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Climbing training for novice

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
I'm cycling novice and this is the first year that I compete in road races. Since now it is winter, i train in the gym this way:
monday - legs
thuesday - abs, chest, triceps
wednesday - HIIT
thursday - abs, upper and lower back, biceps
friday - HIIT

when snow goes off, i intend to switch HIIT with hill intervals (6 min of hard effort, 6 min of recovery on a 5%-10% steep road).
My goal is to become a better climber. I'm 22 years old and i have 76 kg.

What should i do on the other days (but without the risk of overtraining)?

Thank you.
post #2 of 21

Re: Climbing training for novice

If your goal is to become a better climber the go find the biggest hills in your area and go climb them. Watch videos of the great climbers - guys like Contador, Pantani, Rassmusen, Robert Millar, Luis Herrera, Lance Armstrong, Iban Mayo... and see how relaxed and smooth they look on the bike going up 8% hills at warp speed. Whilst you won't look anything as good as they do, nor will you ride as fast uphill you can get an idea of how it's supposed to be done.

Once you have an idea what it's all about the best way to improve performance up hill is to gain power and lose weight. Ditch the gym in favor of 3x20 minute efforts (on the trainer if needed during the winter) and watch what you eat. Unless you're already ~7% or lower bodyfat then you have weight to lose. Stopping the gym work will allow you to lose unneeded muscle.

You don't need muscle to put out 400+watts and if you can do that for 1/2 an hour with less than 75Kg then you'll do just fine
post #3 of 21
Thread Starter 

Re: Climbing training for novice

ok - but, how about the week training schedule? After hard training muscles need 48 hours to recover! I cant kill myself every day in the week - in a long ride that leads to overtraining
post #4 of 21

Re: Climbing training for novice

I'd first cut out the weight training, except maybe for core work. As swampy said, the last thing you want for climbing is a heavy upper body, and weights take away from energy you need for the bike. Ride a stationary bike at the gym, or get a trainer you can use at home with your bike. Cycling is an aerobic sport, like running, so you need lots of cardio training to progress.

You're right that recovery after hard training is important, and just going hard every day of the week isn't an effective training plan. Many of the training threads on this forum deal with finding the right combination of weekly volume and intensity and recovery: lots of good info to read. Finding an effective weekly program is the big question everyone wants answered.

First thoughts I have is that you should do your HIIT once a week, not twice. On the other hard day, do one or two 20 minute sweet spot or tempo intervals in the hills. These should feel moderately hard, just enough to get your breathing going with maybe some light leg pain at the end. Do three or four easy rides of 1-2 hours max on the other days, avoiding steep hills or hard efforts entirely. Don't underestimate the value of endurance-paced riding....even the pros do it for the majority of the long hours they spend on the bike every week.

You'll learn how to refine your training as you progress. My take is that it's better to do a little bit less of the high-stress stuff than to go overboard, particularly for beginners.
post #5 of 21

Re: Climbing training for novice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Instinct View Post
ok - but, how about the week training schedule? After hard training muscles need 48 hours to recover! I cant kill myself every day in the week - in a long ride that leads to overtraining
Overtraining is overrated. Most people couldn't truely overtrain even if they had no job and seemingly spent all day figuring out how to train.

Climbing - It's all about aerobic power, lack of weight and a cr@pload of "willing to suffer". There's no secret.

If you want a simple and very effective way of getting a bunch of power and lose weight get a home trainer, 2 x 20 minutes (or 3x20) and a good set of scales. Do that 4 times a week (Tues, Thursday, Sat and Sun) and watch what you eat. The other days feel free to go out on the bike and have a ride that for the most part is pretty relaxing, although there's nothing to stop you from having the odd dig here and there to keep things interesting....

I prefer 25 minute intervals than the 20 because I turn into a vegitative retard after the first interval. 25 minutes hard with 5 minutes rest mean that no math or reading is required. Simple numbers like 30 and 60 are easy to remember and you stuff in an extra 10 or 15 minutes of quality time per session, or an extra hour per week, when I'm upto 4 sessions of 3x25.
post #6 of 21

Re: Climbing training for novice

Okay,

I am REALLY new to this forum. So to begin with I am really sorry if I am breaking some set rules here. Having said that, I am in southern california and have the luxury to ride outside most of the year. It rains for a couple of days in January where I have to pull out my trainer. This is my first year on the trainer and did some searches for Trainer routines. Here's one thing that I found and really helped.

It's CTS Climbing on a trainer. Firstly get a good trainer and make sure you have your bike setup in such a way that you highest gear will absolutely whups your a$$.

Now here's the way the routine follows for about 55-60 mins

0-5 mins, Warm up, Low resistance, Smaller gear, 80-90 cadence, Throw in a sprint if you aren't warm enough, Moderate resistance, high cadence.
5-10 mins, VERY high resistance, Largest gear, 55-60 cadence, 85-90 percent MAX HR, hill simulation, still upper body, using just legs
10-15 mins, Rest, Low resistance, Smaller gear, 80-90 cadence
15-20 mins, VERY high resistance, Largest gear, 55-60 cadence, 85-90 percent MAX HR, hill simulation, still upper body, using just legs
20-25 rest again
25-35, here's the tricky one, 1 min of High resistance, 55-60 cadence, 85-90% max hr, 1 min of moderate resistance, 85-90 cadence, SAME HR, alternate for 5 sets of 2 mins each. THIS WHUPS MY A$$
35-40 Rest
40-50 same as 25-35, 5 sets of low cadence and high cadence.
50-60 rest and finish.

This did help me with my posture on the bike. I was shifting a lot while climbing. This kind of stabilized my upper body.

