Biking

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Q: How can I train for hills in a hill-free area?

What is the best way to train for hills if you do not live in an area where there are hills? Thank you. Martin Indianapolis, Indiana

By: Question from: ,

Free Newsletters

Dispatch This week's featured articles, reviews, and videos. Sent twice weekly.
News From the Field The most important breaking news from around the Web. Sent daily.
Outside GOOur hottest adventure-travel tips and trips. Sent occasionally.
Outside Partners Outside-approved deals and special offers from select partners. Sent occasionally.

Subscribe
to Outside
Save Over
70%

Magazine Cover

iPad Outside+ App Access Now Included!

Advertisement

A:

You have two choices:

1. Set up an indoor trainer so your front wheel is elevated about four inches. This puts your bike, and hence your body, in a position similar to what you'd experience on a real climb. This is important because the way you pedal and the muscles you use to support yourself on the bike are slightly different when you're going uphill. You need to get used to riding at a high sustainable power output in this position, rather than just focusing on developing power riding flat and hoping all that power will be accessible once you start going uphill.

2. Ride into a headwind. While this will not give you the same body position as elevating the front of the bike, riding into a stiff headwind helps build climbing strength by making you pedal against increased resistance at a relatively low speed. You can ride at high power output on flat ground, but that typically results in high speed and high cadence. Against a strong headwind, you're more likely to be pushing a lower gear at a lower cadence and not going very fast, despite a high power output. This scenario sounds a lot like climbing a big hill, doesn't it?

It's important to realize, however, that the most important thing you can do to improve climbing power is to work on intervals that increase your maximum sustainable power. Even if you're training primarily on flat ground, a great deal of the fitness you gain will transfer just fine to riding uphill. The climbing-specific techniques and body positions will help you go faster uphill, but these adaptations are secondary to gaining aerobic fitness.

More at Outside

Next in Adventure (3 of 26)

Do spinning classes help you burn fat quickly?

Read More »
Current Issue Outside Magazine

Subscribe and get a great deal! Two free Buyer's Guides plus a free GoLite Sport Bottle. Monthly delivery of Outside—your ultimate resource for today's active lifestyle. All that and big savings!

Free Newsletters

Dispatch This week's featured articles, reviews, and videos. Sent twice weekly.
News From the Field The most important breaking news from around the Web. Sent daily.
Gear of the Day The latest products, reviews, and editors' picks. Coming soon.
Outside Partners Outside-approved deals and special offers from select partners. Sent occasionally.

Ask a Question

Our gear experts await your outdoor-gear-related questions. Go ahead, ask them anything.

* We might edit your question for length or clarity. If it's not about gear, we'll just ignore it.