Riding out of saddle is so much harder—why?

Similar to above, I see heart rate change from when I go from the hoods / bars to sitting straight up on the trainer. If I stand up from seated, I immediately start feeling it a lot more in the quads.

In addition to supporting your whole bodyweight, stabilization, you’re now changing the angles and position on the bike, which changes the muscles that are getting used.

If you’re not as acclimated to (don’t train) a position, it’s going to be harder for you.


To add to the anecdata:

  1. Standing, for me, adds 3-5bpm pretty much regardless of zone. Out of interest, the position more closely resembles running, and my running zones are 6-9bpm higher than my cycling ones.
  2. Eating adds a few bpm.
  3. Consciously keeping my butt slightly further back when standing (see Zack Morris) helps with more balanced muscle recruitment.

Finally, old school riders around here will tell you that big guys should stay in the saddle whenever they can on a climb and little guys should stand, but I don’t know of any particular logic to that folklore.

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Not sure about the latter but the former is fact!


I am 6’4” 89kg, so a big lad

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My HR always jumps up when I’m eating or even taking a drink if I’m doing anything on the high end of Z2 and beyond.
Regarding your HR and RPE shooting up when you are standing it really seems just strange that it would spike up that much. I have no answers. Yet, if it were me - I would make an effort to just spend the first 5 minutes of every ride warming up while standing, just nice and easy and try and keep my HR as low as possible and see how it trends after at least a month or so. Just to let the body get used to it before any real work load is done. What could it hurt?

I’d say record your position to ensure you’re not doing anything odd or excessive with your body/posture when standing. Then, just practice it every time you’re on the trainer.

For my indoor z2 rides I typically stand for 1+ minute going into or out of each interval. For SS and threshold I’ll stand for the last 1-2 minutes of each interval. In the past I haven’t been the best or most efficient standing climber so I’ve made a conservative effort to work on it. I’m not sure about in the past, but now my HR does drop a bit when standing. Standing cadence typically is in the low 60s where seated is in the 80s. I always shift a couple gears, even when in ERG, to ensure the transitions are smooth. Below is yesterday’s endurance ride and you can see my drops in cadence where I’m standing.

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You can do entire rides standing. I have done almost 2 months this way. It’s like doing the stairmaster but a lot faster

But… but, why? :stuck_out_tongue:

I do plenty of standing efforts for saddle pressure breaks and because I use standing in much of my riding. However I rarely stand longer that a few minutes at a time.

What is the reason you do it for an entire ride?

That’s funny, I’m definitely the opposite :slight_smile:

Cyst cut out, I would have been 2 months behind if I didn’t

Which meant no race


It naturally comes easier for me. Just depends what you’re used to.

I rented an enduro bike recently in Utah for a bunch of trail riding. Got a good ways away from the rental car (all down hill) and the dropper post failed down. I made it 75% of the way back to the car, uphill, all standing before I got it to return and stay up. BRUTAL. I’m ~80kg, strong legs. But, absolutely something you have to train, I think it’s worse the bigger you are. My legs were cooked after that.

Copy that. I have done some extended standing sessions during times fighting saddle sores as well, just never an entire ride.

There aren’t many hills around me, but I have watched people doing standing hill reps on what we have around. One is a defunct sledding hill that now has ruts where people have ripped up the steepest parts. It would seem to me to help dial in what works for you, cadence, and gearing.

I had a Peloton, and would occasionally watch people flogging themselves on the recorded classes as they tried to stand at a very low demand, and/or fast cadence. Standing in the bike puts a lot more into play, and seeing a spike shouldn’t be a surprise. One poll I remember on the Peloton FB page had a majority of respondents say they did not, or hated OOS pedaling. People said they ‘feared’ it. Good grief… Sounds like most of those people just didn’t know how to do it properly.

I was called out at a local spin class (before I got my first trainer) because I wasn’t bobbing up and down. ‘You must be a cyclist?!’ she bellowed over the sound system set to 11. ‘Yeah, I guess?’

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As part of my job I’ve seen a loop of an online spin trainer far too many times. I have to say for someone who gets paid to take classes the instructor’s form is unbelievably crap.

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I was never so happy to drop out of the local spin classes after a noob asked me how to setup her bike, and I went through the usual stuff, and the instructor/coach/ahole came over and totally gave the wrong answer: ‘There should be no bend in your knee at all’. Well, sure, if you want knee pain and potential damage… (They also started using a flame thrower that blew flames up into the air, real flames. HELL NO!!! Don’t know if they dropped that, but I’ll never be back)

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Doesn’t everybody have a setup like that in their pain caves?.


Just kidding :slight_smile:

:flushed: I draw the line at flamingos. :laughing:


This reminds me of when I was trying different saddles. I took a candidate out for a trial loop. It had no cut out, so tightening the front bolt on my Deda post was a bit tricky. 20km in, and…

I recovered the saddle but didn’t have a multitool with me to tighten it back up.

I tried to ride home but caved after about 5k and made the call of shame.