Climbing technique

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  • Climbing technique
  • Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    Different strokes for different folks.

    Most successful in recent years on the road (Armstrong, Contador, Froome, Wiggins) is a higher cadence approach, the former tending to sit and spin, the others generally out of the saddle a bit more.

    There are too many variables, particularly off road, it’s worth being able to mix things up a bit.

    Premier Icon rickon
    Subscriber

    I remember a scientific article I read recently, which performed a study of riders who pull up on the pedal stroke, as well as push down – against others who do not, then asked them to switch approach and recorded the results.

    The conclusion was it make no difference if you pull up or not to your power output, but what was important was to use what feels comfortable…

    Not my research, and I have no links to hand – I’m sure it’d be easy to find on google though.

    Lose weight + improve threshold power + any mental tricks that work for you to help you deal with the suffering of riding at threshold for whatever period a partcular climb requires.

    d45yth
    Member

    A lot of it comes down to your power to weight ratio rather than a certain technique. Look at the classic cycling physique, skinny with big legs.
    If you want to get better at them, do lots of them. A lot depends on where you live to be able to do this. I live in Cumbria, so finding a hill isn’t a problem!

    cynic-al
    Member

    pace yourself!

    Premier Icon D0NK
    Subscriber

    just pedal as fast as you can til you hit the top or hit the wall

    mauja
    Member

    To some extent it depends on how long and how steep the climb is. After trying for a few strava KOM’s on long climbs I find I set my fastest times when I start steady, sitting and spinning a relatively easy gear with a final out of the saddle effort once I’m near the top. For short climbs I’m faster if I get out of the saddle and try and power up them.

    On really long climbs I will tend to do a bit of seated followed by standing then back to seated just for a bit of a change.

    Not sure about pedalling technique, if I spin an easy gear I’m not really that aware of the up and down stroke but just try and keep a nice steady rhythm.

    pace yourself!

    yep! don’t go into the red unless you can judge how much you have left to the top (assuming you don’t want to do anything once you’re up there)
    or if you know the climb shallows out a bit you might sprint up a steep section and recover when it gets more gentle. but it’s all about knowing how much you can get away with before you’ll blow up in my experience. you’ll get a better time steady at the edge than if you go too hard too early – as long as you know where your “edge” is..

    mrmo
    Member

    efficient is sat down spinning, but on a long climb it makes sense to get out of the saddle to stretch legs once in a while. But it isn’t neccesarily the fastest way of getting from a-b.

    If you need to accelerate. out of the saddle tends to allow a bigger kick and you can generate a bit more power.

    What you also find is certain builds suit certain climbs, steep favours low weight, long gradual climbs favour the ability to sustain power.

    If you want to get better at them, do lots of them. A lot depends on where you live to be able to do this. I live in Cumbria, so finding a hill isn’t a problem!

    A lot of good climbers come from Belgium.

    Belgium = headwinds and CX. Both involve maintaining a power output constantly without letting up, like climbing otherwise you stop, so hill’s aren’t always nececary, riding a bike through long grass rather than a groomed trail center is the same workout.

    As for push/pull, pulling up has a benifit, but it’s much less than you’d imagine, not sure if it’s the same one that rickon’s refering to but there is a study that shows the pulling up in fact barely puts enough force in to lift the leg up and infact you’re pushing down on the back foot with about 5% of the force you pedal with (i.e. 95% of the front legs work goes into moving you foreward, th other 5% is lifting the other leg up to the top again). Which makes sense when you think about it, with the exception of sprinters even the pro’s have fairly skinny legs, all the power is from the cardiovascular system so it makes little difference if you pull up as that energy/oxygen could equaly be spent pushing down. Same with your arms, standing up gives you a short burst of extra power, but isn’t sustainable as the total power is still limited by your heart and lungs.

    Ohh and pace yourself on long climbs, no point going hell for leather in the first few meters only to spend the other 90% going slow, start slow and get quicker as you approach the summit.

    The best training (IMO, I’m a rubbish climber though) is to climb a hill, then climb the last bit of it as fast as you can, then continue the sprint as long as you can over the other side. My logic being is it makes the hill harder so when applied to the longer hills on a ride makes the actual hill seem easy next time. That and it’s good for judgeing your pace, if you can sprint untill you run out of gears on the far side you weren’t going hard enough up the hill!

    Off-road, keep your arse light on the saddle to let the bike move underneath you and allow you to react to the rear wheel slipping or the front wheel lifting.

    cuberider
    Member

    Have been wondering about how to produce the fastest possible climbs.

    I assume that going hard out to begin with isn’t the most efficient approach nor doing the same on the steepest sections of the climb.

    Is there a good pedalling technique in order to make the most efficient use both the down and upstroke using clipless set ups?

    Anyone got advice on how they maximise performance on a long climb? Interested in road and mountain.

    Junkyard
    Member

    iirxc standing up gives 10 % more power but =it requires 15 % more effort

    yu get standy climbers though – Contador and Evans for example and sitters Wigins and LA..so do what you feels is best for you. Short I stand up and sprint long i sit down and grind [ road]
    Off road i just grind as I hate the boib whenm you stand up or stand up on the SS

    Premier Icon portlyone
    Subscriber

    I use the bike as a walking aid.

    Premier Icon D0NK
    Subscriber

    steep favours low weight, long gradual climbs favour the ability to sustain power.

    weird I’d have thought steep favours heavier riders with higher allout power, longer drags better for lighter riders with better power/weight ratio.

    Interesting seeing riders tackle steep climbs (eg hill climb at STW weekender) some charge at it in a high gear then try to gurn their way to the top, others sit and twiddle a silly low gear at the start but spin to the top.

    Standing up sends your HR through the roof but you have more power and manoeuvrability for tricky sections, so on long climbs sit and spin on smoother bits and only stand when you need to. That’s assuming you have gears, SS just charge at it and keep pedalling til you can’t 🙂

    mrmo
    Member

    weird I’d have thought steep favours heavier riders with higher allout power, longer drags better for lighter riders with better power/weight ratio.

    Wind resistance starts to come into it, which means power matters more than weight

    mauja
    Member

    How fast you climb is primarily a function of how much power you can produce compared to how much you weigh (you weight is working with gravity to try and pull you back down the slope). Wind resistance is a function of speed, as climbs get steeper, speeds drop and therefore wind resistance becomes less of a factor.

    Normally climbing capability expressed as watts/kg as that allows riders of different weights to be compared. A 100kg at 500W would give 5 watts/kg, a 50kg rider at 250W would also produce 5 watts/kg so in theory two riders of massively different weights would climb at the same speed.

    It’s generally quoted that a rider needs to be able to sustain 6.7W/KG over a 30 minute climb to win the tour de france.

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