Cycling climbs are known to be one of the toughest aspects of the sport. Even some advanced riders struggle with performing well on their climbs. Of course, the best thing that anyone can do to improve is regular and diligent training, but there are a few quick tips that might make that training go a little further on your next big ride.
4 Secrets for Great Cycling Climbs
- Relax your upper body: The more you tighten your upper body the less energy you will have for your climb. Tension in the chest will also make it tougher to get those large breaths you’ll need to keep your blood pumping. It’s a natural tendency to put tension in your upper body when you are struggling, but make an effort to keep your shoulders and chest relaxed.
- Poop… seriously: No, this isn’t a joke. Using the restroom before a tough ride will help you shed useless weight and reduce bloating. This can give you a decent edge during climbs. Another way to cut weight can be to empty your water bottles before a climb. Of course, don’t do this if you won’t have a chance to refill them later on.
- Lose weight, but don’t go crazy: Many cyclists are aware that losing weight will make them lighter and leaner for climbs, but going overboard with this wisdom will also limit the muscles you need to power on. Try a slow and steady diet that focuses on building lean strength.
- Alternate positions: Standing during a climb is not just for the final stretch. Good climbers will often alternate between sitting and standing. This can move the burden from different muscle groups and help get the blood flowing. Staying in one position can be a ticket to a mediocre climb.
Even if you go through the process of improving your climbs, it may never be your favorite part of the ride. Climbs are tough, but making just a few small improvements can make you a better cyclist and help you get more out of the sport you love.
Joshua Bonnici is a San Diego bicycle accident attorney and cycling enthusiast with a passion for serving victims of negligence.