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Improving Climbing Power

al_kidderal_kidder Posts: 74
I'm sure I'm not the first person to think of this idea, so somebody here might have a useful comment.

To train for hill climbing, just riding up hills carrying some extra weight. That is, carry a pack with a few kilos in it or put on a rack and panniers to carry the weight.

It must have been done, so does it work?

Posts

  • doyler78doyler78 Posts: 1,951
    Or just pick a harder gear as it gets easier ie climb it quicker. No need to do what you are suggesting.
  • Zoomer37Zoomer37 Posts: 725
    If your new to cycling then your probably already carrying enough extra weight.

    If you want to improve your power up hills then ride up them more.
  • patchypatchy Posts: 779
    Zoomer37 wrote:

    If you want to improve your power up hills then ride up them more.

    Seconded.
    point your handlebars towards the heavens and sweat like you're in hell
  • Leg strength would be improved by weights/low cadence but that isn't going to be the problem, it is aerobic power. Ride lots and lots around or a bit under threshold. No alternative.
  • phreakphreak Posts: 2,163
    Zoomer37 wrote:
    If your new to cycling then your probably already carrying enough extra weight.

    If you want to improve your power up hills then ride up them more.

    You don't need to ride up hills to get better at riding up them, you simply need to improve your power/weight ratio. My climbing (and general riding) have improved no end this year and I've done maybe a handful of climbing repeats this year, with the bulk of my training done on the turbo.
  • PokerfacePokerface Posts: 8,640
    phreak wrote:
    Zoomer37 wrote:
    If your new to cycling then your probably already carrying enough extra weight.

    If you want to improve your power up hills then ride up them more.

    You don't need to ride up hills to get better at riding up them, you simply need to improve your power/weight ratio. My climbing (and general riding) have improved no end this year and I've done maybe a handful of climbing repeats this year, with the bulk of my training done on the turbo.

    Power to weight ratio is correct to a certain degree. But it also depends on how long you can maintain that power level. No point have a phenominal power to weight ratio for a 10-second sprint but be unable to maintain a 4 minute effort (like a track sprinter for instance).
  • phreakphreak Posts: 2,163
    True. Still nothing that really requires you to ride up hill to gain those strengths though. My training for the Mortirolo this year for instance has mainly been hour long tempo efforts on the turbo combined with nailing my diet. So far it's working a treat.

    There may be instances where cadence changes when you climb or something, but generally speaking I think you can replicate the types of work you do whilst climbing without going near a climb.
  • glasgowbhoyglasgowbhoy Posts: 1,341
    Having 15-20 min climbs near the house that I can do repeats on certainly helps psychologically when training for mountain events. Riding at near threshold is good but the position on the bike for me when climbing is different from powering on the flats.
  • jackmcdjackmcd Posts: 185
    I realise that needs must and all that - but getting better at climbs by doing them is why I cycle. A turbo trainer sounds a really dull alternative unless it really is pishing down outside...

    That said I am useless at climbs and can only manage about 3 repeats of my local 12% gradient. Aiming for 8 repeats by autumn...
  • Monty DogMonty Dog Posts: 20,614
    Whilst specific turbo sessions will help training your threshold, the only way to improve your climbing is to ride lots of hills. Glasgowbhoy is right in saying that you need to understand that short, steep hills are climbed differently from long, draggy ones and practise for each.
    If you haven't developed the core strength and fitness to climb hills, adding more weight will just make you slower, not better.
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • e999same999sam Posts: 447
    I've always found the best way to improve is to ride with someone who is just a little better than you. It's no good if someone is a lot better because they will just ride away on the hills it needs to be someone you can ride with but need a good effort to stay with them.
  • Adding weight just makes the climb take longer, which may be helpful if you are trying to extend the duration of your hill interval efforts, but it would require a lot of extra mass to add a decent amount of extra time (on steeper hills e.g. add 10% total mass and it'll take ~ 10% longer). Slowing down though may mean you run out of appropriate gearing.

    May as well just ride hard and do one extra repeat instead.
  • patchypatchy Posts: 779
    Monty Dog wrote:
    Whilst specific turbo sessions will help training your threshold, the only way to improve your climbing is to ride lots of hills. Glasgowbhoy is right in saying that you need to understand that short, steep hills are climbed differently from long, draggy ones and practise for each.

    Exactly - while the turbo will help your fitness, it's less useful for your technique.
    point your handlebars towards the heavens and sweat like you're in hell
  • nmcgannnmcgann Posts: 1,780
    Leg strength would be improved by weights/low cadence but that isn't going to be the problem, it is aerobic power. Ride lots and lots around or a bit under threshold. No alternative.

    I'd agree with that. I still think good leg strength is important, although a better description is probably "muscular endurance while applying high force".
    --
    "Because the cycling is pain. The cycling is soul crushing pain."
  • jocksyboyjocksyboy Posts: 135
    there is a significant psychological aspect to it too. That and the ability to suffer more than others and recover!
    When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race. ~H.G. Wells
  • ozzy1000_0ozzy1000_0 Posts: 144
    jocksyboy wrote:
    there is a significant psychological aspect to it too. That and the ability to suffer more than others and recover!

