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Standing climbing/sprinting position(9 posts)

Standing climbing/sprinting positionPODIUMBOUNDdotCA
Oct 22, 2002 6:02 PM
So I'm a part time spin class instructor just for fun and I'm trying to figure out what is myth and what isn't from the spin class side of things. One of those things is what teachers who aren't really "racers" teach about the position of the butt while standing. Most instructors teach their students to have their butt right over the saddle just hovering an inch or 2 above. But from my experience I find myself most comfortable moving forward so my butt is hovering over the nose of the saddle. Who is right? Do I just have wrong technique? Or could it just be something they overemphasize to keep the knees behind the toes or something like that? I know something I tell my students to do is keep their foot flat to the floor to emphasize hamstring activation knowing they will naturally ankle.

I tried finding pictures of pros standing from the side but couldn't so any of those would be greatly appreciated.

re: Standing climbing/sprinting positionxxl
Oct 23, 2002 1:58 AM
This has been a minor bone of contention within my spinning circle (no pun intended). Like you, my instructors (most of whom actually do ride) emphasize "keeping your butt over the saddle," but what this means to them (as they'll explain) is keeping your rear just forward of the saddle, so that you just brush the nose of the saddle. Several of us have pointed out that this is the same as "keeping yourself centered over the pedals" (i.e., conventional cycling wisdom). The instructors do indeed "overemphasize," as you note, because they feel if they tell people to "keep over the pedals," spinners will tend to move too far forward (due to the parallax effect).

Me, I've noticed that everyone ends up just about where they need to be (i.e., over the pedals), so I don't worry about it. I think the big thing here is that instructors don't want novice/non-riders to lean over the bars so much (which is a natural tendency), grinding too-big gears in some sort of Bataan death ride.

Not that I'm a winged eagle or something, but I do find that climbing (on a real road) in a more-or-less upright, over the pedals position works, and this is about what you end up with when spinning.
re: Standing climbing/sprinting positiontheeatkins
Oct 23, 2002 4:25 AM
I agree with the person above. You will gravitate to the most comfortable position on your own. I don't believe that
exactly where you end up is as important as being comfortable in your standing position. If you have to stand, stand
where your easiest to go.
been experimenting with this myself recently......joekm
Oct 23, 2002 4:33 AM
Although I've been riding off and on for a while, I've only fairly recently started getting help from the more expert riders. This has, in turn, caused me to re-evaluate a lot of what I've been doing on a bike. I've recently come to the conclusion that I've never climbed correctly out of the saddle.

Just a few days ago, I'm going up a relatively steep hill out of the saddle on the 39 chainring and probably the 21 cog. I suddenly occurs to me that I'm partially supporting my weight on the hoods. I realize that, if anything, I should be pulling on the hoods so I can get more leverage to push on the crank. I begin to adjust my position to find this leverage which results in me moving back and taking a more upright position. I don't know where that wound up in relation to the saddle but I do know that I had to shift back to find the leverage.

Anyway, as soon as I found the spot, my crank rpms shot up and I suddenly felt like I was in way too low of a gear. I went back the next day and tried this again on every significant hill on my lunchtime ride. It seems to be a question of harmony. I.E. you can't just pull on the hoods as hard as you want to or the bike will go from rocking from side to side to zig-zagging. On the other hand, I was actually accelerating up hills that were knocking 5mph off my speed in the past (although I was generating lactic acid in the process).

So, I guess what I'm saying is that, for me, moving my CG back seems to have helped. Being the amature that I am, the only advice I could give is this; Find a position where your middle and index fingers are hooked under the hoods and your palms either have light pressure on the hoods or they are floating above them. From that body position, I seem to get a lot of leverage at the crank. As far as where that is in relation to the saddle, I don't know.
My experience almost exactly - nmdzrider
Oct 23, 2002 5:54 AM
The problem with SpinningTrekFurthur
Oct 23, 2002 6:15 AM
The "traditional cycling wisdom" mentioned above is correct--weight over pedal/bb. Now, here's where the real world creeps in. If you're climbing, then angle of the bike on the hill dictates that you'll be a little forward of the saddle (nose brushing the hamstrings); this type of comparison won't work on the spin bike as it's not climbing a hill. As for sprinting, my position is this; jumping out of the saddle (and forward) as I shift is necessary for me to get on top of the gear and have a faster exceleration. The rule of thumb is to keep your shoulders behind the front axle. I notice as the sprint continues that my body gravitates back a little bit; sometimes, I even sit over the last 100m, though often I'm in the hovering-over-saddle position you characterize. Whatever the position, all of this on a bicycle is in regards to forward momentum and efficiency.

Spin bikes do not equate to real bikes; that's the sad truth. Therefore, I look at them like any other piece of gym equipment, so think about which muscle group you're trying to work and position yourself to most effectively achieve that end.
LA himselfelviento
Oct 23, 2002 7:20 AM
Of course over the nose of the saddle. When you no longer have support from the saddle, you'd have to pull on the bar to stay balanced, and that feels very awkward and is a waste of energy.

Disclaimer: spin classes are awkward and a waste of energy in the first place so I don't really care...
TrekFurther pegged it.brider
Oct 23, 2002 7:29 AM
The incline of the road will determine the best position relative to the saddle. Efficiency will determine your position relative to the BB. As for pullling on the bars -- Davis Phinney had the best description I've seen. A loose grip on the hoods. Yes, you do pull up on the hoods slightly, but it's more of a side-to-side and angled push/pull rather than an up/down force. Hold your hand just a bit larger than the hood itself, and your hand will actually move depending on whether your pushing or pulling. This will keep your weight centered over the pedals.
Read Bontrager's KOPS again, about CG placement...Spunout
Oct 23, 2002 7:37 AM
That picture of Lance shows that the position is all dependent on the grade of the climb. When we stand and hammer the low rollers, it is much different than a 10% grade.

Look at Lance, he keeps his CG ahead of the BB. So, as the grade gets steeper, he must move forward to develop the best angle to produce power on the pedals. Like if you are on your MTB climbing walls, you CAN'T get far enough forward.