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Climbing : Best practices

Loosen you upper body
Your entire upper body should ne relaxed so you don’t waste energy. A good marker for those torso is slightly flared elbows.  » Your’ elbows should be outside your knuckes », says Applegate. « This allows you to remain relaxed. If yor elbows are in, your lats are streched tight, which can restrict breathing. »

Use the Right Gearing Don’t be afraid to use your easiest gear. « Riders want to use their big gears, but the goal is to gear down and keep the cadence in a comfortable range, » says Applegate. Try to keep your cadence above 70 rpm.

Increase Your Power-to-Weight Ratio The number of watts you can crank out per kilogram (2.2 pounds) of body weight is the key to climbing success. The Alberto Contadors in the crowd are known to produce an amazing 6 to 7 watts per kg. « If you can hit 5, that’s awesome, » says Applegate. Through high-intensity training, you can raise your wattage by 5 to 7 percent over the course of a season. One surefire strategy: Climb for 10 to 30 minutes at or near lactate threshold heart rate (about an 8 on a 1 to 10 scale of perceived exertion) twice a week. If you want to improve your ratio, work at lowering the weight part of the equation.

Breathe Deeply « Riders often use just the top half of their lungs, taking shallow, jagged breaths as they climb, » says Applegate. This limits how quickly and efficiently you can get fresh oxygen to your working muscles. « Practice breathing deep into your belly, filling your lungs entirely, » he says. As a bonus, deep breaths help keep you calm under the stress of the climb.


This article is an extract from : « The Big book of Bicycling » Emily Furia

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