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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Riding today I noticed I had an unbearable burn when standing and pedaling in the same gear I was spinning in before the hill. I tried to push through it but it was too much, with in 10seconds I has to sit down.

Normally I stand and mash a hard gear with no problems. Usually gear up a few before the hill. I can keep that up for a solid 45 seconds untilly HR goes to high, but never burns in the legs.

Any one else with this issue? My assumption is in the easy gear I have to hold back the power. In the harder gear I can put my weight into it.

Any reason to train the easy gear while standing I dont recall ever using that technic when mountain biking. Just seems to be a road thing.
 

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A better way to look at this would be to consider how much power you'd need to produce in each situation.

If you're riding along on the flat in a particular gear at a steady speed then this requires less power than if you were to try and ride uphill at the same speed in the same gear. As the hill gets steeper then you have to push harder on the pedals and put out significantly more power if you want to continue travelling at the same speed uphill.

What may feel like an easy gear on the flat isn't going to be an easy gear riding uphill. The steeper the hill the harder it will be to keep going without changing down into a lower gear. The burn you feel is most likely from the extra effort that you're putting in.:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the reply. I maybe wasnt as clear as I could be.

In order for me to stand and mash (talking road training here) I have to go atleast 2 gears harder then the gear I was using on the flat. The easier the gear the more burn I have when standing.

Now I guess the question is is there ever a need to stand in an easier gear to get up a hill when I could get up it in a harder gear, assuming it would be faster.

Is that making any sense?
 

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Riding today I noticed I had an unbearable burn when standing and pedaling in the same gear I was spinning in before the hill. I tried to push through it but it was too much, with in 10seconds I has to sit down. .
I encountered a similar issue 2 days ago on my road bike. I was cranking along a spinning pace seated and then the grade went up just a touch and I stood and hammer. However my legs blew up fast. I think what happened is that I over cadence by my standing leg muscles. I can stand can mash away, but I can't keep a high 85-90 rpm cadence standing. 50-70 rpm seems to work better as I can get my entire both in conjunction with my legs that can really work well. However if I try to stand and spin too fast I does not seem to work well for me. Then again I could be a situation where more training will help develop those muscles better.
 

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My issue with the harder gears is that my heart rate gets up pretty quickly when standing in the harder gear.
The most efficient way to ride uphill is by staying seated. When you ride out of the saddle you can usually produce more power, but it also takes more energy and can't be sustained for as long as climbing in the saddle.

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Should You Sit or Stand When Riding Uphill?

Studying Positions on the Bike
One of the earliest studies was performed by researchers at the University of Colorado and published in 1996. Seven competitive cyclists completed graded exercise tests in both seated and standing positions to determine their VO2max in each. Various measurements were also taken in both positions at a speed of 20 kph on a four-percent gradient and at a speed of 12.3 kph on a 10-percent gradient.

They found that heart rate and oxygen uptake were significantly higher when cyclists pedaled out of the saddle at the higher speed on the shallower gradient, but that there were no differences between the two positions at the lower speed on the steeper gradient. However, the cyclists did rate the perceived exertion of their legs as lower when standing on the pedals on the steeper climb.

The study's results suggest that cyclists can work just as hard in either climbing position, but are more efficient when climbing in the saddle on shallower hills. On steeper hills, climbing feels easier in the standing position.

This last result confirms the experience of everyone who rides a bike: You start a climb in the saddle and stay there as the strain in your legs increases, until it becomes too uncomfortable and you then stand on the pedals, which, thanks to the added gravitational force of your full body weight on the pedals, takes some of the strain off your poor quads.

Pedaling for Peak Power and Performance
A 2002 study by French scientists approached the matter from a different angle. They compared the gross efficiency (the energy cost of turning the pedals) and economy (the ratio of metabolic energy expenditure to power output) of eight cyclists climbing in both seated and standing positions at 75 percent of peak power output and also measured peak power output in both positions in 30-second sprints.

They found that gross efficiency and economy were similar in the two climbing positions, but peak power was significantly greater when cyclists stood on the pedals. Just as you must stand on the pedals to sprint on level ground, you must also get out of the saddle to maximize your power on climbs.

The most recent study comparing seated versus standing climbing on the bike looked at the all-important matter of performance. Researchers from the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences had 10 cyclists perform rides to exhaustion at various percentages of their individual VO2max power (Wmax) on a 10-percent grade.

Based on the results they concluded that, "In general, cyclists may choose either the standing or seated position for maximization of performance at a submaximal intensity of 86 percent of Wmax, while the standing position should be used at intensities above 94 percent of Wmax and approaching 165 percent of Wmax." (Note that Wmax corresponds roughly to the maximum power output sustainable for six minutes.)

