Question: On a long climb, is it better to sit and spin or stand and crank? I can spin faster seated, but it feels better to stand from time to time. Which is better? — Art S.
Coach Fred Matheny Replies: This sounds like a simple question, but the answer is complicated. It depends!
A rider’s most efficient cadence is highly individual. There arenumerous factors, including muscle fiber type, fitness, body weight and the way you’ve trained.
Generally, heavier riders sit more because when they stand, they have to support their hefty weight while pushing the pedals around. The saddle provides this support when they’re seated, reducing the weight penalty.
Also, fast spinners on climbs have trained themselves to ride that way. Spinning isn’t necessarily a comfortable technique because it puts a heavy demand on the cardiovascular system. The pros don’t pant and gasp a lot, but you probably will.
Like every rider, you need to figure out which method is more efficient. I cover a lot of ground in this area in my eBook, Climbing for Roadies.
Many riders find that a mix of standing and sitting works best, especially on an extended climb. It sounds like you’ve discovered this and now need to determine the right ratio of being in and out of the saddle.