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Stand Up Or Sit Down????

drumsmasherdrumsmasher Posts: 241
Hi! I am new to road biking although i have been mountain biking for about 5 years. I have just bought a Giant TCR but i am trying to find out the best way to attack hills. I have tried sitting using higher cadence/lower gear spinning but found i get on better by standing and moving the bike side to side. I appreciate that this may not be the most energy effective way but it feels right. can anyone with greater knowledge than me, tell me which method is the correct one so i at least can start by practicing the right way. Thanks!
Another tree...another cracked rib!!


  • redddraggonredddraggon Posts: 10,862
    It depends how long and steep the hill is.

    Short and steep - stand

    Long and low gradient - sit (with odd periods of standing).
    I like bikes...

  • drumsmasherdrumsmasher Posts: 241
    I was hoping thats what you would say. Cheers for the quick reply!
    Another tree...another cracked rib!!
  • drumsmasherdrumsmasher Posts: 241
    My mate reckons i am losing momentum by moving the bike when standing and climbing, but i would have thought that pulling on the bars would give me more power. Any suggestions please???
    Another tree...another cracked rib!!
  • AdamskiiAdamskii Posts: 267
    Generally sitting down and spinning a higher gear up hills will save your legs on longer rides. On shorter rides it probably makes no difference in fact standing may help increase your leg strength.
    It's all good.
  • a_n_ta_n_t Posts: 2,011
    i sit, until i have to stand!
    Manchester wheelers

    10m 20:21 2014
    25m 53:18 20:13
    50m 1:57:12 2013
    100m Yeah right.
  • chrisw12chrisw12 Posts: 1,246
    I stand until I have to sit.
  • BronzieBronzie Posts: 4,927
    Staying seated on climbs is probably more efficient (you are using less muscle groups), but sometimes you just gotta stand up to get more power onto the pedals and also to relieve your leg/back muscles on a really long climb.
  • andy_wrxandy_wrx Posts: 3,396
    Power Climbing rather than Rythm Climbing.

    Both. Sometimes one, sometimes the other, sometimes switching between...

    It'll depend on you (and may change with your fitness, weight, etc as time goes by).
    And on the hill length & steepness (and slipperyness if wet, or if windy, etc).
    And on your bike gearing
    And on how far/fast you're riding.

    Honking out of the saddle takes a huge amount more energy than staying seated.

    If it gets really steep, you'll need the extra power and torque you can only get out of the saddle - but it'll cost in terms of energy and you'll tire your legs, strain your heartrate and lungs, so you have to limit it

    You can hammer up a short hill out of the saddle - it'll cost you in terms of energy, but if you don't lose any momentum then you'll gain it back by not having to speed-up again at the top.

    But you wouldn't (well, pros do in the Tour de France, but you and me couldn't !) ride all the way up an Alp out of the saddle, you'd do that seated because it's more efficient to pedal a steady cadence seated.

    You might however switch-in bursts of out-of-saddle to relieve tired or stiff muscles rather than riding seated all the way up.
  • Monty DogMonty Dog Posts: 20,614
    A lot comes from experience - ride lots of hills and get to feel what style suits what type of hill. Being able to switch techniques on a climb is a big help - either due to a change in gradient or pace. Honking is more intense and so will tire you out quicker - but you can apply a lot more power. Road conditions can have a bearing too - if it's wet or slippery you may be forced to stay seated to stop your rear wheel from skipping. My general rule is that if it's short 'n'steep i.e. in excess of 10% then get out of the saddle, whereas longer or shallower climbs are best attempted from the saddle. In a racing situation, if you can't ride hard out of the saddle, you'll get dropped because it's very hard to get the accelleration to stick with the bunch.
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • bahzobbahzob Posts: 2,195
    I follow Monty Dog maxim, much over 10% and I stand up, unless I know I am in for more than 3km of continuous double digits.

    To further complicate matters I find there are two main types of stand up.
    - One pretty much uses straightish passive arms taking a fair amount of body weight and transferring to front hub. Use this for longish sections of stand up climbing

    - Other is the sharp hill attack where I consciously use my arms to assist legs. This adds power quickly but obviously is tiring.

    In both cases I try to keep pedalling smoothly, applying smooth continuous effort and keeping bike upright, not moving from side to side as reckon latter will only increase rolling resistance and use more energy which isnt what you want to do.
    Martin S. Newbury RC
  • neebneeb Posts: 4,463
    My indoor trainer simulates hills up to about 15% and shows wattage, and I've definitely noticed two very different types of out-of-the-saddle climbing. The short burst style uses loads of energy (very anaerobic presumably) and pushes the wattage way up. Since I've been practicing long climbs though, I've developed a style of out-of-the-saddle pedaling where the wattage actually goes down in comparison to what I'm generating in the saddle. This is where you just need to give your muscles a rest in order to be able to keep going, and by using your body weight and a slightly different balance of muscle usage you can give your legs a break while still keeping the cranks turning. Then another set of muscles start hurting and you have to sit down again...
  • dombo6dombo6 Posts: 582
    A bit of standing followed by some sitting and some more standing then sitting seems to work for some:
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