How to tackle the hills when cycling

Posted by tan xiao yan on

Tackling a giant hill or a hilly track can be intimidating for those just starting out in the sport. However, uphill cycling is tremendously beneficial for your health. Almost nothing is better for building raw muscle and lean fiber, improving your endurance, helping with your aerobic capacities, and increasing the capabilities of your circulatory system. The hills climbing skills can be improved in terms of three parts- training, riding and psychological adaption.

a. Start Small

Even if you have a big hill in mind that you’re hoping to climb, don’t try and tackle it on your first uphill ride. The task in working towards that big hill is to start small and work up to climbing it all together. I would recommend working in 5-minute increments. First, climb at your own pace for 5 minutes, then return to the bottom of the hill for a 5-minute rest before trying again. Doing this for the first week or so will help you gain the strength that you need to ride uphill for longer periods of time.tackle the hills when cycling

b. Build Lean Muscle

Building lean muscle is another way to prepare to begin uphill cycling. The lean muscles in your legs are the muscles that are used most frequently when riding hills. Therefore, working on these beforehand will help you tremendously when attacking inclines for the first time. I recommend starting a routine of single-leg calf raises in addition to squatting to build the lean leg muscles you’ll need.

c. Practice Riding Positions

The position that you take when riding your bike uphill will make a huge difference in the results you experience. Many beginner riders will ride hills in an upright position with straight arms and the heels pointing downward. This throws off the rhythm of your pedaling and ultimately works against you. Instead, practice riding with bent elbows while rocking from side to side to assist you in your forward momentum.tackle the hills when cycling

d. Focus

Finally, sharpening your focus will help you as you begin your uphill journey. Mental preparation is a huge factor in the success of your future rides. When beginning riders undertake a large hill and cannot see the top, their motivation and efforts can quickly drop. Breathing also becomes disrupted and less rhythmic which interferes with the ride. Practicing focus to help with endurance will, therefore, be of great benefit to those just starting on hills.

e. Data collection

Make a vo2 max effort test and see your heart and lungs current capacity. You can go and get a heart rate device things (watch and chest strap). Keep your average, maximum heart rate data after your training. Use strava or other apps for your workouts. Check your times. After 6 months do that vo2 max test again and see your improvement. This thing will improve your physical capacity, but more importantly, you need mental strength for keep going up.

Ride, ride and ride.
Look ahead and anticipate the terrain. That steep bit with a turn? Gear down before you get there so you’re not grinding gears and/or losing precious momentum. Remember to pick a line and adapt. A stupid little rock can deflect your front wheel into the weeds. Be deliberate in picking a path rather than letting the terrain draw you into a rougher patch.tackle the hills when cycling

Break the climb into sections. Yes, you have to get to the top, but first, you have to get to the big rock. Then the tree with the hanging branch. Then the little stream. Tackle them as individual obstacles while keeping the big goal in mind.

You have to clean each one before you can clean the whole climb. Stay with it and you’ll find yourself getting further with each attempt. That’s satisfying and keeps you motivated. One day you’ll reach the top and cheer before falling into a bush for a rest. A few weeks later you’ll fly over the top and keep pushing.

psychological adaption
Going uphill on a bike is as much a mental challenge as it is a physical one. Just as your physical and technical improvement will help make it easier to get up the hill, your mental approach will help as well. You have to go from hating uphills to accepting them to loving them. While you’re on a grueling climb, send your mind elsewhere and don’t focus on the suffering.