Climbing position- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Climbing position

    Hi all,
    Perhaps yet another dumb thread from yours truely. I'm one that noticed back pain after starting ss'ing not too long ago. I think I fell into the majority that just didn't have a strong core. Started doing planks and stretching along with better posture riding, which has definitely helped. My questions here revolves around bike setup. I noticed lots of people mentioning to possibly get a longer stem, etc...So what should my position be, roughly, while out of the saddle climbing? I don't have a picture of it, but right now my chest is pretty much a little past my handlebars if that makes any sense. Stem is I think 7 degree's up and probably around 100mm. Should my chest be that far over the bars while mashing? I know it usually comes down to comfort, but I'm pretty clueless as to what the norm might/should be. Thanks as always.

  2. #2
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    you need to resemble an epileptic ape humping your rig in slow motion during sustained climbs....IOW, many different positions.

    switching your riding position around as the terrain allows for it will work different muscle groups and keep 1 set of muscles from total fatigue...

    IMO...
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by CHUM View Post
    you need to resemble an epileptic ape humping your rig in slow motion during sustained climbs....IOW, many different positions....

    IMO...
    A picture of this would help a lot.

  4. #4
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    I've heard this guy knows how to climb.




    He's okay at it.

  5. #5
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    they used to say if you look down at the front hub it should be obscured by your handlebars (when you're in the position that is).
    you can also look at the saddle length and its position as far as tweaking your cockpit. btw I love the arione it's a bit longer than most saddles. more room to act like an ape as chum suggests.

  6. #6
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    be careful with back pain (sciatica)...much bigger issue riding SS or fixed than knee problems, at least for me.

    i like bar ends for climbing in a comfortable position.

  7. #7
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    Personally, I do not think that there is a norm. It is, essentially, whatever works for you. Everyone is so different.....

    It also depends on what you are trying to climb - technicality, grade, etc

    Bar ends do help to provide an alternative hand position. Or some of the variation of bars out there.

    Sadly, the image that Chum painted with his eloquent words best describes it. You need to be constantly moving to find the best position throughout the pedal stroke for traction/leverage/power.

    If you have it, momentum helps too.

  8. #8
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    i like bar ends for climbing in a comfortable position.
    Me too.

    Never really though about my climbing position while out of the saddle. No different than on my geared bikes, if that helps. There are variations, however. The relaxed, relatively high cadence, rocking the bike a bit. The slumped over, butt hovering just above the saddle. The 2 RPM mash, using my upper body and the bar ends to lift and flick the bike......

    I try to remain seated a lot. My seated position is old school. Long, comfy cockpit. Bent at the waist, elbows dropped a little (even with the bars or a little lower). Slide up the saddle for RPM and time trail type riding, slide back and use my glutes for power.

    I'm finding the secret is to change positions, often. Also, rest when I can. A flat spot is not a spot o charge through, but a place to back off and let my heart rate come back down.

    Another secret I've found is rocks. I aim for them when climbing. Nothing like granite to hook up on. No tire spin.

  9. #9
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    Really does depend on your setup though. I run my seat lower than normal to keep it out of the way for the technical descents. I figure that I will be standing to climb anything that would necessitate the higher seat position anyway.

    But that is also very dependent on your usual rides and terrain.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by CHUM View Post
    you need to resemble an epileptic ape humping your rig in slow motion during sustained climbs....IOW, many different positions.

    switching your riding position around as the terrain allows for it will work different muscle groups and keep 1 set of muscles from total fatigue...

    IMO...
    Too funny. I think I look like that without climbing. I noticed during my ride last night that my hands are pretty close to my hips while out of the saddle. Tried like hell to keep my back straight to maintain good posture. Like I said before, that along with core work is really helping. I think I may try a longer stem just for the hell of it. I can also see how having a large than normal bike would help in SS'ing. I would also like to try out a 29er. I suppose from all my "I would like to's" you can gather I haven't quite gotten my old hardtail 26er dailed in yet. Oh well, in time...

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by misunderestimated View Post
    they used to say if you look down at the front hub it should be obscured by your handlebars (when you're in the position that is).
    you can also look at the saddle length and its position as far as tweaking your cockpit. btw I love the arione it's a bit longer than most saddles. more room to act like an ape as chum suggests.
    Awesome feedback. I will take a look at where I'm at in relation to my front hub. You know I thought about saddle position (I have it pretty far back), but noticed it really doesn't make that much of a difference once you're standing and climbing. Am I right in thinking that? The only variable I see that I can adjust would be my bars/stem length.

  12. #12
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    I phrased it "they used to say that" because there are so many variations of handlebar these days. this technique still works for most road bikes and mountain unless the bars have lots of sweep then things get funny. see alt bars thread, won't work there...

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shalom View Post
    Personally, I do not think that there is a norm. It is, essentially, whatever works for you. Everyone is so different.....

    It also depends on what you are trying to climb - technicality, grade, etc

    Bar ends do help to provide an alternative hand position. Or some of the variation of bars out there.

