Your power sitting v standing

Standing I can do around 405 for four minutes, 430 for three minutes.
Seated I struggle to hold 350 for three minutes.
The difference, unsurprisingly, is even bigger at shorter efforts

Do other people see similar differences?
Should people be able to lift my sitting towards standing power over those time periods?

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What’s the difference in cadence?

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In one of the workouts Coach Chad says something about standing being a good way of putting out more power but that it’ll flood your muscles with lactate.

I’ve never tested it but unless I’m geared out there’s little chance that I could put out more power standing than sitting for intervals more than about a minute.

Generally when you stand your cadence will be much lower than while sitting so that will sway your force development to more fast twitch muscle fibers. That could just be indicative of your muscle fiber breakdown.

I’m sure it’s something that you could slowly change with lots of endurance training to begin to change those fast twitch fibers to more hybrid or slow twitch. But is it something that you think is holding you back or that you would like to change or just that you think is different than most people?

Contador famously was very similar. One sport scientist said if a rider stood up during a ramp test it meant they had less than a minute left but for Contador he could go for another 4 min after standing. Something about his physiology just worked better that way.

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Never mind that, whats the difference in mph


Same here. I once rode the whole Stelvio out of the saddle. It feels like I can’t get enough blood into the leg muscles during seated efforts (duration doesn’t matter). It really limits my abilities as a road rider.

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I can’t stand for more than a minute before I blow up—never have understood why this is. Heart rate standing vs sitting at any wattage is +10-20 bpm. But, I reckon my power output is significantly higher with greater motor unit recruitment


I’ve never really looked at power numbers for a duration seated v standing but I suspect that I can sustain a lot more power standing than sitting. That’s fine for a short sharp uphill but sitting is faster overall regardless of power for me (I suspect most folk are similar)

Standing is like a second wind for me. I’ll stay seated riding at or above threshold for as long as possible, then stand and feel instant relief while holding the same power.

Most likely has to do with different muscle utilization/activation, like glutes and hamstrings, and maybe a change in blood flow.

On steep hill, I can stand and cruise at tempo for days. Minimal effort required to support my body weight due to the gradient.

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Is it a repeatable thing for you? I can put out more power over short-ish durations on a climb, but it’s much more taxing and would leave me smoked.

I think sometimes the RPE and force changes in standing climbs make it feel like we’re putting out more power. Though for me, it’s not the case that Power increases, unless I’m really pumping it, and then the additional muscle loading/fatigue is going to effect further efforts.

Standing I’m pretty quick on the local Strava segments and sitting I’m not.

varies… but higher cadence sitting

When I stand the burn builds much quicker (probably because when I stand I generate more power) I only ever do it if it’s a short-ish burst to keep my momentum or really steep or a sprint on a flat. My FTP is 327 and peak around 1100-1200w and I find for anything around 650w or less I’m more efficient seated.

Maybe I should work on standing drills 🥲

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Blockquote Is it a repeatable thing for you?

At my max power, not very. But at similar power as I can manage sitting, the standing is more repeatable.

Sounds like you’re doing just fine sitting!

What is your height / weight? And do you have similar experiences with seated / standing power output at higher and lower body weights than where you are at now?

My hypothesis, based on some n=1 personal experience, is that what you are experiencing is more common with smaller / lighter riders and heavier / bigger riders experience the opposite. There could also be fit factors.

When I was light I found it easier to sustain high power for longer standing than seated. What evened it out for me was 1 - resolving some fit-related things I wasn’t aware of that were compromising my ability to perform high-power seated intervals and 2 - practice.

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I think you’re definitely right about the size thing at threshold and below. Not sure about shorter time durations though - maybe some bigger guys like to stand?

And, yes, I’m fairly small. 172cm and currently 67kg, standard summer weight. I’m around 68kg or 69kg in the winter. These small variations in weight don’t affect how much I stand.

Not super skinny, though. Have a bit of upper body muscle and bodyfat measured at 20% recently - possibly an over estimate but I’d say definitely above 15%

ps what were the fit related things?