Riding Sitting Upright - Yay or Nay?

Hello all!!

TL;DR: Is it okay to sit upright (no hands on handlebars) while training? (For all kinds of training but especially for endurance work.) Or it is bad for some particular reason(s)? Thank you for the help!

I’m a meditator and prefer, as much as possible, to hold my hands in a particular posture as it helps develop a certain meditative state I like to hang out in, and so when doing endurance workouts I often am sitting upright in my saddle without hands on the handlebar. I’m wondering if this is okay from an ergonomics standpoint and from a training standpoint, or if I’m necessarily compromising either training or form. I don’t experience any pains or aches but I also haven’t been training long enough where minor cumulative issues would show up, so I can’t rely on that for confidence. I’m not concerned about developing postural muscles for particular riding positions (e.g. aero) as I don’t at the present have plans for outdoor riding or racing (I am a lover of monotony and indoor cycling serves me best for that).

Thank you so much for the help!

(Also, this is my first post, so feel free to let me know if there are any community norms around topic-creation/asking questions that I should be aware of!)

I find my HR goes up a bit and power drops a bit when I sit upright ( hands off bars ) other than that no real negative effects, just working different muscles I guess. If it’s just for aerobic endurace I can’t really see too huge a downside but haven’t really dug deep into it

Welcome to the Forum :slight_smile:


Thank you for the welcome and for sharing your experience!

There is also something to be said about building muscle strength and flexibility by riding in a position similar to outside. I personally wouldn’t spent much time upright - I’m already training, May as well get the most of it. Caveat - I don’t get super low or ride on the drops often indoors. I’m sure that would be beneficial but I find it tough inside in a static position.

There is a lot of worthwhile literature exploring how oxygen uptake changes as riding posture moves from upright to supine. Generally speaking the more upright you are the higher peak O2 consumption is. However, I’m not a big believer that difference persists after substantial training.

So I don’t think it matters unless you have specific cycling goals. If you have performance goals, you should try to do most of your training in the posture you will be racing in.