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Exercises to make me a monster climber?!

Old 10-05-19, 10:17 AM
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jrhoneOC
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Exercises to make me a monster climber?!

Iím 50 and got my first bike in decades last month. I wanna really enjoy XC mountain biking and that means hills and climbing. I have already started getting my body in better shape. I already lost 25 pounds, wanna lose another 20-30. I can only ride twice a week because of work and daylight but the rest of the week I am power walking (will probably step that up to jogging), weight lifting and treadmill interval training. Are there things that I can do that will directly translate to better climbing? I have started to add 15 minutes of treadmill walking at pace with extreme inclines to the end of workouts. That seems to directly work the thigh and calf muscles. I have some friends (half my age) that mountain bike and I wanna feel confident I can keep up on a intermediate ride. Donít want them to have to wait for the old man to get up the hill.
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Old 10-05-19, 11:02 AM
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The work you are ow doing seems to be to be on target. I would add that the foundation of all athletic activity is core strength in a similar way a solid foundation supports a tall building. The largest bone in the body is the pelvic girdle and every muscle attaches directly to it or is dependent on that connection further down a kinetic chain. There are many You Tube videos showing a variety of core exercises to try.
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Old 10-05-19, 11:24 AM
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Get a smart trainer and start doing climbing indoors on the bike. Use Zwift or Rouvy or The Sufferfest or whichever training software you'd like, they all come with free trials. After a winter of doing this when you get outdoors in the spring you'll feel like a beast.

Everything else you are doing is also good, but I'll go out on a limb and say once you have a smart trainer with software you'll stop using the treadmill.

The best way to train for hills is to ride hills.
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Old 10-05-19, 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by zacster View Post
Get a smart trainer and start doing climbing indoors on the bike. Use Zwift or Rouvy or The Sufferfest or whichever training software you'd like, they all come with free trials. After a winter of doing this when you get outdoors in the spring you'll feel like a beast.

Everything else you are doing is also good, but I'll go out on a limb and say once you have a smart trainer with software you'll stop using the treadmill.

The best way to train for hills is to ride hills.
Just looked at the price of trainers. Thats not in the budget as of now, some of those trainers are more than my bike! Lol. So aside from trainers....
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Old 10-05-19, 03:15 PM
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There is no exercise out there which will improve your climbing other than actually getting on your bike and hammering those hills and climbs. The best way to become a strong climber is to do a lot of hill climbs. One thing I can recommend is riding a singlespeed rigid forked MTB and use that to become a stronger climber. I've been riding singlespeed MTBs since 2008 and it has really made me a better climber and improved my overall bike conditioning.
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Old 10-05-19, 04:05 PM
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How about a set of resistance rollers? https://www.sportcrafters.com/produc...ve-pro-rollers

They're not cheap, but are a lifetime investment. Figure on at least a 30 year amortization. Does't look so expensive then. They don't wear out. I've been using my cheapie ones for 20 years, so at least 30,000 miles.

The nice thing about rollers is that you can put any future smooth-tired bike you might ever own on them and ride the same bike you'll use on the road, same gears, same tires, same everything. You just plop it on there and ride.

You can dial up the resistance just like on the road, by shifting.

I use three particular climbing workouts on them, once a week, year 'round: FastPedal (up to 120 cadence), one-legged pedaling (OLP), and low cadence high effort work (50-55 cadence). Cycling is a pedaling sport, so the better you are at pedaling, the better all your rides will be. Those aren't the usual climbing workouts people use, they're rather a foundation for everything.

There really isn't anything that works better than pedaling your bike. Cycling is a very specific activity.
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Old 10-05-19, 07:51 PM
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Find them and just ride them. Look up hill repeats, that will help you.
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Old 10-05-19, 08:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
Cycling is a very specific activity.
Then why should someone ride at an artificially high cadence, low cadence, or reduced number of legs?
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Old 10-05-19, 08:58 PM
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Originally Posted by asgelle View Post
Then why should someone ride at an artificially high cadence, low cadence, or reduced number of legs?
Indeed. Why should one do any intervals?
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Old 10-05-19, 09:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
Indeed. Why should one do any intervals?
Because one can accumulate more time at intensities one rides at than if the efforts were performed in a single piece. Iím not sure what that has to do with pedaling specificity though.
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Old 10-05-19, 09:18 PM
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Climbing speed is directly proportional to your power/weight ratio. You're addressing your weight so now you just need to build power. That's tough to do with only 2 rides a week. If that's all you can manage they need to be focused workouts ideally with some structure.

