6 Benefits Of Peloton Climb Rides (That you haven’t heard before)


It’s time for cardio. Today I wanna show you the 6 benefits of peloton climb rides that you haven’t heard before (which I think you will like).

In general, peloton climb rides are interval-style cycling classes that mimic the slope of the road by adding resistance and lowering the pace. The classes vary in duration from 10 to 60 minutes and come with three difficulty levels.

Also, please read carefully till the end because I also wanna show you how you can get better and make climb rides much easier.

Peloton Climb Ride Benefits

There are several benefits of doing climb rides that range from better body composition, improved aerobic capacity, and enhanced lactate threshold. I look at the peloton climb rides as a hybrid of endurance and HIIT rides.

They are hard on the body because I have to be climbing all the time (which gets me huffing and puffing), but it’s usually for longer distances, so it’s not as hard as HIIT training.

Are peloton climb rides effective? As a whole, the peloton climb rides are effective because they work on both aerobic and anaerobic energy systems. Also, adding a gradient often requires shifting the riding position, which helps to engage more muscle groups and burn extra calories.

Do climb rides build muscle? In short, the climb rides do build muscle because they work on multiple groups like hamstrings, glutes, and quadriceps. They also work more on your abdominal and hip stability muscles, thanks to being out of the saddle.

What is the hardest peloton climb ride? As a whole, the hardest peloton climb ride is the 45 minute class with Matt Wilpers from the 6th of March 2020. Matt gradually but surely increases the resistance while keeping rest at a minimum. This class is great to challenge yourself or improve your PR.

You can find peloton climb rides in the cycling class category under the “climb” tab. From there, you can further filter all classes by duration, effort level, instructor, and music. My favorite peloton instructor from climb rides are Matt and Ben.

Here are the 7 benefits of peloton climb rides.

#1 Higher FTP score

I think that one of the biggest benefits of doing peloton climb rides is the opportunity to boost your power output.

As a whole, the peloton climb rides are good for improving the FTP scores. Higher resistance mimics the gradient on the road, which requires significantly higher output. Also, climbing done out of the saddle increases peak pedal force dues to changes in biomechanics.

I know some people prefer to stay seated when they climb. For me, it’s the opposite.

I find it much easier to climb when I’m out of the saddle because it allows me to engage more muscle groups and develop more power.

Studies that compared level ground and uphill cycling efficiency have shown that “greater power can be produced in standing position, presumably due to a greater force developed per revolution” (Millet et al. 2002).

However, it does come with higher energy costs because you can only maintain this effort level for a limited amount of time. This means (initially) you gonna see a lower cycling economy.

Why is it harder to cycle uphill? Overall, it is harder to cycle uphill because each additional level of resistance on the peloton bike imitates the gravity force from riding in incline. To maintain the same pace at higher resistance, you need to generate significantly more watts.

#2 Lowers appetite

In general, an appetite is the desire to eat and is influenced by several factors like physical hunger (which is the actual need to eat) and psychological hunger (wanting to eat).

Peloton climb rides, as a moderate-intensity continuous training, helps to regulate the appetite by reducing ghrelin and PYY plasma levels. It also helps to improve the satiety response to a post-exercise meal.

Studies have shown that “an acute bout of medium-intensity intermittent exercise suppresses ad libitum energy intake at the postexercise meal” (Sim et al. 2015).

This means people who practice intermittent fasting or generally want to lose weight by doing calorie deficit can do their peloton climb rides just before mealtime.

This approach not only helps to reduce calorie intake but also stay full for longer.

NOTE: Any form of exercise will help to suppress appetite. However, please keep in mind that the intensity and body fat percentage matter.

Recent studies on high-intensity interval training have shown that “appetite hormones differ between lean and obesity participants and HIIT is more likely to elicit appetite hormones responses in obese, rather than in lean individuals” (Afrasyabi et al. 2019).

This means that people who carry excess weight will have the opposite effect of doing HIIT workouts.

That’s why I recommend doing peloton climb rides, not HIIT or Tabata rides because there is a huge difference in intensity level.

#3 Time efficient

I think peloton climb rides are the ideal classes for a busy schedule. Whenever that’s first thing in the morning or before your lunch break.

Climbing uphill quickly increases the intensity and elevates your heart rate. This is perfect for people who are short on time but want to get a good workout done.

In short, peloton climb rides are good for busy people because they provide high-intensity workouts in a short amount of time. Cycling at 50 resistance and 65 cadence generates around 400 kJ, which is equivalent to a 50-minute low-impact ride.

