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Spin class/climbing question

Jul 29, 2009
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Due to snow, ice, and salt on the roads, I have more or less given up on cycling over the next few months. I started adding a couple of spinning classes to my regular exercise regime, which I'm enjoying.

I'm in relatively good shape, but on the big side for a cyclist: 5'10", 195lbs. Mainly muscle and very big legs. While the spinning provides a good cardio workout and I can work on form, etc., I feel I'm missing the work of climbing. At my size, I was well aware that this was my weakness last summer/fall (my first on the road bike), and it's something I aim to work on in 2010. On the spinning bike, I'm never having to carry my weight the way I would outdoors and so adding the resistance for a "climb" is less of a challenge than it really would be, and my legs just keep churning without too much discomfort. The power is there.

The obvious answer is to shave some pounds, and I'm trying to do that, but are the spinning climbs actually going to make this easier for me in the spring or are there other exercises that could be targeting my climbing abilities?
 
Jan 14, 2010
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Climbing Preparation via Indoor Spin Bike

Dear Steampunk:

I also spend a bit of time on a spin bike in preparation for the road season. I have actually found the spin bike to be incredibly good preparation. My favorite intervals are 4 X 10min cruise intervals (at lactate threshold HR ~ 165 for me), and X30sec speed intervals (VO2 max work, HR ~180 for me). I generally stay away from the rev-heavy, jump-happy spin classes.

With specific regard to climbing, I find that steady, seated tempo (70-80rpm) at higher resistance really helps develop my hip flexors, critical climbing muscles, the muscles that lift the upper leg toward your body in a seated position. These hip flexors, namely your psoas major and iliacus, are located just above your quads. Focus on these hip flexors during your next indoor climbing interval. Put just as much emphasis on 'pulling up' as you simultaneously push down with the other leg.

I try to spend as little time standing on the indoor bike as possible. I feel that the standing position on an indoor bike poorly replicates the physiological dynamics of attacking out of the saddle outdoors.

You can also use resistance bands to specifically target hip flexors for strength training.

Bests!
Freegarv
 
Mar 12, 2009
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Spin class? Hand in your "Man Card"! :D

I jest of course. Nothing you need to do particularly for "climbing specific" workouts. Biomechanically and physiology there is no reason why going up a hill is any different to riding on the flats. Your aerobic power output is not affected by gradient.

Your power to weight ratio will determine how fast you climb however.