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Top Tips for better climbing?

robonwheelsrobonwheels Posts: 4
edited July 2009 in Road beginners
I've been training for about half a year now - just reached the 1500km mark - but still feel very much like I belong here in the beginners forum!

I am starting to feel a bit more ready to hone some skills like climbing. I get crushed by other more experienced cyclists on the hills.

Apart from the obvious bits that have got me this far - keeping it fun and getting on the bike as often as life allows - What tips would you offer for someone who wants to improve their climbing? Any particular exercises maybe?
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Posts

  • NoNotAgainNoNotAgain Posts: 91
    1500km per month or in total?
    1,000km+ a month, strictly road.
  • NuggsNuggs Posts: 1,804
    I don't think there's any better exercise than practicing on hills.

    Find a big hill, ride up it. Roll back down and recover, ride up it again. Repeat until you can't see properly...
  • gnashersgnashers Posts: 27
    if you can lose weight, then this will make the most difference.
    Look at Wiggins climbing ability now after losing weight.
    Just be careful not to lose it too fast, aim for just a steady 1lb a week.
    You may be surprised just how little you need to adjust your diet to achive this.
  • softladsoftlad Posts: 3,513
    What tips would you offer for someone who wants to improve their climbing? Any particular exercises maybe?

    ride more hills. long ones, short ones, steep ones, steady ones, in the saddle, out of the saddle. we can talk about weight loss or power output all day long, but the most effective thing you can do to improve your hill climbing is to climb more hills.
  • bobtbuilderbobtbuilder Posts: 1,537
    ride more hills. long ones, short ones, steep ones, steady ones, in the saddle, out of the saddle. we can talk about weight loss or power output all day long, but the most effective thing you can do to improve your hill climbing is to climb more hills.

    What he said!!!
  • neebneeb Posts: 4,448
    It's all down to power to weight ratio and the more you practice the more powerful you will become and the more fat you should lose (if combined with the right diet).

    Don't eat less, just eat better - whole grains, pasta, rice, lean protein, plenty of fruit and veg. Try to get into the habit of only eating or drinking sweet things during or immediately after exercise or as part of a larger meal. Cut out fizzy drinks completely and drink water (or fizzy water) with meals.

    Of course some people's build and metabolism will always give them an advantage on hills. I think psychology also has a big role. I love hills because I know I am relatively good at them, which means I attack them with enthusiasm. If you dread them and think you are bad at them you won't enjoy the suffering like you need to... :wink:
  • pompeypoppypompeypoppy Posts: 182
    I also do hill repeats to try and improve my climbing. Find it useful to gauge my HRM and ensure I stay in an areobic zone until 100-200m to the top and then push hard.

    Sitting as upright as possible on the bike with hands on the bars also helped me regulate my breathing.
  • ShezzerShezzer Posts: 229
    neeb wrote:
    I love hills because I know I am relatively good at them, which means I attack them with enthusiasm. If you dread them and think you are bad at them you won't enjoy the suffering like you need to... :wink:

    Totally agree. There's so much to be said for getting your head right beforehand. If you're censored at hills then challenge yourself to get up em and feel good when you do. Take heart from the fact that although it may hurt you're getting better every time you climb. If you're already good at hills then you'll look forward to them cos they're what separate you (in performance terms) from your friends.

    I like a good hill. :D
  • shmoshmo Posts: 321
    It's all about the "pain face". The better you get at contorting your face into an expression of agony the faster you go uphill. Research shows that even just pulling back your lips and sticking out your jaw can be worth as much as 1.5KM/h*. Go practice in the mirror right now!

    *may be lies
  • Surf-MattSurf-Matt Posts: 5,952
    Shouting "GRRRRRRRR" while grimacing helps.
  • neebneeb Posts: 4,448
    It's all about the "pain face". The better you get at contorting your face into an expression of agony the faster you go uphill. Research shows that even just pulling back your lips and sticking out your jaw can be worth as much as 1.5KM/h*. Go practice in the mirror right now!
    :D:D

    Strangely enough, I am reading the new Fausto Coppi biography at the moment and have just reached the description written by the Italian writer Dino Buzzati about Coppi in the 1949 Giro:

    "Look at Coppi, is he climbing? No. He is just forging onwards as if the road were flat as a pool table. From a distance, you might say he is out for a blissful stroll. Close-to, you can see his face becoming more and more lined, his upper lip contracting like a rat caught in a trap... [he is] hermetically sealed in his own suffering."
  • MettanMettan Posts: 2,103
    softlad wrote:
    What tips would you offer for someone who wants to improve their climbing? Any particular exercises maybe?

    ride more hills. long ones, short ones, steep ones, steady ones, in the saddle, out of the saddle. we can talk about weight loss or power output all day long, but the most effective thing you can do to improve your hill climbing is to climb more hills.

