rise. Do NOT lean too far forward because you will risk jerking the bike backwards with each pedal stroke (which, again, increases the risk of touching wheels).

And if you happen to be on the wheel of someone who likes to stand - yet does not give such warnings - be sure to distance yourself accordingly.

In races or competitive rides, no one expects you to give such warnings (especially when everyone is in the red). But if you are able, little acts that show class may win you some friends who will be more likely to work with you if/when you need their help. And, of course, there's no need to give such warnings when attacking or responding to an attack.

Last edited by LifeIsSuffering; 02-27-08 at 10:10 PM.
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Old 02-27-08, 10:25 PM
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Good point on the standing.

On the pushing the bike back when a rider stands bit. Someone told me a long time ago that if you see someone stand, stand. That way you won't get a bike shoved into your front wheel. This goes for mainly large groups, i.e. group rides or races.

At the same time, I was also taught to stand gradually so that the bike doesn't shoot back. I feel comfortable standing like that in the middle of a crowded field. The technique is not natural and costs energy. But if I want to stretch my legs in good conscience, I spend that extra energy.

On Lance, I think he attacks while standing but he seems to sit and spin when he's doing a sustained effort. For example, in the Tour (04?) where Ullrich puts him on the ropes in the first TT and then takes a few seconds away from him on some mountain stage, Lance is seated and spinning. He stands to try and respond initially but has to back off and sits down and limits his damage.

I haven't seen the earlier tapes (or TV of those earlier Tours) so I have a very limited view of his climbing, but I think he climbs sitting a lot.

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Old 02-27-08, 10:42 PM
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One point that hasn't been brought up yet is that larger riders will find that they can use thier weight to thier advantage while standing. On longer rides, it's also a great way to stretch and get some blood flowing into the crotchular area.

I ride fixed a lot, and it's very hilly around here, so I tend to stand a lot on steep hills... It's the only way to shift down on a fixed gear!

But it's good to be able to stand or sit for long periods while climbing. It's better to have more than one way to do something. More versatility can only help.

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Old 02-27-08, 11:21 PM
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I stand for a few reasons. The first is to hold my momentum over a small rise. Standing and hammering over a short hill can make it easier to hold speed. The other reason to stand is to accelerate quickly, e.g. an attack. I will sometimes stand to mix things up a bit on long climbs and take my weight off the saddle, but I tend to stay mostly seated on long climbs. Standing tires me quickly, and I can put out a consistent amount of power over a longer period of time. I also just don't need to stand much to maintain a good pace on moderate slopes. Being a skinny, light climber type, I can often keep pace with bigger guys climbing out of the saddle while staying seated myself. In that situation, they're burning matches while you save energy. You can then use that energy to hitch your chamois out of the saddle and drop them.
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Old 02-27-08, 11:31 PM
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I ride out of the saddle more than most even on the flats (it gives my legs and glutes a rest) and if I feel like I'm slowing down a bit I'll stand and kick up the tempo a hair to maintain my speed on a false flat or speed up, especially when there is alot of yo-yoing going on in a big paceline or echelon.

I used to stand often when I'd climb but I'm much faster, stronger and efficient when I sit. I'll stand only when it gets quite steep or to give my legs a break and that's about it.
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Old 02-27-08, 11:31 PM
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FWIW:

For smaller, shorter hills I find that I'm frequntly gearing down as I head up to keep my cadence up and go easier on my legs. This generally serves to bleed precious momentum. My riding partner raises up and stands on most of these and really exposes my momentum loss. I find that shifting into a smaller cog out back and standing gets me up and over those smaller, shorter hills faster.

Jumping out of the saddle and applying full power is a short-term thing though, as neither of us can dance on the pedals for all that long on the really slow, steep stuff. For the long, slow and steep stuff I'm firmly planted on my saddle and spinning my way up.
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Old 02-27-08, 11:46 PM
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Watch video of Pantani, Armstrong and Simoni climb. They all do a good amount of both. And they have the three highest VAMs ever recorded, AFAIK.

VAM= Vertical rate of ascension, in meters per hour.

So no, climbing out of the saddle is not only NOT detrimental, but it is necessary. Eventually, whether you're responding to an attack or just struggling to get over a particularly steep grade, you're going to need to be able to stand and produce more power.
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Old 02-28-08, 12:37 AM
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Apparently, if you have a low BMI (weight/height ratio) then climbing out of the saddle actually has less of an impact on you since you don't spend as much energy sustaining your weight..
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Old 02-28-08, 02:13 AM
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On short climbs I do both. However on long climbs I must be doing one or the other. If I am out of the saddle at the begining generally this is the case at the very end. If in the saddle at the begining I usually stay in the saddle till the end. I tend to attack better in the saddle by simply streching out the pace. Out of the saddle I like to maintain the same pace because once I am in rythm out of the saddle i feel like I can climb forever as long as the pace stays within reason. But if there is a serious surg I usually let them go and I will increase pace very gradually to stay with in a reasonable distance or eventually catch the break. If it increases near the top I will stay with the surge.

I notice as I get more fit I stay in the saddle more. Usually later in the season. Out of the saddle at a good pace is something I enjoy. Specially when it happens for miles. Once in rythm I just don't feel much burn. But when spinning at high cadence in the saddle I don't like the way my lungs feel like the are about to dry up.

regardless I think that it is different for everyone. And what is comfortable for me might not be comfortable for you.

EDIT:

I notice towards the end of the season I usually when climbing spin at a very High cadence small ring (100-105) and climb out of the saddle at a very low cadence (65-70 / however - at the beginning of the season when I climb in the saddle is is usually big Ring and low cadence ( 75-80 rpm) and higher cadence out of the saddle (70-75) .

$3000 and 3 power meters and this is all I can think of that mattered. obviously put out more efficient wattage towards the end of the season. The difference could simply be weight.

Last edited by vic32amg; 02-28-08 at 02:24 AM.
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Old 02-28-08, 02:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Duke of Kent
Watch video of Pantani, Armstrong and Simoni climb. They all do a good amount of both. And they have the three highest VAMs ever recorded, AFAIK.

VAM= Vertical rate of ascension, in meters per hour.

So no, climbing out of the saddle is not only NOT detrimental, but it is necessary. Eventually, whether you're responding to an attack or just struggling to get over a particularly steep grade, you're going to need to be able to stand and produce more power.
All this proves is a correlation between cocain and VAM
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Old 02-28-08, 06:25 AM
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I was doing this weekly group ride with a bunch of older dudes this past summer. Everytime we came up to a hill they'd all get out of their saddle and start pumping away as if expressing some sort of manhood...GRRR...

meanwhile i sat on my butt and passed nearly everyone of them nearly every time. Not because i was somehow better, but because climbing out of the saddle is far less efficient...
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