Riding hills is excellent but not necessary for building power. Doing structured intervals on the flats or indoors on a trainer take a little more discipline but still gets the job done.
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Old 10-06-19, 07:28 AM
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Originally Posted by jrhoneOC View Post
Just looked at the price of trainers. Thats not in the budget as of now, some of those trainers are more than my bike! Lol. So aside from trainers....
Yes, price could be an issue. The best alternative then is to lose more weight and ride more hills.
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Old 10-06-19, 07:40 AM
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Originally Posted by asgelle View Post
Then why should someone ride at an artificially high cadence, low cadence, or reduced number of legs?
They shouldn't unless they derive some pleasure from it that's unrelated to actual performance.

Old school silliness.
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Old 10-06-19, 07:40 AM
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OP, you need more power. Which means you need to ride and train more. No shortcuts.
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Old 10-06-19, 09:13 AM
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Some good comments. I was going to suggest repeats up Newport Coast drive starting at PCH. I have done that climb a lot. It is a solid 5 minute or so power climb that is not too tough and one can generate some speed. However, OP has a mountain bike with knobby tires and etc and probably needs more challenging off road terrain versus smooth roads.

A mountain bike on a trainer or rollers is a bit more complicated. Of course rollers work but one will need some type of resistance and the knobby tires are not suited for smooth rollers. The tires may wear too fast. Here is a link discussing mountain bikes and trainers / rollers. https://www.diymountainbike.com/mountain-bike-trainer/

The other aspect of climbing and mountain biking in general is skills. One needs skills to be a solid mountain biker and taking a course may offer value in making technical climbing easier.
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Old 10-06-19, 08:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
How about a set of resistance rollers? https://www.sportcrafters.com/produc...ve-pro-rollers

They're not cheap, but are a lifetime investment. Figure on at least a 30 year amortization. Does't look so expensive then. They don't wear out. I've been using my cheapie ones for 20 years, so at least 30,000 miles.

The nice thing about rollers is that you can put any future smooth-tired bike you might ever own on them and ride the same bike you'll use on the road, same gears, same tires, same everything. You just plop it on there and ride.

You can dial up the resistance just like on the road, by shifting.

I use three particular climbing workouts on them, once a week, year 'round: FastPedal (up to 120 cadence), one-legged pedaling (OLP), and low cadence high effort work (50-55 cadence). Cycling is a pedaling sport, so the better you are at pedaling, the better all your rides will be. Those aren't the usual climbing workouts people use, they're rather a foundation for everything.

There really isn't anything that works better than pedaling your bike. Cycling is a very specific activity.
Interesting point. Do the tires wear on those and spit out rubber dust? I had a fluid trainer and noticed rubber particles around it. Obviously an air quality problem. How is the tire noise on the roller? The trainer I had was too tire-noisy. The trainer itself was silent, but the tire noise wasn't good. I didn't buy specific trainer tires, though.
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Old 10-06-19, 09:44 PM
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Originally Posted by HerrKaLeun View Post
Interesting point. Do the tires wear on those and spit out rubber dust? I had a fluid trainer and noticed rubber particles around it. Obviously an air quality problem. How is the tire noise on the roller? The trainer I had was too tire-noisy. The trainer itself was silent, but the tire noise wasn't good. I didn't buy specific trainer tires, though.
Virtually zero tire wear. The large diameter of the rollers is the difference. Very little tire noise either, assuming smooth tires. I have Continental 4000 IIs tires, but any smooth tire will be the same. I run them at the same pressure I use on the road.
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Old 10-06-19, 09:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
Some good comments. I was going to suggest repeats up Newport Coast drive starting at PCH. I have done that climb a lot. It is a solid 5 minute or so power climb that is not too tough and one can generate some speed. However, OP has a mountain bike with knobby tires and etc and probably needs more challenging off road terrain versus smooth roads.

