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Climbing, out of the saddle

JustinLeeAtkinsonJustinLeeAtkinson Posts: 335
edited August 2012 in Training, fitness and health
Ok, not really a training question per se, but note sure where else to pose the query.

I'm fairly good on climbs, but I find that when I am really pushing hard/sprinting, out of the saddle on a climb my back wheel lifts up off the floor each time my right leg pulls up on the pedal. My bike is about 7.8 kg, so not ultra light. Obviously all the time my back wheel is not in contact with the floor I am losing power/momentum. Its a tad annoying.

Anyone else get this? how do I solve it? The obvious thing would seem to be to add some weight to the rear of the bike, but that seems counter productive for climbing.
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Posts

  • whyamiherewhyamihere Posts: 7,547
    Shift your weight back slightly.

    This is where occasional mountain biking/cyclocross helps, because once you've learned to persuade a bike up a slimy muddy climb, you'll never lose traction on the road unless faced with sheet ice.
  • HerbsmanHerbsman Posts: 2,029
    It happens to me too... Just keep your weight over the back wheel, try not to pull up as much and it won't happen.
    CAPTAIN BUCKFAST'S CYCLING TIPS - GUARANTEED TO WORK! 1 OUT OF 10 RACING CYCLISTS AGREE!
  • neebneeb Posts: 4,445
    You need to learn to pedal more smoothly, so that the force on the cranks isn't quite as instantaneous on the downstroke. It's unlikely that it's the right leg pulling up that's the primary cause, more likely the left leg pushing down combined with a bit of frame/wheel flex and rebound. Some bikes seem to do this more than others, and I've never quite figured out if it happens more on stiff bikes or flexy bikes.
  • Tom DeanTom Dean Posts: 1,723
    Stick your @rse out
  • Thanks for the replies

    In reponse I find that I can get more power down on a steep climb by standing fairly upright and trying to do the pedal dance al la Contador! Compared to leaning forward over the bars (al la Evans say) I find the effort much easier. This does of course mean that I am mashing the pedals (would never do that on the flat of course). I'm not sure really how much technique could come into that? I'm using as much body weight as I can to force the pedals down as quickly as possible in a fairly big gear on a steep climb.

    I think the only way I could shift the weight back is by sitting down...

    I have tried leaning forward with my backside sticking out, but it hurts more to produce the same effort.

    Perhaps it could be down to the stiffness of the bike. Its the only carbon bike I've ridden so I have nothing to compare it to.
  • dw300dw300 Posts: 1,642
    Your technique could be flawless and a bad road surface will make your bike bounce across it, especially with very hard tyres .. are you sure its not just road surface?
    All the above is just advice .. you can do whatever the f*ck you wana do!
    Bike Radar Strava Club
    The Northern Ireland Thread
  • neebneeb Posts: 4,445
    You can still learn to pedal more smoothly even when you are out of the saddle and stomping. Try experimenting with different gears when you stand up (I assume you are already changing to a higher gear when you get out of the saddle?)

    I get this too sometimes and it's definitely not just the rear wheel bouncing over bumps, although that interacts with it - it's due to the rear wheel losing traction because it's unweighted and experiencing very sharp accelerations when you stomp on the pedals. And as above, I still think there is some subtle interaction with frame elasticity or lack of it which turns a "slip" into a "hop" or a "skip" (e.g., if the tyre loses traction when the rear of the frame is under elastic tension, this tension will be released suddenly, perhaps causing the rear wheel to jump sideways a little. Just a theory).
  • Zoomer37Zoomer37 Posts: 725
    Looser grip on the bars and don't pounce forward out of the saddle. As your censored is leaving the seat focus everything on pushing down hard on the pedals and not whats going on with your top half. This should naturally push you back just enough to have more weight over the BB which should stop the wheel bouncing everywhere.