    Agreed.
  • CHRISNOIRCHRISNOIR Posts: 1,400
    Shmo wrote:
    It's all about the "pain face". The better you get at contorting your face into an expression of agony the faster you go uphill. Research shows that even just pulling back your lips and sticking out your jaw can be worth as much as 1.5KM/h*. Go practice in the mirror right now!

    *may be lies

    Mint! :lol::lol:

    Also, keep it consistent - I've just spent around three weeks off the bike and the first thing I noticed on a spin last night was how hills I danced* up last month had me wheezing and gasping. The flats weren't too bad but my climbing was a bit shot.

    *(c) P. Liggett, 2009
  • shane515shane515 Posts: 139
    Nuggs wrote:
    I don't think there's any better exercise than practicing on hills.

    Find a big hill, ride up it. Roll back down and recover, ride up it again. Repeat until you can't see properly...

    Love it :twisted: ........Repeat until you cant see properly
  • neebneeb Posts: 4,448
    Attaching bricks to your pedals to compensate for an extreme leg length discrepancy won't help you on the hills you know.... :D:wink:
  • gtitimgtitim Posts: 225
    Just keep at it, also have a read of this
  • sicknotesicknote Posts: 901
    Nuggs wrote:
    I don't think there's any better exercise than practicing on hills.

    Find a big hill, ride up it. Roll back down and recover, ride up it again. Repeat until you can't see properly...

    For me thta is half way up the first one :wink:
    Getting better :)
  • Grazy81Grazy81 Posts: 196
    Totally agree with the pain face, it does seem to spur you on that bit harder it really shouldn't have an affect but it does seem to work :twisted:
  • guys I can't thank you enough for all the tips and advice - I can't wait to get on the road now! So the cocktail of things I should do over the next while includes:

    - focus on diet, eating healthier rather than eating less, and cutting out fizzy pop completely, with a goal of losing 1 lb a week
    - add more hills to my training and keep at it 'til I like 'em
    - work on a killer pain face

    Gotta go, I am going to start work on the killer pain face while watching today's killer TdF stage...
  • pabloweaverpabloweaver Posts: 444
    softlad wrote:
    What tips would you offer for someone who wants to improve their climbing? Any particular exercises maybe?

    ride more hills. long ones, short ones, steep ones, steady ones, in the saddle, out of the saddle. we can talk about weight loss or power output all day long, but the most effective thing you can do to improve your hill climbing is to climb more hills.

    totally agree, one the thing I have noticed is the psychological impact of having tackled harder climbs than my " norm". After undertaking sportive rides with some serious lumpy bits in them , I'm amazed at how much easier local climbs feel as a result. This is partly due to the fact that my fitness is better and that I have found a good technique that works for me but also the fact that I can look a local lumps and realise they are nothing compared to other I have been up ..takes the worry away and helps me up them.
    http://www.northcheshireclarion.co.uk/

    Great club in and around the Warrington area.
  • totally agree, one the thing I have noticed is the psychological impact of having tackled harder climbs than my " norm".

    I read this as I was watching the riders climb Ventoux today, and it really put things in perspective.

    The consensus here seems to be that climbing a variety of hills, including some harder ones, will put my less hairy climbs in a new perspective, and ultimately drive improvement. I just want to be cautious that I don't kill myself - or blow my knees out - while I'm doing it.

    Just out of curiosity - does everyone end up pushing it a little hard in their early days? Or can you level up climbing skills while keeping your knees intact?
  • neebneeb Posts: 4,448
    Just out of curiosity - does everyone end up pushing it a little hard in their early days? Or can you level up climbing skills while keeping your knees intact?
    I had some knee problems when I first started to get into serious cycling, caused partially by pushing too hard too quickly on hills and not having the setup right. Now I push just as hard but don't have any knee problems at all (touch wood). I think that's down to 1) getting the setup right, i.e. saddle and cleat position. This can be very important 2) not doing too much too soon - it takes your tendons / ligaments a long time (months at least) to fully adapt. If you are getting pain rest until it gets better, don't try to ride through it! 3) stretching after rides, especially the heel-on the-bum one and the figure-four one (they probably have proper names... :wink: )
  • dilemnadilemna Posts: 2,187
    neeb wrote:
    It's all down to power to weight ratio and the more you practice the more powerful you will become and the more fat you should lose (if combined with the right diet).

