Sycling Snippets

by Bobby Nefdt

5. Sitting vs Standing on a Hill

Sitting on a climb is definitely more energy-efficient, especially when you get into a rhythm and you are alternating between using your quads and glutes (see article on Climbing Faster Part 2). However, there are times when you do need to stand in order to stretch your muscles.

Standing on a climb also demands technique. I have seen several riders, when standing, keeping their upper body still and the bike upright beneath them. When standing you should let the bike sway from left to right beneath you by holding the brake-levers and pulling on the bars, alternating with the left arm and then right. As you pull with your left arm lean onto your left leg and allow your bodyweight to push the left pedal down. Alternate with the right arm, leaning onto the right leg and allow your bodyweight to assist with the downstroke.

As your push down with one leg you should always remember to pull up with the opposite leg. Because standing uses more muscles you will tire quicker so you should not stand for too long a period. Standing is essential if you wish to accelerate on a climb, or when you crest a climb and you don’t wish to be dropped by the group. This is normally a short, hard effort and is usually not longer than 30 seconds. In general, it is always more energy-efficient to sit whilst climbing but standing on, and over short climbs will get you over faster. Standing on a climb, allowing the bike to sway from left to right under you, using your bodyweight to push the pedals down, is sometimes described by some as ‘dancing on the pedals’ – it is an effortless movement performed with effortless rhythm!