Forum home Road cycling forum Training, fitness and health

Hill reps

mask of sanitymask of sanity Posts: 610
Would you consider hill reps to be a form of interval training? If not, are they still suitable as a form of training to incease power or is it only likely to aid your climbing ability?

Thanks,
Rich.
«13

Posts

  • doing hill reps help me for sure. dont do them evry ride and try stay seated with mormal candnce.

    but i'm no coach
  • BronzieBronzie Posts: 4,927
    Would you consider hill reps to be a form of interval training?
    I'd say yes - typically the sort of short sharp hills we have in Southern England (that take around 5-10mins max to climb) can be powered up at a level above TT effort (ie around Level 5). Training at level 5 increases your VO2 max which will lead to an increase in sustainable power.

    It will of course depend on how good you are at gauging your effort though (ie riding hard enough to reach level 5 but without going too hard and risking blowing up before the top).
  • BhimaBhima Posts: 2,145
    I'll do a 3-5 minute hill a few times but, each time, limit my gears.

    For example:

    1 - Do the hill in the lowest gear only
    2 - Do the hill in the second lowest gear only
    3 - Do the hill in the third lowest gear only
    4 - etc...

    I'll do them without getting out of the saddle at all, no matter how hard it is.

    It'll get to a point where i'm limiting my gears too much to the point where i'll have to either stop or get out of the saddle to continue. By that time, my legs will be mangled. I always take note of which gear forced me to stop so that, over time, I can measure my progress as i'm able to do particular hills on higher gears that I couldn't use months ago.
  • InfamousInfamous Posts: 1,158
    Interesting bhima, I quite like that idea of going up a hill in progressively larger gears, BUT it falls down when you say you don't stand up. If anything standing up is more difficult and can lead to training harder. You want to train as you would race, ie sit and stand alternately or stand when it gets really steep.

    and as for stopping ?!? yet more bhima magic.
  • disgruntledgoatdisgruntledgoat Posts: 8,957
    Bhima wrote:
    I'll do a 3-5 minute hill a few times but, each time, limit my gears.

    For example:

    1 - Do the hill in the lowest gear only
    2 - Do the hill in the second lowest gear only
    3 - Do the hill in the third lowest gear only
    4 - etc...

    I'll do them without getting out of the saddle at all, no matter how hard it is.

    It'll get to a point where i'm limiting my gears too much to the point where i'll have to either stop or get out of the saddle to continue. By that time, my legs will be mangled. I always take note of which gear forced me to stop so that, over time, I can measure my progress as i'm able to do particular hills on higher gears that I couldn't use months ago.

    Not hte usual Bhima bashing at all here, but why is not getting out of the saddle beneficial? My climbing style (given i'm 72kg with no style) has always relied on being out of the saddle quite a lot and I've always been a pretty decent climber.
    "In many ways, my story was that of a raging, Christ-like figure who hauled himself off the cross, looked up at the Romans with blood in his eyes and said 'My turn, sock cookers'"

    @gietvangent
  • vorsprungvorsprung Posts: 1,953
    Bhima wrote:
    I'll do a 3-5 minute hill a few times but, each time, limit my gears.
    ...

    I'll do them without getting out of the saddle at all, no matter how hard it is.

    Not hte usual Bhima bashing at all here, but why is not getting out of the saddle beneficial? My climbing style (given i'm 72kg with no style) has always relied on being out of the saddle quite a lot and I've always been a pretty decent climber.

    There's two points here

    Firstly, some people prefer to climb out of the saddle, it works better for them
    Some people prefer to climb in the saddle
    Climbing seated is more efficient. Climbing out of the saddle allows more power to be used so can be faster, especially on short sharp climbs
    So why reason you might want to do all of a hill training routine seated is that you are the sort of person who likes to remain seated, or else you want to develop an efficient style of climbing. If an appropriate cadence can be maintained in a higher gear than usual then a speed increase is there.

    The second reason is to do with a muscular development program. Climbing in an inappropriately high gear is used as a form of weight lifting. Each pedal stroke is like a push of a gym machine with a big weight on. The idea is that it will build very specific muscles suited to climbing and riding.

