Question: I can climb for extended periods while seated. But if I stand, my legs tire immediately and I blow big-time. I can’t even resume seated climbing! Other riders stand for extended periods. How can I climb better standing? — Maurice H.
Coach Fred Matheny Replies: When you stand, your legs have to support your weight as well as pedal the bike.
But while seated, the saddle supports your weight, so all of your energy goes into pushing the pedals. That’s why very light climbers can stand without feeling any penalty, while heavier riders have to sit.
For many riders, standing causes a heart-rate increase of around 5 beats per minute to maintain the same speed. If you’re near your limit when you stand, you’ll definitely blow.
Still, it’s good to learn how to climb standing regardless of your body type.
Getting out of the saddle helps relieve leg-muscle tension and upper-body stiffness. It’s simply a matter of practicing as you climb.
Alternate standing and sitting on long climbs, gradually extending your time out of the saddle. Do some shorter climbs completely out of the saddle. You’ll improve.