Seated Vs Out The Saddle Climbing – Which Is Better?

Seated Vs Out The Saddle Climbing – Which Is Better?


(logo whooshing) – Emma, I’ve been wondering, some cyclists seem to go better uphill when they’re standing, whilst others seem to go
stronger when they’re seated. – Yeah, that’s a good point. I always thought it was
just about the gradient, so obviously when it’s
steep, better off standing and if it’s a more draggy climb then you’re more efficient to stay seated. – [Chris] But yet you stand even on the slightest of gradients. What are you doing? Are you tryin’ to train for
the next presenter challenge that I’ve not been told about? Or are you tryin’ to look tall? – Well, it’s a good point, maybe it’s that but I dunno, it just feels better, I don’t feel like it’s any more effort, just feels more comfortable
standing, really. – Feel, since when did
you care about feel. I know that you only go for the science. – Yeah, good point. I think we need to do an experiment Chris. – Aha, I love experiments. So, we’re gonna be comparing seated versus standing climbing on
a not super steep gradient. And we want it to be as fair
an experiment as is possible so we will be doing our best
to control all of the variables and keep them constant. – Most importantly power and weight which means that we can’t
have coffee stop mid ride which is making me quite sad already. The other thing is that we
have to repeat it several times to make sure the result’s reliable. Given all those things, I think we need to choose
quite a short section of climb, otherwise we’re gonna be here all day and frankly, I already need a coffee stop. – Yeah, so with that in mind, we have measured out a
500 meter section of climb at around 8% gradient. But we will be checking all of that later when we upload our Wahoos
and get the results. – Yeah, and in terms of output, well it’s actually quite difficult to directly measure cycling efficiency. Like we’d have to be in a lab with masks and gas exchange measuring equipment and we can’t really do that on the road, especially not out here in beautiful Oman. So what we’re gonna do
instead is measure heart rate, both average for the segment
and final heart rate. That’s kind of the closest we can come to measuring effort we reckon. Does mean that we have to make
sure we’re fully recovered before we start each interval so that our heart rate
returns to baseline. – Yeah, that makes good sense and one final thing to note is that we cannot control everything. So for example our aero drag
will change when we stand up and ride out of the saddle because of course your frontal
area is getting much bigger. And the other thing, cadence
will be self-selected because you also tend to
pedal a little bit slower when you stand up. – [Emma] That’s a very good point. We didn’t talk about how
much power we’re gonna use. Like, watts per kilo, what d’you reckon? – [Chris] I think five
is a nice round number. – Five? I’m not gonna do five watts
per kilo for three reps. Four. – 4 1/2, in the middle. – Okay, deal. – So, we have found our perfect
climb for this experiment. Six laps, three seated and three standing in alternating fashion. It’s a short climb of around 90 seconds and a gradient of 4 to 8%. Great for easily repeated efforts. We will spin ’round at the top, roll back down to the bottom,
spin around and start again. So of course we need to
mark our starting spot and whilst the end of this
bridge is a great place, ideally you’d mark it with a
stone or something but, well. – [Emma] I’ll find a stone, hold my bike. – Emma, out of all the
choice you have around here. – There we go. Rolling start. We’ll do a rolling start
and gonna cross the line to start the effort at the right power. – Okay, let’s go. (upbeat music) It’s actually quite hard not
to go on the right effort. – Yeah, I think you were right about the five watts
per kilo I have to say. This feels so slow! – I hope that’s on camera,
Emma said I’m right! – [Emma] Why are you going
faster than me Chris? – Well, there’s a good reason.
– Same watts per kilo. – I know, there’s a good
reason for it though. Even though we’re doing
the same watts per kilo, the fact that I produce more,
it’s because I’m heavier and it’s not a steep gradient, will propel me faster up the climb and the total weight of myself and my bike also comes into play. As in, Emma’s bike is pretty
much the same weight as mine and she’s got less power to propel it. (upbeat music) Good work Emma, I quite enjoyed that. – Yeah, it felt like we
were doing real science. – Yeah, and exercise. – Can’t really tell anything from the data so better go back and we’ll do it later. – [Chris] Yeah, get the laptops out. – But next time, I’m
gonna weigh your bike down so that it weighs the same in proportion to your body weight as mine. – That is not a bad idea actually. – Don’t like getting dropped on the hills. – Nor do I, let’s go. – Well, we’re back, we’ve
written down the numbers, we’ve averaged the numbers. – And we have so many numbers now. – Yeah, a lot of numbers. And after all those numbers
and all that effort, I have to say that in my case,
fairly inconclusive results in that my heart rate was
ever so slightly higher seated than standing but within
the realms of error, really. – So I find that quite
weird because mine shows that my heart rate was on
average five beats per minute higher when I was standing, which was sort of what I expected to see. – Yeah, I mean that’s what
you’d expect from the theory because physiologically
it’s more effort to stand ’cause you’re using more
muscles in your back and your shoulders and your arms so it’s kind of, well it’s harder work so it’s physiologically less efficient. Which kind of makes me think why would a cyclist
bother standing up anyway? – Well that’s a good question
because I actually was slower when I was standing as well, despite doing a tiny bit
more power, around 1 1/2%. – I think it comes down to, like is efficiency always
the thing we care about? And it’s not, like there are situations where you don’t care
whether you’re efficient, you just need power. – Yeah, going fast or tacking
up a short, sharp climb. – Yeah, or sprinting in your case and definitely there’s
climbs that I’ve been up where I don’t care about efficiency, I just need to get up it. Like the Angliru, I just
needed every watt I had and I guess when you’re standing you bring your bum further forwards and you can exert more muscular force because it’s kind of a better position. – And even a feather weight climber like Emma still has 50 kilos of gravity helping assist the pedal going down. – Yeah, so basically you
can get way more power when you’re standing
than when you’re seated. So, yeah there are definitely situations where you need to stand but then on the other hand,
like you said earlier, I would stand even sometimes
when it’s not very steep, when it’s a gradual climb and. – That’s because cycling’s
a sport that you do on feel as much as anything else. Science is great but,
sometimes, if you wanna stand, you’ve just gotta stand. I would hate to ride
the whole climb forced. – Yeah, I mean would we change
how you ride based on this? – No, definitely not because
I didn’t like being forced to sit down or stand up. – Yeah and I agree, I love changing between seated and standing on climbs and you know, you gotta
feel good on a bike, you know, we’re not robots, we’ve gotta be able to ride on feel. – But it is good to train your weakness so if you’re not very good at standing, it’s definitely good to practice that whilst you’re out training. – Yeah and I have to practice seated power ’cause I don’t have much
of that so there you go. If you enjoyed this video,
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