Taken as a whole, the research on seated versus standing climbing suggests that neither climbing position is strictly preferable to the other. Standing on the pedals requires a little more energy and produces a little more power, so it's a faster way to climb for shorter stretches. And because it uses more of the body to generate force, the standing position provides a way to give the thigh muscles a brief relative rest during longer climbs.

You can trust your sense of body awareness to tell you whether remaining in the saddle or standing is the best way to climb a given hill. Your body's "message" telling you to stand or sit is not much different from your internal feel for pacing-those sensory messages telling you to slow down, speed up or hold steady. The more climbing experience you gather, the more reliable these messages will become.

I believe there is a place for staying in the saddle when your body tells you to stand and remaining out of the saddle when your body tells you to sit in the course of your training. When you climb hills in your everyday rides and perform climbing intervals, choose some occasions to stay seated from bottom to top, even when pushing big watts; and use other occasions to keep your butt off the saddle the whole way, even on sustained climbs lasting several minutes.

Testing the limits of your ability to climb in both positions will make you a stronger all-around climber. Matt Fitzgerald

http://www.active.com/cycling/articles/should-you-sit-or-stand-when-riding-uphill

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My though is that I have to use my legs to hold back when standing in an easier gear.
Standing climbing in an easy gear has never struck me as a particularly useful technique, except maybe just to change position on my back for a few seconds sometimes. The difference is that in seated climbing most of your body weight is supported by the contact points of the saddle and grips, while standing this changes to weight mostly supported by the pedals and grips. That's why standing climbing in an easy gear just doesn't work well biomechanically, as it requires you to resist putting your full weight down to the pedal on the front of the stroke to keep the pedaling from being very choppy i.e. more of the weight stays on the back pedal instead of driving forward to the front pedal (which is what might be causing that burn you describe). That's a very odd and inefficient situation which is to be avoided. Very experienced riders can make it look smooth enough at times, but it's not going to help win races.

My issue with the harder gears is that my heart rate gets up pretty quickly when standing in the harder gear.
Is that a bad thing? That's generally how XC races are won, by making good time on the climbs via intense efforts with accompanying increase in heart rate. If you can snap back to a condition that allows you to proceed onward to the next section of trail at a good pace without needing too long for recovery then you're good to go. Or, if you can't recover very quickly then you have to consider whether you're hitting the climbs too aggressively, regardless of technique.

Learn with practice how to be efficient both sitting and standing, and do so using whatever intuitively feels like the right gears instead of trying to force a square peg into a round hole with inefficient gearing for the situation.
 

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practice standing high cadence/sitting/alternating on a stationary bike.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
So it sound like what I have noticed is normal with just about every rider.

I was very happy the I had no burn at all on a large steep road climb in a hard gear. And like Circlip said, there really isnt a need other then to switch up positions, but on a MTB I dont see the need for it.
 

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I was really impressed while watching the Tour De France this last year. When Quintana suddenly burst forth on the Col de Pailheres stage and stunned everyone; he did a fair bit of riding out of the saddle. His technique was very smooth and you could tell he knew how to control his HR while in this powerful position. He stood up and tall as he could right over his feet and basically worked his body into a jog-like motion, shifting his weight back and forth. I have tried to practice this same technique whenever I do a hard road hill climb. I am trying to build my stamina so I currently can't do it as well as I would like, but I have noticed a big improvement over my previous efforts. So I wonder if your body position/technique might need an adjustment? Maybe I am totally wrong with what you are describing though....
 

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For what it is worth, I can climb like a goat on EPO on the road if standing out of the saddle. The problem is that this does not translate perfectly to mountain bike racing.

There are just too many segments when you just have to sit and climb during a mountain bike race. For this reason, I am a much better climber on the road where I can stand and put down serious watts. Dumb...considering that I train on the road so that I can race mountain bikes.

This last season, I focused on remaining seated on my road bike more during long steep climbs. If I am gunning for a KOM on my road bike, then I will never stay seated. I just don't have the power to remain seated yet.

I see pros like Cancellara that can put out serious watts in the saddle (see Flanders) and pretty much remain seated 95% of the time on super steep stuff.

In my experience, it seems natural that one would enter anaerobic state a bit faster if standing and going hard. The reason is that standing requires the use of your upper body AND lower in a big way. The combination of the two = more stress to the system.

Crap! I better keep working on staying seated.. Staying seated is probably more efficient imo IF you have the power to do so.

I specifically geared my road bike lower so that I can stay seated and NOT be forced out of the saddle so much.

Just my .02
 

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the one weird trick to learning how to dominate standing is: standing a ton while working out. if you want points, take your seat and seatpost out, then do a ride.
 
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