Best ways to train for cycling up hills

Cycling up hills is one of the most challenging aspects of cycling, but it can also be the most rewarding. With proper training, cyclists can improve their hill-climbing ability and conquer even the steepest of climbs. In this article, we will provide four unique sections on how to train for cycling up hills.

Hill Repeats

One of the best ways to improve hill-climbing ability is through hill repeats. Hill repeats involve cycling up a hill at a high intensity, then descending and repeating the process multiple times. This type of training is effective because it targets the specific muscles used in hill climbing and improves aerobic capacity.

To begin, find a hill that takes between 2-5 minutes to climb at a moderate effort. Warm up for at least 15 minutes before beginning the hill repeats. Start by cycling up the hill at a high intensity for 1-2 minutes, then descend and recover for 3-5 minutes. Repeat this process 3-5 times, gradually increasing the number of repeats as fitness improves.

Interval Training

Interval training is a popular training method for cyclists because it improves both endurance and power. The principle behind interval training is to cycle at a high intensity for a short period, followed by a recovery period. This type of training improves the body’s ability to use oxygen, making hill climbing easier.

To begin, warm up for at least 10 minutes before beginning the intervals. Start by cycling at a moderate effort for 3-5 minutes, then increase the effort to near-maximal for 1-2 minutes. Recover for 3-5 minutes, then repeat the process 3-5 times. Gradually increase the number of intervals as fitness improves.

Strength Training

Improving strength is essential for hill climbing because it enables cyclists to apply more force to the pedals. Strength training should focus on the leg muscles, especially the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes.

To begin, include exercises such as squats, lunges, and leg presses in your training programme. These exercises should be performed at a high intensity with low repetitions (3-6). Gradually increase the weight as strength improves.

Proper Technique

Proper technique is crucial for hill climbing because it enables cyclists to use their energy efficiently. Here are some tips for improving technique:

  • Use a cadence of around 70-90 revolutions per minute (rpm). This will allow for a smooth and efficient pedal stroke.
  • Keep the upper body relaxed and still. This will prevent unnecessary energy expenditure and improve balance.
  • Shift gears appropriately. Use a lower gear when approaching a hill to maintain a steady cadence and prevent excessive fatigue.
  • Maintain a steady effort. Avoid starting too fast and burning out before reaching the top of the hill.

Improving hill-climbing ability requires a combination of specific training methods and proper technique. Hill repeats, interval training, strength training, and proper technique are all essential components of a successful training programme. By incorporating these training methods into your routine, you can improve your hill-climbing ability and conquer even the steepest of climbs.