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Hill training advice

Deadeye DuckDeadeye Duck Posts: 419
edited June 2009 in Road beginners
Hi all, after recently getting into road bikes I've found that if I was to say I was bad at hills It'd be an understatement.

Now I know that to get better at hill I just simply have to ride more hills, and thankfully I have a badgillion to choose from around me. What I don't know is the best way to train on them.

Do I pick the one that most resembles a cliff face and go till I blow, then repeat after recovery, or is it better to do repititions on an easier hill? Do I spin or do I get out the saddle and grind? Do I mix it up in a route so that I'm doing a hill for a bit and then flats for a bit?

I know there's no quick fix but I'd rather do it right first time than do any potential damage to myself.

Thanks in advance for the help.
Schwinn Fastback Comp : FCN 5
The Flying Scot : FCN 515q6cuv.png
My Life, My Bike & My Xbox

Posts

  • bobtbuilderbobtbuilder Posts: 1,537
    If you have time for a longish ride, I would choose a hilly route, but not repeat the same hill time after time. Unless you have huge willpower, repeat hill climbs for long periods can get boring!

    However, if you can only get out for an hour or so in an evening, then same hill repetitions may suit. As with most things, variety will help keep you motivated.

    As for gradients - target the type that you struggle on most. Personally, I am good on short steep hills, but rubbish on longer drags, so I focus on those.

    Finally, you will have to figure out for yourself what feels more natural to you: spinning or grinding. I know that spinning is the "done thing" now, but I find it more tiring than my natural grinding style, and so I'm gonna stay a happy grinder! :) I also like to get out of the saddle quite a bit, whereas my riding buddy remains seated 99% of the time.
  • MettanMettan Posts: 2,103
    Do I pick the one that most resembles a cliff face and go till I blow, then repeat after recovery, or is it better to do repititions on an easier hill? Do I spin or do I get out the saddle and grind? Do I mix it up in a route so that I'm doing a hill for a bit and then flats for a bit?

    I know there's no quick fix but I'd rather do it right first time than do any potential damage to myself.

    Thanks in advance for the help.

    If you're new to Road bikes and building your fitness up, just spin up a range of typical inclines during your regular loops - with regular riding your cardio-fitness/bike fitness will improve quite markedly. I've got a little 25 mile loop with ~ 900 ft of climbing in it - nice, easy, quick, but I ride it 5 or 6 times a week at present (usually at 5.00 am ish) - just simple regular riding, nothing fancy - again your fitness (and power) will improve quite markedly with simple regular riding at a reasonable intensity.
  • Deadeye DuckDeadeye Duck Posts: 419
    Thanks for the help guys/gals.
    Yeah, I'm hoping since I'm only just starting, I'll see improvements over all terrain types (i.e. flats, uphills & downhills), but I'd like to get in hill training right from the get go. Which hopefully, with you're help, I'll be able to do now. :)
    Schwinn Fastback Comp : FCN 5
    The Flying Scot : FCN 515q6cuv.png
    My Life, My Bike & My Xbox
  • NoNotAgainNoNotAgain Posts: 91
    Usually you should stay in the seat as long as possible.
    Your heart rate will go up when you grind since you are using more muscle groups.

    Nonetheless for taller and / or stronger riders, grinding is great for shorter, extremely steep hills.

    You can as well go out of the saddle on really long climbs just to have your legs relax a tad.

    For training, I'd say basically choose something rather longish, not too steep and maybe add a killer hill sometimes that you will use all your power on within two minutes.
    1,000km+ a month, strictly road.
  • Deadeye DuckDeadeye Duck Posts: 419
    Ooh, just a quick thought. When out of the saddle, what are the main muscle groups used as well as legs? is there much arm involvement? I know when sprinting, arms come into play alot as you can pull up on the opposite side of the bike to what you're pushing down on the pedal etc, but do they get used much in climbing?
    Schwinn Fastback Comp : FCN 5
    The Flying Scot : FCN 515q6cuv.png
    My Life, My Bike & My Xbox
  • NoNotAgainNoNotAgain Posts: 91
    No arms.
    When you climb, your body should move as little as possible to keep the heart rate low.
    1,000km+ a month, strictly road.
  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,123
    I have several regular loops which all involve a selection of hills. I treat all the short ones as interval training, and try to power up as quickly as possible then recover on the flat or downhill. The couple of longer ones - over a mile - I try to keep seated and spin up at a constant pace I could maintain indefinitely, pretending I'm climbing in the alps. (As if)

    I'm definitely getting quicker, although last night I turned out of the drive to find myself in the middle of a time trial and being overtaken by a young racing snake who made me look as if I was going backwards.

    I checked their times on the web this morning. They were doing the hilly 11 miles in 28 mins whereas I took 40.

    Something to aim for; all I have to do is get my average speed up from 16 to 23 mph!

    Quite handy discovering a time trial course at the end of the drive.
  • NoNotAgainNoNotAgain Posts: 91
    keef66 wrote:
    Something to aim for; all I have to do is get my average speed up from 16 to 23 mph!

    At least you chose a very humble target. :wink:
    1,000km+ a month, strictly road.
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