    I've never really used either technique, although the hill I used for repeats was so steep it gave you a muscular workout on the 16% bit.
  • DomProDomPro Posts: 321
    I usually prefer to climb in the saddle and spin fast.

    I like Bhima's idea of doing hill reps in a higher gear each time. I might try it.
    Shazam !!
  • PokerfacePokerface Posts: 8,640
    The length and gradient of the hill will also determine whether or not you can remain seated (in various gears).
  • disgruntledgoatdisgruntledgoat Posts: 8,957
    vorsprung wrote:
    Bhima wrote:
    I'll do a 3-5 minute hill a few times but, each time, limit my gears.
    ...

    I'll do them without getting out of the saddle at all, no matter how hard it is.

    Not hte usual Bhima bashing at all here, but why is not getting out of the saddle beneficial? My climbing style (given i'm 72kg with no style) has always relied on being out of the saddle quite a lot and I've always been a pretty decent climber.

    There's two points here

    Firstly, some people prefer to climb out of the saddle, it works better for them
    Some people prefer to climb in the saddle
    Climbing seated is more efficient. Climbing out of the saddle allows more power to be used so can be faster, especially on short sharp climbs
    So why reason you might want to do all of a hill training routine seated is that you are the sort of person who likes to remain seated, or else you want to develop an efficient style of climbing. If an appropriate cadence can be maintained in a higher gear than usual then a speed increase is there.

    The second reason is to do with a muscular development program. Climbing in an inappropriately high gear is used as a form of weight lifting. Each pedal stroke is like a push of a gym machine with a big weight on. The idea is that it will build very specific muscles suited to climbing and riding.

    I've never really used either technique, although the hill I used for repeats was so steep it gave you a muscular workout on the 16% bit.

    So you can't have an efficient climbing style out of the saddle?
    "In many ways, my story was that of a raging, Christ-like figure who hauled himself off the cross, looked up at the Romans with blood in his eyes and said 'My turn, sock cookers'"

    @gietvangent
  • Pokerface wrote:
    The length and gradient of the hill will also determine whether or not you can remain seated (in various gears).

    I'm glad you said that! The hill i did reps up was just short of a mile and I think it has an average gradient of about 9%. The last 150m or so must be closer to 15% and theres no way I could do that it any other gear but the lowest and out of the saddle! :P

    The idea of using larger gears is def a good one tho, so cheers for the suggestion Bhima! I kind of did it by accident on my third attempt.
    Bronzie wrote:
    powered up at a level above TT effort (ie around Level 5).

    Sorry but what does the level five mean? :oops:

    Rich.
  • EdwinEdwin Posts: 785
    It's a training zone - search the forum for how to work them out. Normally done with an HRM, or power meter if you've got the cash.
    I've not got into all this scientific training yet, but I'll be looking at it for next season after my old skool training methods have resulted in a total lack of results this year.

    I do think you need to get out of the saddle though - Bhima's method will make you very good at riding up hills in a big gear while sitting down. Great, but you won't be going quicker than everyone else. As always, it depends what you want to acheive - don't confuse strength with power.
  • BronzieBronzie Posts: 4,927
    Sorry but what does the level five mean?
    Have a look at this guide to training levels:
    http://home.trainingpeaks.com/articles/ ... evels.aspx
    [it's designed for use with a powermeter but gives equivalent heart rate zones and the best description of perceived exertions I've seen yet].
  • PoulsyPoulsy Posts: 155
    I read that most of the improvement received from doing repeated intervals comes in the first 2 sets, so on that basis, maybe it would be better to try reversing Bhima's gear routine and starting off harder and then going to lower gears later?

    Quote

    "We know from weight-training studies that the first set or two provides the stimulus for most of the improvement gained during multi-set workouts. If you do five sets of bench presses, for instance, much of the benefit occurs during the first set. The second set stimulates most of the remaining improvement possible from the session. The final three sets do relatively little. It is likely that the same applies to interval training. Thus the first interval or two provide most of the benefit and the remaining intervals are subject to the law of diminishing returns. Thus with just two repeats you will most likely gain a large percentage of the possible benefits"

    http://www.cptips.com/intervl.htm
  • BhimaBhima Posts: 2,145
    vorsprung wrote:
    The second reason is to do with a muscular development program. Climbing in an inappropriately high gear is used as a form of weight lifting. Each pedal stroke is like a push of a gym machine with a big weight on. The idea is that it will build very specific muscles suited to climbing and riding.

