Peloton Out Of Saddle (Benefits, classes, and tips)


You can ride the peloton in three positions where two of them are out of the saddle. In this article, I will explain if peloton standing up is good for you, the differences between standing and seating position, and what are the best classes to join.

As a whole, the peloton standing is good for you because it allows you to add more resistance and increase energy expenditure. Upright position also allows for hip extension, which helps to engage glutes more efficiently, as well as forces the core muscles to be more active.

Doing peloton out of saddle requires good proprioception skills and body awareness. But it also burns more calories and delivers a better workout. Keep reading to learn more about the pros and cons of doing peloton standing rides.

Peloton In vs Out of Saddle

In general, the most important thing that will determine your position on the peloton bike is personal preferences and goals. To burn as many calories as possible, it is better to ride the peloton out of the saddle. However, if your goal is to train for endurance, it’s better to stay seated (more on that later).

The main difference between the saddle and out of the saddle position on the peloton bike is in the cycling economy and energy expenditure.

What is the cycling economy? As a whole, the cycling economy is the efficiency level while performing exercise at the sub-maximal intensity and still be able to maintain a correct technique. It is the ability to produce the highest power output while using the same amount of energy.

In other words, it’s your ability to endure long-distance rides, without getting fatigued. For instance, walking has a higher economy than running because you can do it for longer with less energy cost. Staying in the saddle allows you to go further without exhausting your muscles.

On the other hand, energy expenditure is the effect of calories burned during the ride. The higher the heart rate, the more oxygen you consume, therefore, the more calories you gonna burn. Out of the saddle position not only requires higher VO2 and heart rate but also calls for greater muscle activation.

A recent study done by (Berkemeier et al. 2020) documented a group of male cyclists and the difference between seated and standing positions. The main goal of this project was to evaluate differences in VO2, heart rate, muscle activation, and breathing.

StudyResults 1
VO2 and Heart rateThe VO2 and heart rate were significantly higher in the standing position, which indicates greater calorie expenditure.
Difference between in and out of the saddle in a 20-minute ride

As you can see, the standing position requires more energy, and therefore, will burn more calories. It also requires more VO2, as compared to a seated position. 10 BPM difference may not seem like a lot.

HOWEVER.

If you do peloton every day for 6 months, this small shift in 10 bpm results in a difference of 20 to 50 calories per class (Ainsworth et al. 2000).

StudyResults 2
Muscle ActivationThe standing position requires significantly greater quadriceps activity (rectus femoris and vastus lateralis, compared to seated position). Hamstrings and calves showed similar activity in both positions.

The difference between muscle activity was mainly in the quadriceps muscle group. The results are in line and consistent with those of previous research, including a study conducted by (Arkesteijn et al. 2016).

What muscles does riding out of the saddle work? As a whole, the main muscles engaged during the out of the saddle are quadriceps (vastus medialis, vastus lateralis, rectus femoris), hamstrings (biceps femoris, semitendinosus), and calves muscles (gastrocnemius-soleus complex).

Best Peloton Out of Saddle Classes

Now once you understand the main difference between riding the peloton in and out of the saddle, I wanna show you some of the best classes that you can start doing, from beginner level to advanced.

Are peloton classes out of the saddle? In general, the peloton classes are both in and out of the saddle. The saddle rides are usually low impact, where out of the saddle classes are typically HIIT intervals and climbing sessions where the body requires more energy and power to handle higher resistance.

#1 Mastering the Basics Cycling

Mastering the basics cycling is a peloton 6-week program that combines both cycling and strength training class. This program is about building up the strength and stability to maintain long-distance rides.

There are 28 classes in total that teach the basic moves, helps to get stronger, and helps to get more comfortable of out the saddle.

#2 Climb Ride

Peloton climb ride is a series of classes that focus on uphill climbing. Whenever you’re in or out of the saddle is depending on the instructor.

Most of the climb rides incorporate a combination of both in an interval training style where you spend 3-5 minutes standing, followed by 3-5 minutes seated.

#3 HIIT and Hills Ride

HIIT and Hills peloton ride is another combination of single classes where you will modify intensity using resistance and cadence. The class is divided into two sections. One part is about going low on resistance but high with cadence while staying seated.

Another part is the opposite where you add more resistance, reduce cadence and get stand out of the saddle. The goal if this class is to build muscle endurance, as well as power and strength.

Learn more: Click here to read more about “best peloton classes for weight loss“.

How Do You Get Out of the Saddle On the Peloton?

As a whole, to get out of the saddle on the peloton you need to add a sufficient amount of resistance that will helps you stand upright. Adding more resistance slows down the pedals and provides a standing platform with enough time to shift the weight from one leg to another and hold the balance.

On the other hand, if you don’t have enough resistance, the pedals will stroke too fast and won’t provide enough balance. The loss of stability will cause the body to shift from the pedals towards the front and rely on handlebars to stand straight.

This means you need to be heavy on the pedals and hold the bar just for equilibrium. Also, leaning too much forward puts pressure on the handlebars and reduces your ability to create decent power output from the pedal stroke.

