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Indoor Cycling Workouts To Improve Your Climbing Ability

Liam Hallam is a sports science graduate. He is also a keen cyclist as well as being a lover of the Derbyshire Dales and Peak District.

Cycling Workouts to help you be a better climber

For many cyclists- you can either climb, or you struggle when the road starts to go upwards

For many riders climbing is a natural ability. They are often exceptionally slim and have excellent power to weight ratios to allow them to really power up climbs. However for many of us that ability is not present and we really need to concentrate on our workouts to develop our climbing abilities.

You need the right cycling workouts for when the road goes upwards

A Langdale Cycles rider climbing in the East Midlands Divisional Road Race 2012.

A Langdale Cycles rider climbing in the East Midlands Divisional Road Race 2012.

Great indoor cycling workouts to improve your climbing

When it gets dark, cold and wet outside it can be de-motivating. By settling up a structured periodized training programme for cycling you can add focus to your cycling year. You can implement cycling workouts to devlop your climbing abilities throughout your whole training year- especially if you consider your climbing to be a weakness.

Below are a selection of indoor cycling workouts to help you develop your climbing abilities for when the road goes upwards.

The great thing about these workouts are that they can be completed on a stationary exercise bike, a spinning bike or a bicycle fitted to an indoor trainer

You need to be able to climb for mountain biking

Mountain biking can involve lots of rolling climbs to prepare for- whether you race or do it for fun at the weekends

Mountain biking can involve lots of rolling climbs to prepare for- whether you race or do it for fun at the weekends

Indoor Cycling Workout 1- Rolling Climbs. (Pyramid Climbs)

This workout is a great as part of a spinning workout with the right melodic deep base music with a moderately quick beat.

Alternately set up your racing bicycle on an indoor bike trainer with a moderate resistance level.

Work intervals for pyramid climbing

Start in an easy gear at a cadence of 80-90 rpm while sat in the saddle pedalling

Every 15 seconds increase the work load by either increasing the tension on the spin bike or shifting up a gear on your bicycle.

Continue to remain seated until you can no longer maintain a pace of 80 rpm sat in the saddle. Once that becomes difficult- stand up and continue increasing the pace every 15 seconds.

Continue until you can no longer maintain a cycling workout cadence of 80 rpm. When you can no longer do so.

Every 15 seconds take off a little bit of tension off the flywheel of the spinning bike or drop to an easier gear if you're riding your road bike on an indoor bike trainer.

Return to starting workload

Repeat 5 times in total.

How your pyramid climbing workout should look

An ideal on how your pyramid climbing (rolling climb) workout could look. Based on riding a bicycle trainer with a prgressive level of resistance (Such as a Kurt Kinetic Magnetic Trainer). Values are a guestimation and therefore will depend on the ex

Time (cumulative)DescriptionGearCadenceDifficulty

0-10 mins

Warm Up

Progressing from 39x21 through the cassette

90-120 rpm

Easy up to moderate

10:15

Starting climbing seated

53x21

100 rpm

Moderately easy- feels like an easy climb

10:30

Continue seated

53x19

95 rpm

Starting to get a little harder

10:45

Continue seated

53x18

90 rpm

Moderate workload

11:00

Continue seated- getting harder

53x17

85 rpm

Getting harder

11:15

Feeling harder to remain seated

53x16

80 rpm

Difficult maintaining cadence, ready to stand

11:30

Stand up and pedal

53x15

90 rpm stood

Stood up- feels easier than seated

11.45

Continue stood pedalling

53x14

85 rpm stood

Getting harder

12:00

Starting to be difficult to maintain 80 rpm

53x13

80 rpm stood

Really hard

12:15

Drop down a gear and remain stood

53x14

80 rpm stood up

Hard to continue. Difficulty pedalling

12:30

Continue stood pedalling

53x15

85 rpm standing pedalling

Still hard but easing

12:45

Easing off stood up pedalling

53x16

90 rpm pedalling

Easing but hard to keep going

13:00

Drop back into saddle

53x17

80 rpm seated

Easing, now ready to sit

13:15

Starting to feel easier

53x18

85 rpm seated

Easing, can now pedal fluidly

13:30

Easing off seated

53x19

90 rpm seated

Easing

13:45

Easy seated

53x21

95 rpm seated

Easy pedalling

14:00

Restart Interval- 2

 

