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  1. #1
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    How much Out of the saddle

    I'm middle aged on only recently have gotten into cycling - but over the past couple years I've ridden quite a bit - average 50-100 miles per week - mostly flat stuff.

    I got Zwift over the winter to ride and notice that I cannot be out of the saddle for very long. I didn't think much of it. I'd see other riders where the graphics look like they're out of the saddle on hills - but I usually just switched to an easier gear. Are those other riders really standing on those hills the whole time?

    Well now I'm noticing that my quads I think are getting over developed in comparison to my hamms and glutes. I've had some lower back issues and my physical therapist told me my glutes are way way too week compared to other leg muscles.

    Should I be training more out of the saddle? Would that work more leg muscles than just my quads?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmcg333 View Post
    Should I be training more out of the saddle? Would that work more leg muscles than just my quads?
    That depends on the bent angle at the waist. More it's bent, more glutes and hams will be used. For glutes and hams development, do dead-lifts. If weights are not available, do lunges and straight leg hamstring curls (bend down & up with legs straight) without weights.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmcg333 View Post
    I got Zwift over the winter to ride and notice that I cannot be out of the saddle for very long.
    What do you define as "very long"?


    I'd see other riders where the graphics look like they're out of the saddle on hills - but I usually just switched to an easier gear. Are those other riders really standing on those hills the whole time?
    It's a video game. There's no method for determining that someone is standing. It's just a guess. You can't compare anything between yourself and others on zwift.
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  4. #4
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    Just do what works best for you. Generally speaking standing to climb works out better for lighter riders but there's not right and wrong for anyone.

    If you think you should do what you see other doing in a video you might want to consider some videos of the guy who won the last couple TDFs. I can't recall Froome ever climbing anyway but sit and spin.

  5. #5
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    Smaller people tend to do better out of the saddle when climbing, though there are exceptions to the general rule. Some people just don't do well when standing. And even for those who do well, it is usually going to burn energy WAY faster than sitting.

    Should you train by standing? To me, that tends to bring MORE quads in, while hams and glutes are more in the drops. So you ride in the drops? Or mostly on the hoods?

    Do you do other training? Some resistance training might be in order to bring you back in balance as bvber suggests. Or you might think about your pedal stroke, where you might be mashing (quad heavy style), and seek to alter that a bit. That will slowly bring things back in balance, but I would do some resistance training to jumpstart the process, were it me.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by QuiQuaeQuod View Post
    Smaller people tend to do better out of the saddle when climbing, though there are exceptions to the general rule. Some people just don't do well when standing. And even for those who do well, it is usually going to burn energy WAY faster than sitting.

    Should you train by standing? To me, that tends to bring MORE quads in, while hams and glutes are more in the drops. So you ride in the drops? Or mostly on the hoods?

    Do you do other training? Some resistance training might be in order to bring you back in balance as bvber suggests. Or you might think about your pedal stroke, where you might be mashing (quad heavy style), and seek to alter that a bit. That will slowly bring things back in balance, but I would do some resistance training to jumpstart the process, were it me.
    That is my observation as well that lighter riders are the ones the stay out of the saddle more. My experience, at 6'2" and 185lbs, is that I almost never get out of the saddle unless its to get over a very steep section.

    To the OP, do what works for you, just because others climb out the saddle that should not influence what works for you

  7. #7
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    I'm an average sized person (5'10', 165 pounds) but I just don't like getting out of the saddle. I just shift to a lower gear if I'm going up a hill, as I'm more comfortable sitting and spinning like that to ascend then trying to mash it out in a higher gear and standing. But if you want to "dance on the pedals", as Phil Liggett would say, that's fine too...to each their own.

  8. #8
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    the weightweenies are the ones who like to dance on the pedals. They have less body weight to shift when out of the saddle. For big buys, they have too much weight to be shifting side to side when out of saddle, result in less efficient use of energy. Another way think about his is small guys have smaller engines, but easier to turbo charged out of the saddle. Big guys means bigger engine, and big engines don't like to be turbo charged because they will fail!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by QuiQuaeQuod View Post
    Smaller people tend to do better out of the saddle when climbing, though there are exceptions to the general rule.
    This is essentially it. Lighter weight means it is easier to be standing though it obviously is individual as well. Everyone should obviously have the ability to do this, but lightwieght folks might be standing a fair bit on a climb whereas heavy folks would probably only benefit from standing to either stretch the body or power over a short steep section.

  10. #10
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    I weigh 135-140lbs depending on seasons and I might spend 4min out of a 150min ride standing. It’s less about weight than it is about preference and favored muscle recruitment. In fact since climbing out of the saddle expends more energy sawing the bike back and forth, I’d argue that light riders are at a bigger disadvantage since the bike weight is a larger proportion of the system weight.
    Last edited by ceugene; 1 Week Ago at 06:07 PM.

  11. #11
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    Standing takes practice & training. I'm medium size and if it is steep and somewhat shorter, I'll stand. If it's steep and medium long, I'll stand most of the way about 1/2 the time. It's easier for me to hit 90%w standing than 90%w sitting, so if I need the wattage now, I'll stand. If I can get over the hill @ 70%w I'll probably sit.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmcg333 View Post
    I'm middle aged on only recently have gotten into cycling - but over the past couple years I've ridden quite a bit - average 50-100 miles per week - mostly flat stuff.

    I got Zwift over the winter to ride and notice that I cannot be out of the saddle for very long. I didn't think much of it. I'd see other riders where the graphics look like they're out of the saddle on hills - but I usually just switched to an easier gear. Are those other riders really standing on those hills the whole time?