    Practise sprinting up some gentle hills whilst hardly gripping the bars at all.. Your arms just used for steering the bike. You'll use less energy and everything just feels quicker.
  • vorsprungvorsprung Posts: 1,953
    When I'm sprinting or climbing a very steep hill my FRONT wheel lifts off the ground

    On sprints this isn't much of an issue and on climbs it's easy to correct by going out of the saddle
  • thiscocksthiscocks Posts: 549
    I'm sorry but I dont see how it is physicaly possible to lift the back of the bike up when you are out of the saddle going up hill. As mentioned you must have just been going over rough ground and your tyre might have deflected alot creating the impression the wheel was off the floor. Your upward pedal stroke doesnt affect what the rear wheel is doing at all.

    I can see (in extreme circumstances) how you could lift the front but not the rear.
  • Its true, wouldn't bother to make something like that up! Its not just deflecting off something on the road. It happens regularly at a particular part of the pedal stroke on different hills when I am really putting the power down.
  • thiscocksthiscocks Posts: 549
    So its wheel spinning?
  • dw300dw300 Posts: 1,642
    You've got to unweight before 6 o'clock with the pushing leg, but the pulling leg can pull right over the top .. wouldn't that result in an overall force on the drivetrain that is pulling the bike away from the ground?
    All the above is just advice .. you can do whatever the f*ck you wana do!
    Bike Radar Strava Club
    The Northern Ireland Thread
  • thiscocksthiscocks Posts: 549
    No, the other power pedal stroke would far outweigh any force from the upward pedal stroke
  • Tom DeanTom Dean Posts: 1,723
    If you train the upstroke enough you will literally fly up the hills.
  • P_TuckerP_Tucker Posts: 1,878
    Tom Dean wrote:
    If you train the upstroke enough you will literally fly up the hills.

    Literally?
  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    whyamihere wrote:
    Shift your weight back slightly.

    This is where occasional mountain biking/cyclocross helps, because once you've learned to persuade a bike up a slimy muddy climb, you'll never lose traction on the road unless faced with sheet ice.

    What he said. Just shift back a bit on the bike - ie not so close to the bars.
  • Tom DeanTom Dean Posts: 1,723
    P_Tucker wrote:
    Literally?
    dw300 wrote:
    You've got to unweight before 6 o'clock with the pushing leg, but the pulling leg can pull right over the top .. wouldn't that result in an overall force on the drivetrain that is pulling the bike away from the ground?

    Sounds like it to me!
  • If only I could fly...

    The thing is I dont see how I can get further back, I try to remain upright as much as possible, as opposed to leaning forward over the bars. I have more of my bodyweight pushng down on the pedal then. Any further back and I'll be attempting a wheelie...

    I'm going to experiment with less pressure on the bars though. I'll report back.
  • VelonutterVelonutter Posts: 2,437 Lives Here
    I have to admit that on short punchy climbs my back wheel always lifts, I'm making a conscious effort to keep my body weight back a little and try and dance on the pedals rather than brute force.
  • While human legs are quite adept at pushing down, they're not much good at pulling up. Doing so when you pedal is inefficient and, I suppose, could lead to an over-use injury; you can credit yourself with discovering the 'falling on your face when you climb standing' disadvantage of the technique. So... you should stop pulling up (pedal foot retention, just to clarify, is to stop your feet slipping off when you're pushing down hard. Nothing else).
    1968, human content on bitumen.
  • dw300dw300 Posts: 1,642
    While human legs are quite adept at pushing down, they're not much good at pulling up. Doing so when you pedal is inefficient and, I suppose, could lead to an over-use injury; you can credit yourself with discovering the 'falling on your face when you climb standing' disadvantage of the technique. So... you should stop pulling up (pedal foot retention, just to clarify, is to stop your feet slipping off when you're pushing down hard. Nothing else).

    This is excellent advice if you want to go uphill half as fast.
    All the above is just advice .. you can do whatever the f*ck you wana do!
    Bike Radar Strava Club
    The Northern Ireland Thread
  • dw300 wrote:
    While human legs are quite adept at pushing down, they're not much good at pulling up. Doing so when you pedal is inefficient and, I suppose, could lead to an over-use injury; you can credit yourself with discovering the 'falling on your face when you climb standing' disadvantage of the technique. So... you should stop pulling up (pedal foot retention, just to clarify, is to stop your feet slipping off when you're pushing down hard. Nothing else).

