This article was originally posted at All3Sports.com.
A select few individuals are lucky enough to be made to climb on their bikes but for most of us, it takes work, skill development, and a little knowledge. Most athletes don’t have a lot of confidence when it comes to climbing and often it is because they are making mistakes that keep them from maximizing their climbs. We wanted to share 5 common mistakes and how to fix them.
Mistake #1: You don’t know how to pace. You charge up the hill too fast and lose your power before you make it to the top. By reaching your threshold too quickly, you lose power as you approach the top of the hill. Learn to relax into a rhythm and pace yourself evenly up the hill.
Mistake #2: You don’t use the right gearing. Your goal should be to keep your cadence above 70 rpm which will likely cause you to ride in one of your easier gears. Rather than grinding in a bigger gear, drop the gear and raise the cadence.
Mistake #3: You stand too much. Standing at the right time can give you a much-needed power boost but standing also comes at a cost. You use 5% more energy when standing. Learn to climb sitting in the saddle with your butt shifted back to maximize your leverage.
Mistake #4: You are too tense. As with standing, holding a tense upper body will cause you to use more energy. Focus on relaxing your entire body throughout the climb.
Mistake #5: You aren’t breathing correctly. As your heart rate increases, it’s easy to shift your breathing to short, shallow breaths. This isn’t allowing good oxygen flow to your body. Focus on filling your belly with air and controlling your breathing throughout the climb.
Being a strong climber takes both time in the saddle and work on skills. As an added bonus, climbing makes you a stronger cyclist because you build strength in your legs and increase your lung capacity.