Even if I have more time on my hands, I always like to challenge myself and go for one of those 60-minute climb rides.

#4 Better music

You may think I’m crazy but I genuinely believe that peloton climb rides have better music than regular pop or hip hop rides. Most of the pop songs on the peloton have a melody that has no irregular rhythm. This makes it hard to ride to the beat.

I’ve been teaching indoor cycling since 2010 and I’ve always ridden to the music.

Riding to the beat means you pace your cadence and resistance based on the music BPM (beat per minute). Most of the peloton climb rides use music that has a very clear and rhythmic beat with a medium tempo (90 – 120 bpm). This is the sweet spot because it’s easy to follow.

I think that’s the main reason why I love climbing rides. It makes me feel like I can go harder for longer, thanks to the good music.

Now watch this.

A study done by Dr. Avinash E Thakare from North Bengal Medical College in India has shown that “music significantly improved exercise duration, as well as reduced ratings of perceived exertion” (Thakare et al. 2017).

Another recent study concluded that “music has been shown to reduce rating of perceived exertion, increase exercise enjoyment and enhance exercise performance” (Maddigan et al. 2019).

When climbing uphill, you don’t want your music to be too fast. This makes it impossible to keep up with a pedal stroke. On the other hand, a rhythm that is too slow can make you go slower and lower your intensity.

#5 Cross-transfer effects

Cross transfer effect means when you’re better at climbing (cycling with higher resistance) this skill will transfer into other sports that you practice.

In general, peloton climb rides are good for cross-transfer because they help to improve performance. Most of the climb rides maintain intensity above 75% of VO2max, which is in line with any performance type of training like 5K, 10K, or even marathon.

I always find that when I get better at uphill cycling, my other sports seem to get better like:

  • running
  • tennis
  • swimming

This cross-transfer training effect is mostly identified between cycling and running, especially when training for marathons or triathlons.

This means you can use your Peloton bike and crank up with climb rides as your main way to improve your performance, especially during the offseason.

#6 Fat loss

Overall, the peloton climb rides are good for fat loss because they burn significantly more calories, comparing to low-impact or beginners rides. At the same time, they are less strenuous on the body and require less recovery time, compared to HIIT or Tabata rides.

How many calories can you burn? As a whole, the peloton climb rides can burn from 300 to 650 calories, depending on the effort level and class duration. Most of the climb rides use higher resistance with a slower cadence, which requires significantly more energy to maintain.

Please remember that those classes will be hard for beginners because they require correct technique and enough muscle endurance to keep up with the intensity.

They also can cause muscle soreness and slight discomfort in the first few weeks of training.

Why do my legs ache when cycling uphill? In short, your legs ache when cycling uphill because higher resistance leads to higher intensity and greater blood lactate accumulation in the muscles. The lactic acid build-up is associated with the soreness and “burning effect” of the muscles.

Here’s the thing.

These are all temporary effects because the more you train, the easier it gets.

How To Train For Peloton Climb Rides

Here are some of the best ways you can do to get better at cycling up hills:

  • Plan your workouts – This means following organized and planned in advanced peloton training schedule that includes progressive overload. To learn more about “peloton training plan” check out my article here.
  • Strengthen your legs – This includes spending more time off the bike in your local gym, or using the peloton strength classes. I highly recommend doing “peloton for runners”, which is brillinant workout that have all the exercises you need to improve cycling hill climbing.
  • Prioritize recovery – Recovery is a broad term that includes sleep, relaxation, nutrition and hydration. It also includes reducing overall stress and muscle tenstion.
  • Train ousdoors – Riding the bike ouside is completely differnet that training indoors. Peloton bike is great, however when you’re outside you also have things like wind speed, rain and other weather consitions.

However, the most practical way to improve your climb ride skills on the peloton bike is to spend more time training.

Strength and muscle endurance need regular stimuli to trigger training adaptations like enhanced oxygen consumption, better exercise economy, and maximal force production.

This only happens when you train at higher resistance for longer distances.

Conclusion

As you can see, the peloton climb rides offer many benefits that go beyond weight loss or muscle gain. I think they are the most satisfying cycling classes because of the moderate effort level combined with a great music selection.

Most of the climb rides require being out of the saddle, which is what I prefer because I can get more work done in a short amount of time.

Higher effort means higher output. And higher output means better results.

Michal Sieroslawski

Michal is an exercise physiologist (MSc), nutrition coach, Ashtanga teacher, and fitness blogger. He shares his successes and failures to help busy men and women squash down 20, 50, or even 100 pounds of fat without leaving their home.

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