    This is excellent advice if you want to go uphill half as fast.
    So... having had a poke around your strava account... you mean to say that if I start pulling up I'll be able to go, I don't know, four times as fast as you? :lol:

    That was a cheap shot, but seriously, read this and when you do, try, try, try to engage your brain, however hard that may be for you. Sorry I'm mean, I just can't stop.
    1968, human content on bitumen.
  • P_TuckerP_Tucker Posts: 1,878
    dw300 wrote:
    While human legs are quite adept at pushing down, they're not much good at pulling up. Doing so when you pedal is inefficient and, I suppose, could lead to an over-use injury; you can credit yourself with discovering the 'falling on your face when you climb standing' disadvantage of the technique. So... you should stop pulling up (pedal foot retention, just to clarify, is to stop your feet slipping off when you're pushing down hard. Nothing else).

    This is excellent advice if you want to go uphill half as fast.
    So... having had a poke around your strava account... you mean to say that if I start pulling up I'll be able to go, I don't know, four times as fast as you? :lol:

    That was a cheap shot, but seriously, read this and when you do, try, try, try to engage your brain, however hard that may be for you. Sorry I'm mean, I just can't stop.

    oh_snap.gif
  • dw300dw300 Posts: 1,642
    dw300 wrote:
    While human legs are quite adept at pushing down, they're not much good at pulling up. Doing so when you pedal is inefficient and, I suppose, could lead to an over-use injury; you can credit yourself with discovering the 'falling on your face when you climb standing' disadvantage of the technique. So... you should stop pulling up (pedal foot retention, just to clarify, is to stop your feet slipping off when you're pushing down hard. Nothing else).

    This is excellent advice if you want to go uphill half as fast.
    So... having had a poke around your strava account... you mean to say that if I start pulling up I'll be able to go, I don't know, four times as fast as you? :lol:

    That was a cheap shot, but seriously, read this and when you do, try, try, try to engage your brain, however hard that may be for you. Sorry I'm mean, I just can't stop.

    tldr .. you mad brah? ;)
    All the above is just advice .. you can do whatever the f*ck you wana do!
    Bike Radar Strava Club
    The Northern Ireland Thread
  • dw300dw300 Posts: 1,642
    Ah censored it .. i'll bite ..

    Ok, first up .. post up your Strava account so we can indeed verify if you are in fact twice as fast as me .. I'd be pretty impressed.

    Secondly .. your link led to an article about seated cycling technique for long term 'efficiency' (if I can call it that without people getting their knickers in a twist) .. but the thread is called 'Climbing, out of the saddle', and deals with wheel spin. So I'm presuming that the OP is coming across this problem when the road is so steep that momentum and cadence is dying and he must get out of the saddle as high cadence is not longer an option. Either that or when he is mounting an attack. Either way, we are discussing a temporary situation far from that of steady, efficient, high cadence cycling.

    Lots of people wade into threads half way down page 2, and post info, that while correct, isn't appropriate to the situation, so I'll be the gentleman and overlook the personal slight.
    All the above is just advice .. you can do whatever the f*ck you wana do!
    Bike Radar Strava Club
    The Northern Ireland Thread
  • dw300 wrote:

    Secondly .. your link led to an article about seated cycling technique for long term 'efficiency' (if I can call it that without people getting their knickers in a twist) .. but the thread is called 'Climbing, out of the saddle', and deals with wheel spin. So I'm presuming that the OP is coming across this problem when the road is so steep that momentum and cadence is dying and he must get out of the saddle as high cadence is not longer an option. Either that or when he is mounting an attack. Either way, we are discussing a temporary situation far from that of steady, efficient, high cadence cycling.

