Should I Sit or Stand While Cycling?

Should I Sit or Stand While Cycling?

The answer is that it depends. Standing while cycling is going to be less efficient. What I mean by less efficient is that your body will expend more calories to go at the exact same speed while standing. 

When should I stand while cycling?

When you want to reduce fatigue, for me, the purpose of standing while cycling is always to manage fatigue. Standing while cycling is going to engage different groups of muscles that might not be used otherwise. If you train with power, you will notice that your best ever power outputs will be when you are on varying terrain. This is because, for many efforts, muscle fatigue is the bottleneck.

I am going to tell you, on the hardest, most gear grinding climbs of my life, my ratio was 3:1 sitting to standing. That means for every 90 seconds in the saddle, I was out of the saddle for 30 seconds. I had no choice, I was forced to do this because my cadence (pedal stroke rpm) was literally so low that it was burning out my legs.

What is a good cadence for cycling up hills?

80-90 RPM is optimal. Anything below 80 and you are prematurely fatiguing your muscles. Anything over 90 and you're over-using your aerobic system.

How do you pace a hill climb?

Imagine you were going up a hill and you wanted to average 10 miles per hour for 30 minutes. The key is to finish at the top with more in the tank than at the bottom. I would pace it like this:

Time Speed Effort
Minutes 1-10 8 MPH Easier
Minutes 11 - 20 10 MPH Average
Minutes 21-30 12 MPH Harder

When should I not stand while cycling?

It is not ideal to stand up while going fast. You are going to have a huge aerodynamic penalty by standing. If you are in a rotating paceline, you may be able to get away with standing for a brief moment when you are at the very back of the paceline, and you're transitioning from rotating back to rotating forward.

How much less efficient is standing while cycling?

5-30% I estimate the power number to be somewhere around 30% on flats and 5-10% on the hills. That means to go at the same exact speed standing, you will need to expend more energy.

What are muscle groups used while standing and cycling?

When you stand and cycle, your contact points change. They go from pedals - > Butt -> hands to just pedals and hands. That means that every pedal stroke goes completely through your body. Without the strong platform created by sitting, you lose efficiency. Some of these losses can be mitigated by a really strong core.

Is it good to stand while cycling?

It is a good practice to stand occasionally. Regardless of what you're doing, it's beneficial to make your workouts more dynamic.

Why do cyclists lean forward?

This is done to reduce the frontal area of the cyclist. There was a point when the world record for cycling speed (the one-hour record) was done in what's called the "superman position." This gave the rider a huge advantage by minimizing his frontal area. Since drag increases with the square of the speed, drag is going to be your biggest limiter on the bike. 

What do cyclists ride behind each other?

Aerodynamics. A rider that is riding behind another rider will experience about 30% less aerodynamic drag than a rider riding alone. Another benefit is that the rider on the front also experiences less aerodynamic drag since the low-pressure area behind him that, in some ways, is sucking him back is reduced.

Why do I keep sliding forward on my saddle?

Your saddle is pointed down. This may be difficult to see with the naked eye, but your saddle is most likely pointed down a couple of degrees.

Should your feet touch the ground while sitting on a bike?

While your butt is on the saddle, it is unlikely that you'll be able to place your feet flat on the ground. There is no single answer to this, and this is not a really useful question. You should, however, be able to stand over your bike while not sitting.

How do I know if my bike seat is too high?

Hips rocking are an indication that your bike seat is too high. In most cases, dramatically too high. 

Is it better to have your bike see too high or too low?

Having a seat too low can cause knee pain. Having your seat too high can cause pain behind the knee. It all depends on what type of injury you're more susceptible to. 

Why does bicycle seat height matter?

There is an optimal point at which you are able to transfer power to your pedals. Too high or too low, and you will not transfer power as efficiently as possible. Too high or too low, and you will be uncomfortable and more susceptible to injury. 

Should your leg fully extend while pedaling on a bike?

No, it should not be 100% extended. This will create an excess of the "dead spot" at the bottom of your pedal stroke and create excess stress on your hamstrings.

Is 10 miles per hour a good cycling pace?

Yes, it's great, depending on the riding conditions. You would be surprised at how much sitting at a stop sign lowers your average speed. Going up hills as well will reduce your average speed dramatically. There are plenty of climbs and hills where if I was doing 10 miles per hour for an extended period of time, I would be waiting for a pro contract at the top.

How far should your seat be from your handlebars?

Typically, I set up my seat and handlebars such that when I am riding, if I look down at my front hub, that hub is obscured by the handlebars. That is just a baseline and is not absolutely perfect, but that is where I start and then make my adjustments from there.

Where should I sit on my bicycle saddle?

In the same way that standing will utilize different muscle groups, shifting around on your saddle also uses different muscle groups. I set up my saddle height such that I can ride the front, middle, and rear of the saddle and still be comfortable. I believe that for me to be the best height of a saddle. If you shift to the back and you feel like it's too high, then I usually drop the saddle a millimeter.

How much should I adjust my saddle at a time?

No more than 1 millimeter in any direction at a time. Usually, when I adjust my saddle, I move it the smallest increment possible and then go from there.

Should my saddle be higher than my handlebars?

The average road cyclist will say yes. Downhill mountain bikers may say no. Raising your saddle above your handelbars will increase your center of gravity. This will make going downhill more difficult because you will be more susceptible to flipping over your handlebars. However, you will also experience an aerodynamic advantage and be able to set up your pedal-stroke for more efficiency.

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