    Well now I'm noticing that my quads I think are getting over developed in comparison to my hamms and glutes. I've had some lower back issues and my physical therapist told me my glutes are way way too week compared to other leg muscles.

    Should I be training more out of the saddle? Would that work more leg muscles than just my quads?
    IOW, standing does use up more energy flipping the bike back and forth and using upper body to mash down on the pedals. Sitting and cranking it out in gears the legs can handle is more efficient, right below AT. Its possible to relax the upper body loose as a goose at the arms, while the legs do the work. Unweighting the left pedal as you push down on the right pedal is very helpful in "balancing" out the muscle contractions all around the legs and butt. Get rapid cadence down and the legs will instinctively find the sweet spot.

    A middle aged man would certainly benefit from core muscle exercises, like side lifts, dead lifts, lunges. Notice how skinny almost all pros are in upper body? They're all lungs, hardly any muscle in the shoulders and arms. The power is all in the butt and thighs.
    Last edited by Fredrico; 1 Week Ago at 06:20 PM.

  13. #13
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    You can't go by what you see on Zwift. When you see other avatars out of the saddle, those people may be seeing their avatar in the saddle. You'll see your avatar get out of the saddle if your cadence drops below 70 while going up a hill.

    As far as strengthening your glutes, I don't know enough about physiology to tell you if it will help.

    Generally, as others have said, lighter people tend to climb out of the saddle more, but not all do. Contador always climbed out of the saddle, but froome usually stays sated. They're both light enough, and froome has shown he can climb out of the saddle well, he just prefers not to.
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  14. #14
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    One of the reasons I don't stand much is precisely the dichotomy between cardio and skeletal work. My LTHR is 161bpm and VO2Max is >60ml/kg/min. I can sit and spin comfortably as long as I keep my HR around 150bpm. Standing and dropping about 10rpm just doesn't feel right, and I only do it up short and steep pitches like switchbacks or when my sitbones need a bit of relief.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jwiffle View Post
    You can't go by what you see on Zwift. When you see other avatars out of the saddle, those people may be seeing their avatar in the saddle. You'll see your avatar get out of the saddle if your cadence drops below 70 while going up a hill.

    As far as strengthening your glutes, I don't know enough about physiology to tell you if it will help.

    Generally, as others have said, lighter people tend to climb out of the saddle more, but not all do. Contador always climbed out of the saddle, but froome usually stays sated. They're both light enough, and froome has shown he can climb out of the saddle well, he just prefers not to.
    Contador is a versatile guy. Last couple of years shows him riding up mountains at 90 rpm in alleged 39-32, or was that 34-30, while lesser riders were out of the saddle trying to keep up.

  16. #16
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    Also riding out of the saddle in Zwift is incredibly unnatural since there is the bike is largely fixed except for the slightest amount of flex. In addition the angle of your bars will be different than climbing out of the saddle unless you have something like the KICKR Climb. I ride Zwift a lot and the only time I get out of the saddle is when I need to pump out 6+ w/kg up ramps and to sprint.

    All you gain from training out of the saddle indoors is an entirely different technique to what happens outdoors.

  17. #17
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    Climbing out of the saddle delivers the most power to the pedals, but it will tire you out quickly. Staying seated is more efficient and ideal for long climbs. Improving your out-of-the-saddle time requires training in combination with gaining leg muscle and/or losing body weight.
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  18. #18
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    i only stand if it's a real mother ******.

    or from a dead stop.

    but i don't race.
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  19. #19
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    There are some simple but effective hamstring exercises you can do with an exercise ball, you may want to try that.

    There's also something to the comment about working on your pedal stroke and not mashing so much... it's not so much that you actively pull up with your hamstrings with great force, but when you get the whole stroke working right as a whole I believe it should make better use of your hammies.

  20. #20
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    The real trick is dance on the pedals when you need to and still able to get back on the seat without dropping to crawl. If you get out of the saddle only to drop off precipitously afterwards, then that don't count.

  21. #21
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    Also glutes are activated proportionally less out of the saddle. When you get out of the saddle your quads and calves gain the most bias because those are the muscles you use from about 3 o'clock to 6 o'clock on the pedal stroke.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aclinjury View Post
    the weightweenies are the ones who like to dance on the pedals. They have less body weight to shift when out of the saddle.
    I think the colloquial definition of "weight weenie" is a cyclist that is obsessed with minimizing the weight of their bike. Body weight isn't part of the definition.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jwiffle View Post
    You can't go by what you see on Zwift. When you see other avatars out of the saddle, those people may be seeing their avatar in the saddle. You'll see your avatar get out of the saddle if your cadence drops below 70 while going up a hill.
    Here is a zwiftinsider article that explains this

    https://zwiftinsider.com/stand-up/

    Whether your avatar is standing or not has nothing to do with anything except the details listed in that article.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by aclinjury View Post
    The real trick is dance on the pedals when you need to and still able to get back on the seat without dropping to crawl. If you get out of the saddle only to drop off precipitously afterwards, then that don't count.
    Which is why standing up at the very end of the climb works in a "race." Once over the top, legs can pick up the cadence when rider sits down! On the climb, forget it!

    That's assuming rider shifted up a gear. Dancing on the pedals can be done in the same gear as sitting, IME, but not sustainable more than a few seconds.

    Then again, a skinny mate used to whack up the whole climb in his large ring out of the saddle. His cadence was the same as ours, but he was going 5 mph faster!
    Last edited by Fredrico; 1 Week Ago at 11:18 PM.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by tomato coupe View Post
    I think the colloquial definition of "weight weenie" is a cyclist that is obsessed with minimizing the weight of their bike. Body weight isn't part of the definition.
    ha, you're right about that. The (lack of) point there is a whole other topic.

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