Love riding your bike but always find the climbs a bit of an uphill struggle? You’re not alone! Cycling coach and SG Brand Ambassador, Josh Brandwene, shares some top tips to help you embrace your inner mountain goat and improve your climbing.

Elevation? Bring it on!

Josh Brandwene: Top Tips to Improve Your Climbing 

Work on your aerobic base

Fighting against gravity is an added cycling challenge. Developing your base aerobic fitness will help to make you more resistant to fatigue while you’re climbing.  Plus, it will also give your body the tools it needs to be able to recover faster between climbs on hilly rides. Try incorporating more steady endurance rides into your schedule to establish a solid base of aerobic fitness. These important sessions are often skipped or reduced; I can’t stress enough how important they are!

Climb more

It might sound obvious, but the more time you spend climbing the more strength, fitness and experience you’ll get. Knowing what it feels like to fight against gravity at different gradients and over different distances will help you to gain the fitness and the knowledge to get up those inclines efficiently. Climb more regularly and you’ll soon see the gains. That climb you hate right now? Keep chipping away and it’ll soon feel, dare I say…enjoyable!

Try to do a weekly threshold effort

That burning sensation in your legs when you’re riding up a hill? That’s lactate accumulating in your muscles. And a great way to develop higher power and become more efficient at tolerating lactate, is to do an appropriate amount of your weekly training at a higher intensity.

When we talk about threshold, we don’t mean flat out 10 second sprints. Functional Threshold Power or FTP generally refers to the maximum amount of power (or effort) you can theoretically sustain for around an hour. FTP is not a metric you need to constantly obsess about, but that’s a conversation for another time. A typical threshold session will usually be done just below your FTP. For example:

Warm Up

Zone1: 10mins

Zone 2: 4:30mins

Zone 3 burst: 30sec

Zone 2: 2:30mins

Zone 4: burst 30sec

Zone 2: 2mins

Main Set

7-11min at 94% of FTP

1-5mins Zone1 recovery

Repeat 3 times

The length of the threshold and recovery blocks in the main set should based on your current Zone2 foundation and your previous experience with threshold training.

Cool down

12mins zone1

These threshold efforts can be done either on your indoor trainer, or outdoors if the conditions are safe and favourable. By completing this type of session once a week, you’ll build strength and power which will help you to become a stronger climber.

Not trained using zones before? Check out this Training Peaks article for more information on training zones and what they should feel like!

Find your climbing style

This is where practicing climbing more often comes into play. You’ll only learn through experience how you personally climb the most efficiently. Some riders perform better opting for a higher cadence, spinning their legs and staying seated. Meanwhile others find they’re better off pushing a bigger gear and getting up out of the saddle on a frequent basis. Try both methods and see what suits you best.

Pace yourself

Resistant the temptation to get overexcited. If you go too hard, too early and try to bank time or distance – it’s a sure fire recipe to blow up and it’s going to make the rest of the climb miserable. Trust me, I’ve been there! Pace yourself and learn to climb at tempo. By starting off steady, you’ll most likely end up getting to the top faster than if you go too hard and end up on the struggle bus to the summit

Get the gear(s)

Give yourself the tools you need! If you’re struggling up the climbs and grinding your gears, there’s absolutely no reason to be ashamed of adding a rear cassette that’s going to give you more gears so you can climb more efficiently.


So there you have it Herd, some top tips to help you show those climbs who’s boss! Let us know how you get on, and make sure you follow Josh Brandwene on Instagram and check out his website for more cycling tips.



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