    That's the thinking behind the technique. Going up a gear is the same as adding "weights".

    Nothing wrong with going out of the saddle at all really, but I prefer this technique to keep HR/energy usage down and also so that I can hopefully (eventually) do some hills seated which would have forced me out of the saddle previously.

    There's nothing stopping you doing the same workout completely out of the saddle but mixing the two up when things get tough kind of defeats the whole point of measuring your power by looking at your gears when you blow up on the hill.

    Anyway, I do it on a 3/4/5% hill and you'll be suprised at how far up the cassette you can get if you're willing to put your legs though hell. :twisted:
  • freehubfreehub Posts: 1,447
    edited June 2009
    3/4/5% are drags :lol:

    When I go up a hill I find it easier and faster out of the saddle, on steep hills I sit down on the least steep bits and stand up on the steepest.
  • EdwinEdwin Posts: 785
    "measuring your power by looking at your gears when you blow up on the hill" - this won't tell you anything. Chances are if you're using a bigger gear you are going slower, unless you time it and try to do the same time with a bigger gear. I can grind up steep hills in a massive gear....slowly. I don't think there's a huge benefit. Like I said, don't confuse strength and power!
    Also, cycling is an endurance sport, so what applies to sets of weight training won't neccesarily apply to sets of intervals. This has all been argued to death before on the forum before.
  • surely going up a hill slowly in a big gear will put extra, unecessary strain on both the chain and teeth on the cassette / chainring too?
  • freehubfreehub Posts: 1,447
    surely going up a hill slowly in a big gear will put extra, unecessary strain on both the chain and teeth on the cassette / chainring too?

    I don't think it's a massive issue as long as you maintain the drivetrain properly such as cleaning and lubing it.

    I know going up it in an inappropriately high gear can risk screwing some peoples knees up, I'd not risk it with my knees though.
  • BronzieBronzie Posts: 4,927
    surely going up a hill slowly in a big gear will put extra, unecessary strain on both the chain and teeth on the cassette / chainring too?
    If guys like Cav and Petacchi can knock out 1300W during sprints using the same drivetrain as us mere mortals, I don't think damaging it should be an issue!
  • disgruntledgoatdisgruntledgoat Posts: 8,957
    Bhima... please explain, using small words and pictures if needed, how staying in the saddle keeps your energy usage and HR down. Are you saying that if I grind up Newlands Pass (2Km @ 10% average) in the saddle, i'm using less energy/using a lower HR than if I do the same climb out of the saddle, even if the speeds are the same? Or wildly different? How so?
    "In many ways, my story was that of a raging, Christ-like figure who hauled himself off the cross, looked up at the Romans with blood in his eyes and said 'My turn, sock cookers'"

    @gietvangent
  • EdwinEdwin Posts: 785
    It's a subjective thing, if you do the same speed the amount of energy expended will be the same - but it feels easier spinning sometimes. I tend to 'go into the red' quicker if I mash a big gear, so I think I know what Bhima means, although the way he's written it is technically wrong. Obviously I can easily blow a gasket spinning a small gear as well.

    If I look at the speed up my local favourite hill though, the max I can do on a geared bike is no quicker than my fixed with a big gear. The limit here is POWER.

    Big gear, grind it - legs pop.

    Small gear, spin - lungs pop.

    Take your choice.
  • Hill reps will make you strong on the hills, certainly, but don't neglect flat/fast interval sessions. Or get out with a chaingang.
    "A cyclist has nothing to lose but his chain"

    PTP Runner Up 2015
  • Cheers for the website Bronzie! Has some great info and set out for the lay person (such as me) to understand! :)
    Hill reps will make you strong on the hills, certainly, but don't neglect flat/fast interval sessions. Or get out with a chaingang.