    I second that; keeping a "can do it!" head on your shoulders is very important, you can develop this by riding with faster people.... I'm no lance armstrong, but I've allways been proud of my ability to try somthing and suprise myself and others... I've only been back on a bike for about 9weeks (in the last decade) and last night went out with fast people... one guy got dropped but I hung on for a hilly 39miles with an average of over 20mph.... i'd say train with fast people to get faster, it not only helps you develop muscles but it also helps you learn to manage the "I can't do this anymore" and the "I give up" that can creap into your mind at points of stress...
  • PorkyboyPorkyboy Posts: 433
    phreak wrote:
    True. Still nothing that really requires you to ride up hill to gain those strengths though. My training for the Mortirolo this year for instance has mainly been hour long tempo efforts on the turbo combined with nailing my diet. So far it's working a treat.

    There may be instances where cadence changes when you climb or something, but generally speaking I think you can replicate the types of work you do whilst climbing without going near a climb.

    Absolutely right. I followed (and still follow) this approach and it got me round the entire TdF route in 2010, and that's a whole lot more climbing than many folks will encounter in 3 weeks. You don't need to train on hills to climb hills well.

    Q
  • phreakphreak Posts: 2,163
    Suppose it depends what you're training for as well. The hills in Britain are very different to the ones in Europe. Not many here that will see you climbing for an hour or so.
  • PorkyboyPorkyboy Posts: 433
    phreak wrote:
    Suppose it depends what you're training for as well. The hills in Britain are very different to the ones in Europe. Not many here that will see you climbing for an hour or so.

    Indeed so, the shorter the anticipated hills the higher the % of FTP one should be able to ride them at and therefore one needs to train appropriately for those efforts. Another huge factor is the number of anticipated climbs. Going over 3 HC climbs and maybe 2 C1 climbs in a day requires a very different approach to a ride of say 20 climbs none of which is longer than perhaps 5-8 minutes as is the case with many UK sportives.

    In the end it's about developing a high aerobic capacity, and that takes time, there is no quick fix, as you know.

    Q
  • jackmcdjackmcd Posts: 185
    ozzy1000_0 wrote:
    I've only been back on a bike for about 9weeks... a hilly 39miles with an average of over 20mph....

    There goes my psychological well being - I'll get my coat... I was chuffed at getting my average over a hilly 25 miles to over 14mph until I read that... :oops:
  • PorkyboyPorkyboy Posts: 433
    jackmcd wrote:
    ozzy1000_0 wrote:
    I've only been back on a bike for about 9weeks... a hilly 39miles with an average of over 20mph....

    There goes my psychological well being - I'll get my coat... I was chuffed at getting my average over a hilly 25 miles to over 14mph until I read that... :oops:

    Ah, not at all, it's all in the definition of hilly. One man's hilly is another man's flat, one man's rolling is another man's mountainous :wink:

    Q
  • ozzy1000ozzy1000 Posts: 73
    Porkyboy wrote:
    jackmcd wrote:
    ozzy1000_0 wrote:
    I've only been back on a bike for about 9weeks... a hilly 39miles with an average of over 20mph....

    There goes my psychological well being - I'll get my coat... I was chuffed at getting my average over a hilly 25 miles to over 14mph until I read that... :oops:

    Ah, not at all, it's all in the definition of hilly. One man's hilly is another man's flat, one man's rolling is another man's mountainous :wink:

    Q

    absolutely, and its totally different riding in a group, draughting makes a huge difference. i gues it wasn't that hilly :)

    http://connect.garmin.com/activity/92641668
  • PorkyboyPorkyboy Posts: 433
    ozzy1000 wrote:
    Porkyboy wrote:
    jackmcd wrote:
    ozzy1000_0 wrote:
    I've only been back on a bike for about 9weeks... a hilly 39miles with an average of over 20mph....

    There goes my psychological well being - I'll get my coat... I was chuffed at getting my average over a hilly 25 miles to over 14mph until I read that... :oops:

    Ah, not at all, it's all in the definition of hilly. One man's hilly is another man's flat, one man's rolling is another man's mountainous :wink:

    Q

    absolutely, and its totally different riding in a group, draughting makes a huge difference. i gues it wasn't that hilly :)

    http://connect.garmin.com/activity/92641668

    Ozzy, pretty hard work you were doing there having to work at 85% of your MHR for almost 2 hours :)

    Q
  • ozzy1000_0ozzy1000_0 Posts: 144
    Porkyboy wrote:
    ozzy1000 wrote:
    Porkyboy wrote:
    jackmcd wrote:
    ozzy1000_0 wrote:
    I've only been back on a bike for about 9weeks... a hilly 39miles with an average of over 20mph....

    There goes my psychological well being - I'll get my coat... I was chuffed at getting my average over a hilly 25 miles to over 14mph until I read that... :oops:

    Ah, not at all, it's all in the definition of hilly. One man's hilly is another man's flat, one man's rolling is another man's mountainous :wink:

    Q

    absolutely, and its totally different riding in a group, draughting makes a huge difference. i gues it wasn't that hilly :)

    http://connect.garmin.com/activity/92641668

    Ozzy, pretty hard work you were doing there having to work at 85% of your MHR for almost 2 hours :)

    Q

    LOL! tell me about it! I thought I was going to have a heart attack.. I'm 34 and the highest I've ever seen my heart was 193bpm... until this ride :) I was sprinting on a very slight decline trying to pull three of us back to the main group, 201bpm!....it made me dizzy :)
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