Does standing for part of a VO2max interval change the adaption?

I did Morgan - 5 today and struggled. I noticed that standing up for about 45 seconds (which I usually never do inside) during the last interval, helped me get through the interval (more or less).

My question is: does this impact the work and the adaptions? I guess the cardiovascular load is similar, but the muscles are used slightly differently, but does it matter?

Nope, doesn’t matter. You answered your own question: the cardiovascular load is similar. Remember that you are training a physiological process during VO2 workouts, not a muscular workout (not primarily anyway).

Think about all the other endurance sports which require VO2max training — running, XC skiiing, swimming, triathlon — it doesn’t matter what physical action you take to reach a state of VO2max as long as you achieve & maintain the effort to induce adaptation. :+1:


For the maximal oxygen uptake aspect of those intervals, it’s probably not a problem. I just would caution you from standing often in those types of intervals: standing will likely fatigue you faster if you do it early. Maybe reserve it for the final interval when basically anything goes…


I had a very similar question today. So if the HR/VO2 max intensity stays the same, maybe no issue in terms of getting what you need out of the indoor ride. In which case I would definitely rely on this to get thorough some harder intervals!

Does that mean these V02 max intervals are also the best workouts to intentionally target doing out of the saddle work? (vs. maybe try to avoid that on SS/threshold to build the steady endurance?) At some point I would think it must be good to also build some strength out of saddle on the trainer as well - for me, I sometimes notice the front top of my quads get a bit twitchy if I jump up for extra power when already well into a ride. When I was first riding, I was a lot faster to hop up on hills till reading that it’s less preferable for efficiency.

Thanks a lot for the replies, guys :+1:
I was kinda surprised that it made it feel easier, as I am usually not very good at standing, especially inside. I’m certainly not one of those who would do the entire VO2max intervals standing. I might do the occasional 40-60 seconds, to see if it generally helps.

It probably helps your legs as you’re bringing body weight to bear on the pedals, but it will fatigue you faster, especially if you repeat it. I like to stand for 15-30s during long intervals or recoveries from hard efforts just to stretch out, too.

I find it much harder to hold power standing. There is an initial boost but it’s not sustainable. Sitting is most efficient.


100% agree.

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I stand a lot when riding outdoors ( more than others I ride with by a long way) and have trained myself so I can utilize it to get a really strong push up hills, I can often fly up short steep hills.
But I will then struggle with the Ramp test because the instructions are NOT to stand and my body is just screaming at me to stand towards the end. I know I could get a lot further through if if I stood up.

It’s gonna depend on what you are training for. If you are training for a race where you have to follow attacks, or just short punchy climbs, then Out Of Saddle efforts may well be over threshold, and standing for (some) VO2Max intervals makes sense. But if you are training for very long climbs, and OOS efforts are just to mix things up, or to deal with steep ramps, then learning to stand while keeping UNDER threshold is something you may want to practice.


That’s a good point. As I never ride long climbs (there aren’t any anywhere close) all my standing efforts will be over threshold, either short punchy climbs or attacks/sprints. I think I will try doing 40-60 seconds of each VO2max interval standing.

I have always wondered this myself. I often finish the last sets of Vo2 intervals out of the saddle. My HR stays pretty consistent and for me it relieves the suffering just long enough to finish. But what gets really hard is sitting back down at 120% and increasing your cadence back to normal. So timing is key…

Exactly, lol. I’ve found that near impossible, so I ONLY stand near the end of an interval and must complete the interval standing. Otherwise my legs are blowing up barely holding in at 60 rpms trying to pedal sitting down after standing.

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In a workout I train to stand for at least 2mins at a time every 15mins to improve in standing when climbing, have done a 25min climb standing the whole way at 4/WKG

I shift up or down 2 gears when changing between seated and standing even when doing intervals in erg mode. The gearing and cadence changes seem to balance out (power doesn’t change much) and the trainer has to make less of an adjustment compared to if I drop cadence from 95 - 80 without shifting. Shifting to an easier gear when sitting allows me to spin up quickly before the trainer makes adjustments and keeps the power almost the same, then the trainer fine tunes the resistance. I’ve been able to sit/stand in the middle of vo2/threshold/sst intervals that way.

I’ve tried spinning up from 80 to 95 rpm seated at vo2 intensities and that was not fun and had to go way over the target for a while to get the trainer to drop resistance. You just need to make sure you do the same number of shifts when sitting / standing otherwise you’ll eventually run out of cassette.

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Yup, I’ve been shifting in ERG since 2015, and I wrote and article about it 2 years ago. I think it is far superior to just cadence changes.