    1. There shouldn't be any relevant physiological difference between pedalling standing and seated. There might be some difference in the distribution of the degree of muscle recruitment, but nothing that would suddenly make pulling worthwhile.
    2. Duration and intensity seem unlikely to be factors; they seem unlikely to change the fact that human legs just don't pull and push in combination as well as they can push. Of course, neither you nor I know for certain. It's a side issue, but if you don't think riders should pull up at any other time, how much value are they going to get from using virtually untrained muscles? Probably not much.
    1968, human content on bitumen.
  • dw300dw300 Posts: 1,642
    1. There shouldn't be any relevant physiological difference between pedalling standing and seated. There might be some difference in the distribution of the degree of muscle recruitment, but nothing that would suddenly make pulling worthwhile.
    2. Duration and intensity seem unlikely to be factors; they seem unlikely to change the fact that human legs just don't pull and push in combination as well as they can push. Of course, neither you nor I know for certain. It's a side issue, but if you don't think riders should pull up at any other time, how much value are they going to get from using virtually untrained muscles? Probably not much.

    I think we're arguing at cross-purposes to some extent here. You believe that long term pulling up is inefficient and may slow you down, which is a valid point .. but you seem to also be hinting that hamstrings and hip flexors should hardly be recruited at all. If you read back through your posts, you appear to be saying that a combination of pushing and pulling is fruitless and that pushing alone is best. Perhaps you could clear up if you believe this is the case at all times?

    I believe that recruiting hamstring and hip flexors is of value at times, especially when maximal torque is required, and that pulling across the bottom using them undoubtably makes you faster, as your article says. Again, I am also underlining this point due to my understanding of the situation the OP wrote the thread about, and my perceived value of extra torque in these situations.

    The value .. when max acceleration is a must, or when high cadence is not an option but you want to retain power .. ie. steep climbs when you have run out of gears, or don't want to shift gear. To accelerate to maintain cadence or not get dropped on a short sharp climb. Or when someone attacks or to start a winning sprint.

    Torque is the precursor to high cadence, the more torque you have the faster you get to the high cadence. I don't care if it's not more efficient in the long term, if you need instantaneous power then increasing the torque you put into the cranks is going to make you accelerate faster and reel in that attack or win that sprint. Once the acceleration is over you go back to 'pedaling circles'.

    Your research says that pulling up is not valuable in the long term, I agree with that, but you surely can't write off the advantages of creating maximum torque by using 2 muscle groups at once during the above situations. Riding a bike is never the same as in a science lab .. unless you're riding a totally flat TT with constant headwinds you're never going to be pedalling a a steady efficient stroke the whole time. Sometimes you will need to to whatever it takes regardless of 'efficiency', rather than what a scientific experiment tells you. Well, unless the experiment is relevant to the scenario. I'd be interested to read a paper or article on maximising your acceleration on a bike and what it says about muscle recruitment.

    I purposely wrote a short first reply because I didn't want to get into typing replies of this length, but I guess I brought having to explain my view on myself. My attention span is near it's end. If you just regurgitate the same points I'll probably not reply. That's my view ^ and I'm not that fussed if you don't agree.

    Are we going to see your Strava (or other) account at some point?
    All the above is just advice .. you can do whatever the f*ck you wana do!
    Bike Radar Strava Club
    The Northern Ireland Thread
  • Tom DeanTom Dean Posts: 1,723
    dw300, it goes: evidence first, then conclusions. You're getting it the wrong way round! (unless you are basing your opinion on your Strava times in which case I can't comment)
  • SlackSlack Posts: 326
    Why on earth have you guys gone into a debate about push/pulling on the pedals? Sorry if I've missed the point here, but isn't a smooth pedal stroke, in circles more efficient rather than trying to push and pull the pedals?

    Anyway, never come across the the back wheel skipping up before whilst climbing. The only time I've got my back wheel skipping up is with some untidy sprinting when chasing a bus. It seems like the op needs to concentrate on smoothing out the pedalling stroke. If the rider is positioned so far forward on a hill to get the back wheel jumping, then I imagine his/her knees would be hitting the handle bars. Good way to see how dodgy ones pedal stroke is, is to do some one legged cycling on the turbo trainer.
    Plymouthsteve for councillor!!
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