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sitting vs. standing...(10 posts)

sitting vs. standing...dustin73
May 18, 2001 4:18 PM
i'm curios as to which one is "better" while climbing...i try to remain seated while climbing, and stand when i'm attempting to sprint. are there any benefits to standing while climbing? all i notice is that it makes the muscles burn more.
Both work!MrCelloBoy
May 18, 2001 4:25 PM
I alternate short periods of standing with longer periods of sitting. Have you watched the TDF coverage on the TV? You'll see that is what the Pro's do as well. Standing gives you a break by stretching different muscles and also allows you to use your body weight to help push the pedals down.
I use both ...Humma Hah
May 18, 2001 4:53 PM
... you significantly shift what muscles you're using when you stand up. An old singlespeed trick is to run your seat a little lower than you would on a geared bike, so that standing essentially has the same effect as downshifting one ring, and also recruiting fresh muscles.

On the last 5 miles of my 140-mile ride last year, my sit-down muscles were absolutely shot. I stood up almost the entire last 5 miles, and was delighted to find a hidden reserve which I had barely tapped all day -- fresh muscles that still had glycogen to burn.

The problem with standing is that it delivers explosive power. The secret is learning to reign it in, which can take some practice. Watch your speedometer. If you speed up when you stand, force yourself to slow down. Otherwise you'll likely accelerate beyond your AT and burn out.
Help with the standingJim Burton
May 18, 2001 9:41 PM
I can't seem to "reign it in" like you say. I almost inevidebly speed up. It's as if without even trying, I just go faster and then my cadence speeds up and I end up looking like one of those little toy monkeys on a tricycle (ridiculous, that is). More importantly, my heartrate skyrockets and standing ends up being not a rest at all. In fact, I have never felt that "extra reserve" when standing, just a fast burn out. Granted, I am new to cycling (one year) and I was a BMXer in my early years (all standing, all sprinting). How do I go about controling it? How should it feel? Am I in too low of a gear? What should a good cadence for standing be? 80 rpm? 75 rpm? I have heard of good standing form feeling like running on a treadmill (pulling over the top and all, but I have yet to feel this or even come close. HELP!!
Help with the standingmike mcmahon
May 18, 2001 9:55 PM
I generally shift into a bigger gear when I stand and then drop it back down when I take the saddle again. I find this helps keep me in a regular rhythm when I vary between sitting and standing.
Keep doing it ...Humma Hah
May 19, 2001 7:45 AM
... I've been at it for about 42 years, but for much of that time I had only short hills to contend with, and got in the habit of busting up them like a madman. Then I'd find myself someplace with long hills and find myself doing just what you say.

So I'd deliberately take some time to learn how to pace myself. It takes months to get it right.

I find that speed control, more than cadence or heartrate, is the key. We singlespeeders generally find that we can manage to climb a hill in almost any gear, as long as the cadence works out somewhere between about 30 and 120 (this, too, takes extended training). But knowing what speed I can use on a given grade is my key, and I must watch the speedo to keep it down. I do also keep track of my breathing and heart rate, but those don't respond instantly (I find my heart rate will spike, drop, and then slowly rise over about 3 minutes after a stepwise increase in effort). By holding a fixed speed for several minutes and seeing how that affects HR and breathing, I've learned to climb right at my AT, and to judge when I can push slightly harder on shorter climbs.

Part of it may be psycological -- you don't WANT to go as slow as you must. On my heavy (42 pounds and typically a 10-pound pack), fat-tired machine, I may have to slow to between 4.5-7 mph on some climbs, and that feels like I'm standing still if I've been cruising the flats approaching the hill. I WANT to maintain the high speed, and only by conscious effort can I slow down as I must.
4.5 mph?mike mcmahon
May 19, 2001 8:02 AM
HH, I want to see some pictures of you bustin' your hump up some big hill on your singlespeed. ;-) I've felt like I was about to fall over on a big hill for lack of speed to look down at the computer and see 9 mph. Sounds like your m.o. is similar to some of the big freight trains my dad and grandfather used to work. They'd work their way over the Cajon Pass or Tehachapi, locomotive chugging and overheating and you could barely tell the thing was moving. However, they always got to their destination in time to enjoy a cold barley-pop. Take care, Mike
re: sitting vs. standing...LC
May 18, 2001 4:57 PM
It all depends on how long or steep the hill, or how my legs feel. A short hill is easier to stand and power over it, but if the hill is too long you will blow your self up. If the hill is really steep and long then you have no choice but stand and suffer. Anyone that lives in the Cascades or the Rockies knows that no matter how in shape you are, there is a hill that will still push you to the edge. I don't call it a hill unless its over 2,000 ft and over 4,000 ft it becomes a good hill! The whole key to standing and climbing is to relax and try not to speed up while standing. Practice it at least once a week helps a lot too.
Both are best. A little of one and a lot of the other...Alpine
May 18, 2001 5:08 PM
Both sitting and standing are important parts of climbing. Sitting is the more efficient of the two and usually by quite a bit and therefore you should try to stay in the saddle if you are racing or are out for a very long ride. Standing has two main purposes in climbing. One is to break monotony for your mind and muscles. The other reason to stand is for relatively short breakaway attempts. In most cases as soon as you have opened a sufficient gap or bridged to the riders ahead you should drop to the saddle and recover.
That being said, there are freaks of nature that can seemingly climb all day standing. Seems like Virenque is a big out of the saddle climber. I also enjoy being out of the saddle for long periods and can handle it pretty well but don't do so in races. Being able to ride out of the saddle doesn't mean that you can burn less energy that way.
Whatever gets you to the topmr_spin
May 21, 2001 3:57 PM
I am amazed at how many times this question shows up on forums. The answer is: whatever feels best, and whatever gets you to the top. Don't worry about what anyone else is doing.

Which is better? Well, look at the pros. Lance likes to sit and spin most of the time. Pantani likes to stand more than sit. Two of the best climbers in the world, and they don't even agree.

Don't worry about it. No one really cares how you get to the top. Just get there.