Oh don't forget to add a riser block or a large wooden block or yellow pages book below the front wheel to simulate the climbing position. You can stand while "climbing" but don't increase your cadence. You will burn off faster. Now the key in this is to maintain your heart rate. You will have to monitor your heart rate constantly.

I hope this helps.

K
post #7 of 21

Re: Climbing training for novice

I am also looking to increase climbing skills and just bought a trainer. Used the CTS dvd for climbing about 10 X's this year and noticed improvement. last Sat. the weather finaly broke in the northeast and went out for a 40 mile ride with alot of hills with some strong riders and kept up with the pace. I am on the trainer 3x per week for about an hour. It is pretty boring and painful but there is no doubt that I am getting stronger. The weight lose as Swampy1970 mentioned is critical. As good as the trainer sessions are it is no substitute for outdoors but there are benefits as some have mentioned.
Keep reading the threads.There is alotof self promotion but also a good deal that I have learned. The combination of training methods is one big puzle that we have to figuire out.
post #8 of 21

Re: Climbing training for novice

Hmmm, it seems that climbing is one aspect of bicycling performance that lends itself to plenty of overthinking. People will say they can hang in the flats but just can't climb or don't have the body/mindset/inclination/voodoo chili/whatever, to climb well.

In my mind it is one of the simplest portions to predict performance in and the methods of improving this performance are obvious.

Becoming a better climber is as simple as improving watts/kg via:
1 - increasing sustainable power, assuming weight remains constant (there are many, many threads on how to do this in this forum)
2 - decreasing weight, assuming sustainable power remains constant (again, no lack of ways to lose weight)
3 - the ideal, increasing sustainable power & decreasing weight.

There are NM demands (which some incorrectly simplify to just mean cadence) which do differ from pancake flat training. Look at the climbs you want to do & run some analyticcycling modeling to see what the speed/power equivalence is for your weight. With the QA tool, you'll probably find that most climbing, at least typical grades, is somewhat lower pedal velocity + higher pedal force, on average, than flat riding. All you have to do is mimic that enough such that you've prepped for the NM demands accordingly. Headwinds & trainer rides are your friends (possibly bigger gear usage too).

I haven't done any "real climbing" (aka outdoors) in months now but would feel confident entering a hill climb event nonetheless.
post #9 of 21

Re: Climbing training for novice

To be a good climber, it helps to be a lightweight slow-twitcher. Based on your particular body build, high W/kg may or may not be your lot, but one way you can improve your climbing skills is to do long intervals (20-60 min) without stopping. It helps to have long canyon roads to practice, but it can be accomplished indoors as well. The emphasis should be on longish non-stop efforts. Short intervals may make you stronger, but they'll give you a false sense of climbing ability if you're not used to churning the cranks for extended periods of time.

Hillclimbs take mental focus much like time trials, except that going uphill there can be no cheating, such as coasting or even lightly backing off as that will result in a quick loss of speed. So practice, practice, practice.

I'm light, but not exactly a slow-twitcher. Probably 50/50 as far as fiber composition (I'm basing that on the fact that I do have an above average top end in W/kg). Over the last few years, I've trained myself to be one of the best local Masters age climbers. I do a lot of climbing in the summer and indoor SST in the winter.
post #10 of 21

Re: Climbing training for novice

I guess we should ask how big those hills are he wants to do well on... A nice sustainable w/kg is always nice but if they're only a few minutes long we're taking about big gear "efforts of death" rather than elongated periods of discomfort.

I like hills... it's just that I love beer. *gulp*
post #11 of 21

Re: Climbing training for novice

Quote:
Originally Posted by swampy1970 View Post
I guess we should ask how big those hills are he wants to do well on... A nice sustainable w/kg is always nice but if they're only a few minutes long we're taking about big gear "efforts of death" rather than elongated periods of discomfort.

I like hills... it's just that I love beer. *gulp*
I totally second this post. My target is to do a 25 mi long, 8% average climb by Feb-Mar. So I don't think that 1/2 hour of 400+ watts will get my anywhere. That's more like 4-hr of 3000+ watts. Anyways swampy, I hear ya. I heart beer too
post #12 of 21

Re: Climbing training for novice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Instinct View Post
i train in the gym this way:
monday - legs
thuesday - abs, chest, triceps
wednesday - HIIT
thursday - abs, upper and lower back, biceps
friday - HIIT
We talkin' about rock climbing?
post #13 of 21

Re: Climbing training for novice

Quote:
Originally Posted by frenchyge View Post
We talkin' about rock climbing?
LMAO!
post #14 of 21

Re: Climbing training for novice

Quote:
Originally Posted by kausbose View Post
I totally second this post. My target is to do a 25 mi long, 8% average climb by Feb-Mar. So I don't think that 1/2 hour of 400+ watts will get my anywhere. That's more like 4-hr of 3000+ watts. Anyways swampy, I hear ya. I heart beer too
25mile long and 8% average - that's ~10,500ft elevation gain from the bottom of the climb. Where is this beast?

If you can do 400watts for 1/2 an hour then a couple of hours of 300+watts is on the cards. If you're light then you're going up hill pretty quick.
post #15 of 21
Thread Starter 

Re: Climbing training for novice

@ kausbose -> i still don˙t have a trainer so i train on the gym Polar stationary bike. But, on the biggest "gear" i can drive 60-70 cadence for hour or more. Should i do that "VERY high resistance" effort on higher cadence?
And about those tricky 5 minutes - resistance of 1 min "rest" differ from the resistance of those 5 min recovery or its the same resistance? (i mean - is the low resistance on the interval between 25-35 and 40-50 minutes higher than the resistance on the interval between 10-15 minute?)
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