Standing drills - tips, techniques, recommendations, etc

Looking for any tips, recommendations, or thoughts on improving ability to keep power steady while going from seated position to pedaling while standing. Just getting started on basic drills after ignoring this skill for a long time. Guess when I stood up on this flat ride while doing tempo / sweet spot:

I’ve got good core strength, seems like issues with coordination and/or technique that will get ironed out with some practice.

What is your shifting practice (timing related to standing/sitting, and how many gears are you generally shifting)?

Well I’ve only done a drill once and pretty sure I dropped two gears. In the past it seems I was able to stand without shifting, if memory serves.

I guess it depends on your cadence seated and what you prefer standing. I roll seated around 95 rpm and like standing at around 65 rpm. So I need a small to big ring swap, or 3-4 on the rear shift to make that 30 rpm change.

Faster standing cadence can work for short stints, but it seems a typical range for climbing and stretching is 55-75 rpm, which I would expect is much slower than most people’s seated cadence, but anything is possible.

When I want to get up, I generally grab 3 gears on the rear as a default, and then stand once the chain is set. I may adjust up or down one shift, depending on the goal at that moment for my effort and power target. For repeat efforts on the same grade, that sets the trend for subsequent efforts. Then I sit first and shift immediately once in the saddle to undo the same number of shifts for the up part.


here is a close up of the first two:

First drill: cadence was in upper 80s, grabbed some gears, and that caused cadence to drop into upper 60s. Power surge.

Second drill: cadence was in lower 80s and I simply focused on standing without shifting and kept cadence fairly steady. Power surge.

Both started with roughly zone3 power and standing caused power to jump into zone5. I’d like to avoid that power surge.

OK, that is tough. Likely to take some conscious effort to easy off the power right before and after the transition. The whole power delivery cycle changes notably with the addition of holding our mass while pedaling.

There may be some opportunity to look at your actual body position and weight distribution too, but that is a guess.

Love a good challenge… especially when it involves modulating torque and power delivery. My coach mentioned relaxing. Not a focus yet, just starting to play around.

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I have worked on holding smooth power, specifically with TT efforts for my duathlons. Those take some considered effort, and well timed shifting, to keep power nice and flat.

Standing is a real kick to that idea, since it requires a notable change in our position and muscle engagement. I need to pay extra attention on my next ride outside and see what I do without thinking, and then again with focus.

I’m definitely going to play around with body position and seated to standing transition. It seems I’ve become a ‘seat potato’ and forgotten how to stand with a higher level of control. Kinda remember doing more aero hovering in the past, as opposed to full standing (as in a hard sprint). But memory is foggy.

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Let me know how it goes. It’s a great idea to work on and I plan to for fun. Will report back if I hit any epiphany.

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If I’m doing standing drills on my turbo, using TR, Coach Chad usually gives you a heads-up. This allows me to prime myself, so to speak.

I know that I have a leading foot (my right foot) so I do my level best to ensure that this foot is at or near the bottom of the stroke. This stabilises me. I’ve already shifted slightly forward on my saddle and then I lean towards my bars. If I tense my arms this stops me from rolling fully forward and instead, pops me up off my saddle. This works especially well if I’m in the drops. Sure, it sounds daft but it works for me.

I don’t have to change gears (ERG mode) and I can keep the cadence around 80RPM.

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Last night in the garage on my Kickr/InsideRide rig:


Looking good on the trainer.

Outside on ~170-180W zone2 rides I’ve gotten it down to ~250W short 1-2 sec power surges. Progress. Standing drills outside have also appeared to have helped with 5-15 sec sprints.

Yeah, that is really solid! Nice work. :smiley:

As to the drills helping, what actual drills & duration are you using?

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The most basic drills you can think of while doing an outside endurance ride… Every 3-5 minutes trying different ways of standing up, and after each one looking at a screen on my bike computer like this one:

Default Workout Comparison

to get immediate feedback on how I did.

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Up / Down… rinse and repeat, short and sweet :stuck_out_tongue:

I do a ton of standing drills inside in particular. I am up at that same 3-5m interval. Length from 10 seconds to 30 seconds most of the time. I sometimes stretch to 1 min for SS and lower intervals. I used to do long 2-5 min bouts, but have not done those in a while.

Yes its pretty basic yet effective cure for having fallen into the seat potato trap. In addition my coach has added notes into some of the workouts, stuff like instructing me to stand for 30 seconds every X minutes.

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I have a few “games” I play in certain intervals.

10 in 1 = 10 seconds up every 1 minute
20 in 2 = 20 seconds up every 2 minutes
30 in 3 = 30 seconds up every 3 minutes

Usually shifting to go from about 95 rpm seated to about 65 rpm standing.

One alteration is to do the sets above, but not shift down when sitting, and grind out the remainder of that segment while seated at 65 rpm. Then I shift back to a quick cadence. I call them Lo/Hi sets.

I usually stand from the hoods, but do some in the drops at times, especially the SS and higher efforts for a kind of “sprint” position training. All done for some training effect (I hope) but sure keeps a longer and otherwise boring set more interactive. :smiley:


I do a lot of cadence related work. The standing drills are temporary - just looking to redevelop the habit of controlled standing with an ultimate goal of improving sprint. So much of my riding is windy flatland that staying down and low became the norm.

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I get that. At my relatively low weight, and our growing wind frequency, I fight that all the time. I just about live in the hoods with dropped elbows “pseudo-aero” position to try and hang with the larger, higher wattage riders around here.

So I did a 3 hour ride outside, Endurance pace and tried lots of short and medium standing drills.

  • I don’t have an easy way to find/show the standing efforts, but any straight and flat to slight up stretch of road through the middle of the ride, is where I was playing with the drills. I think most of the standing was likely around 65-75 rpm or so. Zooming in might make those easier to find and review power variations.

  • One thing I noticed that I always do my seated to standing transition with my foot at or just before hitting the bottom of the pedal stroke. I had no idea I did that until I started paying attention, but I do it every time.

  • And oddly enough, it seems to be with my right foot at the bottom. That part of this might come from my habit from counting strokes for my standing efforts. I do that count at the bottom of each stroke and always count ‘0’ on the bottom foot position when I actually make the seated > standing transition.

  • I think that doing that movement during the bottom of one foot (and obviously as the other foot is approaching or at the top) means the ‘dead spot’ effect keeps me from spiking the power too much.

  • I also noticed that I tend to keep my upper body pretty level with minimal lift at the shoulders and head. I end up pulling forward with my chest and bending my elbows to keep my height even.

Not sure if those are helpful, but it showed me some aspects of my riding I have never noticed or specifically thought about in that great of detail.

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