    Sadly, the image that Chum painted with his eloquent words best describes it. You need to be constantly moving to find the best position throughout the pedal stroke for traction/leverage/power.

    If you have it, momentum helps too.
    I do use cane creek bar ends, a must on all my bikes (geared or not). Since I live out here in Colorado, most of my terrain can be pretty brutal. Can climb anywhere from 1k - 5k easily, although my SS has only been seeing 1-2k of vertical. Dry and loose rock tends to be the norm unfortunately, which has me all over the place trying to find traction at times. Switched back to 32x20 from 32x18, which has helped drastically.

  14. #14
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    If you ride flat pedals you can try sliding your feet back as far as you can.
    I climb the steep stuff best on my SS when I am pedaling with my tippy toes and useing my upper body to pull on the bar ends, converting upper body streangth into pedal power

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by zorro View Post
    Hi all,
    I think I fell into the majority that just didn't have a strong core. Started doing planks and stretching along with better posture riding, which has definitely helped.
    A bit of a diversion on the thread topic. Was hoping you could share your plank/strech routine, I think I need a bit of core strength myself.

  16. #16
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    For core I have used the P90X, Go ahead and laugh, that core workout is the BOMB as the kids used to say way...back....then. Planks are ok but real old fashion sit ups work great also. Flat on the floor legs out in a V and sit up and reach between legs and do it over and over. also bicycles work very well. Crunches are not so good unless you are in very poor shape. The sit ups will work all your abs top to bottom. What also works great is a declined bench, if you belong to a gym that's the trick. Worked wonders for my lower back pain. Sadly I'm back to the loose belly and sore back. As far as position I think the hub thing is for the seated position. If your over the handlebars I think your too far forward and will lose traction. try standing directly over your peddles or with your but out over the seat if its a steep hill.

  17. #17
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    Cool, gotta look into that system (and practice climbing technique).

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by tuvok View Post
    A bit of a diversion on the thread topic. Was hoping you could share your plank/strech routine, I think I need a bit of core strength myself.
    It was the core strength workout posted in another thread I believe. I think it was in the "is ss bad for your body" thread or something like that. I also searched youtube, which had some awesome stretching and strenghening exercises. They really do work. I would never laugh at P90X routines as they are some pretty tough workouts.

  19. #19
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    I was always told to tighten your grips, relax your arms, put your upper-body weight on your lower back and waist, and sit on the saddle as much as possible and keep your cadence up.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by yliu4 View Post
    I was always told to tighten your grips, relax your arms, put your upper-body weight on your lower back and waist, and sit on the saddle as much as possible and keep your cadence up.
    say goodbye to your knees if you climb like that in your SS.
    everything sucks but my vacuum cleaner.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by fishcreek View Post
    say goodbye to your knees if climb like that in your SS.
    Never had that much, if any, of knee problems.

  22. #22
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    Be careful with back-pelvis angle

    Try to maintain a straight, long, and flat back. If you work a lot in an office chair, you may have taught your body to slouch forward at the shoulders and your lower back to fall back in your chair. I have discovered this over a period of time--now I spot a lot of other people who get on their bikes and ride that way. When you let the lower back "slump" outward, you take your gluteals out of the pedaling action. This not only takes away a big part of your engine, but also plays havoc with the supporting small muscles surrounding the spine as they fight against all sorts of improper muscle recruitment (especially from the hip and psoas muscles). Practice sitting up straight on your chair and keep that form on the bike. It will be quite a switch, and your back will thank you in the long run--not to mention more powerful climbing.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by slohr View Post
    Try to maintain a straight, long, and flat back. If you work a lot in an office chair, you may have taught your body to slouch forward at the shoulders and your lower back to fall back in your chair. I have discovered this over a period of time--now I spot a lot of other people who get on their bikes and ride that way. When you let the lower back "slump" outward, you take your gluteals out of the pedaling action. This not only takes away a big part of your engine, but also plays havoc with the supporting small muscles surrounding the spine as they fight against all sorts of improper muscle recruitment (especially from the hip and psoas muscles). Practice sitting up straight on your chair and keep that form on the bike. It will be quite a switch, and your back will thank you in the long run--not to mention more powerful climbing.
    Wow, awesome observation. I am indeed a cubicle monkey and try (try being the key word) to keep a good posture at work. It is amazing how one may not notice the way they are sitting and how detrimental it could possibly be. That also translates into biking. SS'ing will point that out QUICKLY, not so much with gears. I do now try to be cognizant of having a straight back and good posture with the geared bike, but especially the SS rig. Like you said, I think in the beginning I was just hammering away not thinking about how my bad position climbing was affecting my lower back and and the surrounding little stabilizer muscles.

  24. #24
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    It makes a huge difference

    I would analyze your back position carefully. Once you get the "rounded back" straightened up, it will change how your cockpit feels. You may have felt too stretched out, but once you get that back-pelvis working properly (and you'll know it, you'll feel like you've added a leg), your current set up may feel a little short. Pretty good illustration here:
    The Bike Body

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