    I have to say the idea of a chaingang is a bit daunting atm! Need a lot more cycling experience before I attempt something like that, but i guess can aim for it in the future.
  • PokerfacePokerface Posts: 8,640
    Bhima... please explain, using small words and pictures if needed, how staying in the saddle keeps your energy usage and HR down. Are you saying that if I grind up Newlands Pass (2Km @ 10% average) in the saddle, i'm using less energy/using a lower HR than if I do the same climb out of the saddle, even if the speeds are the same? Or wildly different? How so?

    Studies have shown that getting out of the saddle on a climb will increase your heart rate. Staying seated during a climb is by far the most efficient way to get up a climb - however, the gradient will sometimes dictate that you must stand to maintain your speed.

    I cannot comment on which method uses less energy if the speed is the same. As Alex would say - if you are producing the same amount of watts, then the exact same amount of energy will be used.
  • amaferangaamaferanga Posts: 6,789
    People that don't get out of the saddle for hills very often tend to find it very hard when they do get out of the saddle to climb. They therefore assume that its harder, where as the reality is that it takes practice to improve technique and training to allow your muscles to adapt.

    So climbing hills seated all the time IMO is a mistake. I don't think many people would argue that being able to mix climbing styles makes hills such as Hardknott and Wrynose much, much easier.
    More problems but still living....
  • amaferangaamaferanga Posts: 6,789
    Staying seated during a climb is by far the most efficient way to get up a climb

    You mean marginally more efficient don't you?
    More problems but still living....
  • PokerfacePokerface Posts: 8,640
    amaferanga wrote:
    Staying seated during a climb is by far the most efficient way to get up a climb

    You mean marginally more efficient don't you?

    No - I meant by far. Otherwise I would have said marginally. :lol:
  • disgruntledgoatdisgruntledgoat Posts: 8,957
    amaferanga wrote:
    People that don't get out of the saddle for hills very often tend to find it very hard when they do get out of the saddle to climb. They therefore assume that its harder, where as the reality is that it takes practice to improve technique and training to allow your muscles to adapt.

    So climbing hills seated all the time IMO is a mistake. I don't think many people would argue that being able to mix climbing styles makes hills such as Hardknott and Wrynose much, much easier.

    My point precisely, all the hills I train on have sections at above 10% and I find I need to get out of the saddle for these to keep smooth on a double chainset, thus, this has become my style. I then sit down when the gradient lessens.

    I've always noticed on really big climbs in the Alps etc, I mix up the two but normally find if i'm having to follow a wheel I'm more comfortable out of the saddle. I also find on my return my calves are butching!

    As i say, I think it comes sown to personal taste, I've always found that i'm one of the stronger riders on the hills in events i've ridden... I think some people don't push themselves enough on hills as well, as they've always tried to spin up them rather than explore how much they can vary their pace, cadance etc.
    "In many ways, my story was that of a raging, Christ-like figure who hauled himself off the cross, looked up at the Romans with blood in his eyes and said 'My turn, sock cookers'"

    @gietvangent
  • EdwinEdwin Posts: 785
    amaferanga wrote:
    Staying seated during a climb is by far the most efficient way to get up a climb

    You mean marginally more efficient don't you?

    Groan. Wasn't there a lengthy thread on this already? Surely if HR increases out of the saddle, it's because you are riding harder (and going faster), it's nothing to do with efficiency, which has a very specific definition when applied to sports science.
  • PokerfacePokerface Posts: 8,640
    Edwin wrote:
    amaferanga wrote:
    Staying seated during a climb is by far the most efficient way to get up a climb

    You mean marginally more efficient don't you?

    Groan. Wasn't there a lengthy thread on this already? Surely if HR increases out of the saddle, it's because you are riding harder (and going faster), it's nothing to do with efficiency, which has a very specific definition when applied to sports science.

    Riding harder - perhaps. Going faster? Not at all.

    It seems the perceived effort is greater when out of the saddle, but speed does not increase and can actually decrease (while climbing - not on the flat).

    The other thread you mentioned was to do with HR and it's effect (none) on calories used.
Sign In or Register to comment.