A mountain bike on a trainer or rollers is a bit more complicated. Of course rollers work but one will need some type of resistance and the knobby tires are not suited for smooth rollers. The tires may wear too fast. Here is a link discussing mountain bikes and trainers / rollers. https://www.diymountainbike.com/mountain-bike-trainer/

The other aspect of climbing and mountain biking in general is skills. One needs skills to be a solid mountain biker and taking a course may offer value in making technical climbing easier.
Another aspect is aerobic training. Pro MTBers spend a great deal of their training time on their road bike, but that's because they have their skills down. It's a balance between skills and aerobic/anaerobic power and endurance. If skills are lacking, more single track time. If it's power or endurance, more road bike time.
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Old 10-06-19, 10:09 PM
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Originally Posted by asgelle View Post
Because one can accumulate more time at intensities one rides at than if the efforts were performed in a single piece. Iím not sure what that has to do with pedaling specificity though.
It's analogous. When I train on my rollers, I usually train outside the envelope, whatever I'm doing.

I got the FastPedal interval schedule from Ed Burke. My exact OLP interval schedule from Ed Pavelka. The low cadence interval schedule also from Ed Burke. You probably have no respect for these "old time" riders, but they were pretty good.

Those who doubt effectiveness, just get on your rollers and do 40' of steady 115-120 cadence, staying in HR or power zone 2. Cool down for a few minutes and then try walking around. Lance used to do hill repeats alternating 50 and 100 cadence.

A bit of OLP in the last couple months before climbing season strengthens the hip flexors, which is good for taking most of the leg weight off the upstroke, increasing muscular endurance.

While you're on your rollers, try 2 minutes of OLP at your usual climbing cadence, zone 2, keeping a taut chain the whole time. It makes a difference on climbs. Of course if you can do all that no sweat no pain, you don't need to, but few of the ordinary cyclist folks that I know find it particularly easy.

These are simple fundamentals, which I try to get good at before I even start doing intervals in my year-long periodization.
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Old 10-07-19, 06:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
I got the FastPedal interval schedule from Ed Burke. My exact OLP interval schedule from Ed Pavelka. The low cadence interval schedule also from Ed Burke. You probably have no respect for these "old time" riders, but they were pretty good.
What did Burke or Pavelka ever achieve as a cyclists?
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Old 10-07-19, 08:52 AM
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Originally Posted by asgelle View Post
What did Burke or Pavelka ever achieve as a cyclists?
Just as I thought. Ego the size of a truck.
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Old 10-07-19, 09:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
Just as I thought. Ego the size of a truck.
It was a legitimate question. I know very well what they did as physiologist and editor, but as riders tell me what you think they did. After all it was their riding accomplishments you were citing in your appeal to authority.
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Old 10-07-19, 09:52 AM
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Exercises to make me a monster climber?!

Monster hills or actual monsters? For monster hills, the advice above is solid but for the real deal, find a high school wrestling coach that will let you train with the varsity, targeting a weight class one or two below heavyweight. (You need to be very strong, especially upper body, and have quick strength to pull off those climbs. Think rope climbs, hand over hand for 25 feet. You may have to do some kicking or punching while you climb.)
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Old 10-07-19, 12:09 PM
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Originally Posted by asgelle View Post
What did Burke or Pavelka ever achieve as a cyclists?
Pretty funny, anyway. Palmares might not be what you want to compare.

Well, let's see. Pavelka and his 3 buddies won the over-50 team division in the '96 RAAM, averaging 22.2 mph. Their RAAM record still stands. Pavelka also rode PBP in 57:35 in '91.

Pavelka and Burke wrote the book on long distance cycling, not as it were, but as it is: The Complete Book of Long-Distance Cycling: Build the Strength, Skills, and Confidence to Ride as Far as You Want
Pavelka has written many other books on cycling.

Burke was a huge influence in creating scientific cycling and coaching. Their palmares in '96:

"Edmund R. Burke, Ph.D., a leading expert on training and nutrition for bicyclists, worked with the U.S. national cycling team at the Olympic Training Center for more than 20 years. An endurance rider, he is currently professor and director of the exercise science program at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.
Ed Pavelka was executive editor of "Bicycling" magazine for 10 years and of "Velo News" for 8 years. He has written 20 bicycling books and holds two world records in ultra-marathon cycling. He is director of Internet content for Performance Bicycle in Chapel Hill, North Carolina."
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Old 10-07-19, 12:11 PM
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Originally Posted by asgelle View Post
It was a legitimate question. I know very well what they did as physiologist and editor, but as riders tell me what you think they did. After all it was their riding accomplishments you were citing in your appeal to authority.
I was off riding, missed some hours on BF.
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