 

 

18:00

Restart Interval- 3

 

 

 

22:00

Restart Interval- 4

 

 

 

26:00

Restart Interval- 5

 

 

 

30:00- 40:00

Cool down

Drop down through gears 39x 15 and getting lower

100+ rpm

Moderate going down to easy workload

How your pyramid training might look visually

Graphical representation of a pyramid climbing workout

Graphical representation of a pyramid climbing workout

Indoor cycling workout 2- Climbing the big mountain passes

When you watch cyclists in races like the Tour De France or Tour of California- the climbs aren't over in a few minutes like in workout 1. They go on for mile after mile. Therefore when you're in the mountains you have to be able to get in a rhythm as the kilometres tick away.

Whether you're implementing this into a spinning bike workout or a training session on your turbo trainer this is a relatively straightforward workout that needs minimal adjustments to the resistance throughout.

Climbing in the high mountains is a highly aerobic cycling ability to train. Therefore this workout focuses on aerobic threshold to enhance the ability to use oxygen to power your riding as the road heads upwards.

Cycling workout recipe for high mountain climbing success

  1. Warm up for at least 10 minutes. Start relatively easy and build up to a moderately high intensity with your heart rate peaking at the high end of your aerobic zone. Keep cadence high at 100-120 rpm
  2. Complete a 6 minute seated work interval pedalling at around 80 rpm. This may feel un-natural at first, however will becoming more natural during the course of the workout. Heart rate should be mainly aerobic throughout however there's nothing wrong if it pushes slightly into your aerobic zones- simply ease off slightly
  3. Recover for 3 minutes in an easy gear, spinning the legs at around 100-120 rpm. Heart rate should be steadily decreasing throughout your recovery interval
  4. Repeat step 2 a further 5 times, recovering for 3 minutes after each interval.
  5. Cool down for 10 minutes minimum after your final work interval.

How your climbing workout should look

An ideal on how your high mountain climbing workout could look. Based on riding a bicycle trainer with a prgressive level of resistance (Such as a Kurt Kinetic Magnetic Trainer). Values are a guestimation and therefore will depend on the experience a

Time (mins)DescriptionGearCadenceDifficulty

0-10:00

Warm Up

Progress from 39x21 through the cassette

100-120 rpm

Easy towards moderate to preapare for hard workout

10:00

1st climbing interval- Seated

53x15

80-90 rpm

Moderately tough yet remain aerobic

16:00

Recovery Interval

39x15

100-120 rpm

Ease off pace and let legs spin to recover

19:00

2nd seated climbing interval

53x15

80-90 rpm

Moderately tough yet remain aerobic

25:00

Recovery Interval

39x15

100-120 rpm

Ease off pace and let legs spin to recover

31:00

3rd seated climbing interval

53x15

80-90 rpm

Moderately tough yet remain aerobic

34:00

Recovery Interval

39x15

100-120 rpm

Ease off pace and let legs spin to recover

40:00

4th climbing interval

53x15

80-90 rpm

Moderately tough yet remain aerobic

43:00

Recovery Interval

39x15

100-120 rpm

Ease off pace and let legs spin to recover

49:00

5th climbing interval

53x15

80-90 rpm

Moderately tough yet remain aerobic

52:00

Recovery Interval

39x15

100-120 rpm

Ease off pace and let legs spin to recover

55:00

6th climbing interval

53x15

80-90 rpm

Moderately tough yet remain aerobic

61:00- 71:00 (and finished)

Cool Down

Slowly lowering gears from 39x15

100-120 rpm

Steady recover back to easy pace

 

 

 

 

 

Rate these workouts

What do you think to these indoor cycling workouts?

We're always looking for your feedback. Please feel free to leave a comment below- positive or negative.

  • Did these workouts help you
  • Would you change anything?
  • Do you have any workout suggestions you'd like to see on hubpages?

Many Thanks

CyclingFitness

Comments

dobo700 from Australia on April 04, 2013:

Thanks for the tips, I'm new to cycling and looking to improve my riding.

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