    Don't eat less, just eat better - whole grains, pasta, rice, lean protein, plenty of fruit and veg. Try to get into the habit of only eating or drinking sweet things during or immediately after exercise or as part of a larger meal. Cut out fizzy drinks completely and drink water (or fizzy water) with meals.

    Of course some people's build and metabolism will always give them an advantage on hills. I think psychology also has a big role. I love hills because I know I am relatively good at them, which means I attack them with enthusiasm. If you dread them and think you are bad at them you won't enjoy the suffering like you need to... :wink:

    Most sports nutritionists say not to binge on carbs immediately after exercise as the body stores it all as fat. One should wait 30-60 mins, take a shower clean up etc, drink a lot to rehydrate, then eat. But you should not eat refined sugars such as glucose anyway. Eat sugars that take time to break down such as fruit - bananas, dried fruit, whole meal rice or pasta and spuds but not too many.
    Life is like a roll of toilet paper; long and useful, but always ends at the wrong moment. Anon.
    Think how stupid the average person is.......
    half of them are even more stupid than you first thought.
  • neebneeb Posts: 4,448
    Most sports nutritionists say not to binge on carbs immediately after exercise as the body stores it all as fat. One should wait 30-60 mins, take a shower clean up etc, drink a lot to rehydrate, then eat. But you should not eat refined sugars such as glucose anyway. Eat sugars that take time to break down such as fruit - bananas, dried fruit, whole meal rice or pasta and spuds but not too many.
    What about the recovery drink then, I thought that was all about getting carbs into the system asap to help muscle repair?

    Or maybe I've been reading the wrong stuff.. :cry:
  • GarzGarz Posts: 1,155
    dilemna wrote:
    Most sports nutritionists say not to binge on carbs immediately after exercise as the body stores it all as fat. One should wait 30-60 mins, take a shower clean up etc, drink a lot to rehydrate, then eat. But you should not eat refined sugars such as glucose anyway. Eat sugars that take time to break down such as fruit - bananas, dried fruit, whole meal rice or pasta and spuds but not too many.

    Hmm. Eating directly after an intense ride I always referred to as the golden half hour where it doesn't really matter what you consume as it's gonna get burned up pretty fast. I would also have thought the longer you leave it to eat then the more chance of it being stored as fat as your body is adapting to conditions thinking it is preparing for another bashing.

    Any chance of producing some evidence as im curious now dilemna?
  • mhukmhuk Posts: 327
    I've read in numerous places to take 4:1 carb: protein within 2hrs of a hard ride (some say 4 hrs), at about 2-3g carb per kg bodyweight depending upon the energy expended -how hard did you ride and for how long. I take mine as soon as I get home (whey isolate and maltodextrin) with some L-glutamine and vitamin C.

    Many people take nothing "never done me any harm"... It's easy to find lots of info on google and make your own mind up.

    "One gram of carbohydrate yields four calories of energy; protein produces four calories; fat yields nine calories per gram".

    http://www.ultracycling.com/training/re ... part1.html


    "A carbohydrate beverage with additional protein calories produced significant improvements in time to fatigue and reductions in muscle damage in endurance athletes."

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15235331
  • sherersherer Posts: 2,455
    the best tip I can give is to learn what they call spinning. This is just keeping a high cadence, i.e get the pedals to turn a lot in a low gear and just keep going. Went from a 39 to a compact and this helped me, then went down to a triple and even better although i still struggle.

    If I get out of the saddle I also then go onto a smaller cog to get the benefit of pulling upwards with the pedals while standing
  • Rich HcpRich Hcp Posts: 1,355
    Practise hills and loads of miles under your wheels

    And then repeat
    Richard

    Giving it Large
  • taz3611taz3611 Posts: 172
    Lose weight. Eat properly. Better training.
  • StelliteStellite Posts: 544
    To climb quicker on your local route ensure there is some one else cycling up ahead of you half way up the hill then attack them, making out its easy for you. Then once out of sight (assuming you can see when you get to the top) have a rest on the free wheel down the other side :lol:
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