When I first started cycling, I always saw climbs as a nightmare. Drag demons would become a reality to me, as I would suffer up the steepest of climbs. I would get to the top with my heart in my throat and wishing I had a new set of lungs!
“How was I going to conquer everything that stood above me?”
Well, I was going to master climbs, no matter what; I would master it.
In order to become a climb master, I went back to my training schedule. I thought long and hard about it, because I still wanted it to fit in with my busy schedule. Ultimately, I went back to the basics of training and combined it with certain exercises that work your leg muscles in specific areas. Especially the ones needed to climb strong.
The first exercise I introduced to myself (and have been doing for 2 years now) is running. I personally was not the running type initially, but once I got into it, I discovered that its quite pleasant, intense, but pleasant. I particularly focused on running up hills and running back down, as this not only strengthened my bone stricter, but improved muscles, like calves and thighs, which in turn helped me climb a lot better on a bike and feel a lot better at the top.
Secondly, I increased my core workouts. I believe you should do the exercise that works for you, but keep core workouts as intense as possible. I started doing more push-ups to better handling on the bike, and sit-ups to improve the way I’d climb. Another benefit, that I noticed, was my breathing improvement on climbs. I didn’t huff and puff as much as I’d used to.
On the bike – on route to mastering climbs.
With “off the bike” training going pretty well, I started to do the same climb in a ride, twice. This also gets you ready for race day so that you can outlast your opponents. Practise climbing technical climbs just as much. Your body learns then to distribute the energy it gives to your legs and arms, evenly.
After I put these exercises to use and spent no more than an hour a day in doing so, I learnt to love climbs – seriously I’m not joking!