Here is the step-by-step instruction on how to get out of the saddle on the peloton.

  1. Add resistance on the bike so you can feel the effort on your quads.
  2. Hold the handlebar firmly with both hands.
  3. Engage your core and stand up leaning towards one side of the bike where the pedal is in the upstroke.
  4. Once the pedal moves forward and reaches downstroke, shift the weight on the opposite leg.
  5. Adjust the resisatnce to provide enough stability and time to be able to move from one side to another.
  6. Once you feel more conforable, you can increase cadence.

Peloton Out of Saddle Positions

As a whole, there are three positions in the peloton bike, and two of them require being out of the saddle.

What is 1st position on the peloton? In general, the first position of the peloton is the seated position where you stay in the saddle with your hands at the widest part of the handlebar. Your elbows yous be slightly bent, core engaged, and back straight. This position helps to maintain high cadence.

What is 2nd position on the peloton? As a whole, in the second position on the peloton, you’re out of the saddle, but you keep your torso upright and hips over the pedals. Your torso should stay straight and your hands holding the handlebar before the bent. Adding more resistance

What is the difference between second and third position peloton? As a whole, the difference between second and third positions on the peloton is in the posture and weight redistribution. The second position requires to keep the weight in line with the pedals, where in third position you need to keep your hips over the pedal line.

Peloton Out of Saddle Cadence

Adjusting the cadence while being out of the saddle on the peloton does require practice. It not only calls for a good sense of stability but also muscle endurance and strength.

How do you keep cadence out of a saddle? In general, to keep the cadence out of the saddle you need sufficient resistance that allows you to maintain your weight on the pedals while doing the stroke. However, it is much safer to do stay seated on rides that require higher cadence.

One mistake I see people doing why they can’t get out of the saddle is because they don’t adjust their resistance high enough. When you’re up, the body needs to rely on pedal resistance.

If your resistance is too low, the body cannot stand straight so the whole weight shifts towards the handlebar. Adding more resistance will give you more stability and allow you to redistribute the weight more towards the pedals.

How do you increase the cadence out of the saddle on the peloton? As a whole, to increase the cadence on the peloton you need to firmly hold the handlebars, engage your core and focus on transitioning your weight from one leg to another. Keeping your core engaged will help to maintain balance.

To make it easier, think about when you do elliptical training. When you’re on the cross trainer, your body naturally shifts from one platform to another. But that can only happen when your resistance is high enough.

By the way, I’ve made an article where I compared “peloton vs elliptical“, which I recommend you read.

How Do You Get Better Out of a Saddle Peloton?

As a general rule, to get better at being out of a saddle on a peloton you need to practice by joining more climbing and interval classes. Start from doing shorter rides and slowly progress to longer and more challenging sessions.

Some of the peloton climbing classes are as short as 10 to 15 minutes. In this class, you will likely do a long warm-up where you can get used to resistance and 2-5 standing intervals that take 20 to 30 seconds.

Over time, the muscles will get stronger and your sense of rhythm will improve which will help to endure longer rides.

Keep in mind that the climbing classes are more difficult because they require more standing positions, however, they also have several benefits.

Peloton Out of Saddle Benefits

In general, the main benefits of riding the peloton out of the saddle are greater calorie demand, higher cardiorespiratory demand, and increased muscle activity. During the standing position, the body shifts its center of gravity on the legs, which requires more energy and balance.

Do you burn more calories on peloton standing than sitting? As a whole, you burn more calories on the peloton when standing because standing up increases your heart rate and metabolic rate. Standing allows you to add more resistance, comparing to a seated position. This means you will use more muscles and burn more energy.

Also, standing rides require much more core and glute activation that assist in maintaining correct posture. People with weak abdominal and glute muscles tend to bounce side to side and fail to maintain correct form.

Keep in mind that being able to sustain standing rides with high resistance and fast cadence is also a skill that takes practice. Not only it requires a certain level of strength, but also coordination and stability.

Peloton rides are all about cycling to the beat of the music. This means being able to stand on the pedals is one thing, but doing pedal strokes to the beat of the music is more challenging.

Here are some pros and cons of riding the peloton in and out of the saddle.

PROSCONS
Out of SaddleBurns more calories
Works more muscles
Generates more power output
Allows higher resistance
Faster muscle fatigue
Not good for people with knee problems
Requires greater skills and motor control
SeatedBetter cycling economy
Allows higher cadence
Easier to maintain
Doesn’t require skills
Burns fewer calories
Engages less muscle group
Pros and cons between in and out of the saddle

Learn more: Click here to read more about “best peloton classes for bad knees“.

Is it better to sit or stand on a peloton? As a whole, it is better to stand on the peloton, as long as you have enough strength and stamina to maintain out of the saddle position. Standing climbing increases heart rate and burns more calories. However, it is also more difficult to perform for beginners.

What I like about being out of the saddle is that you get a better workout in a shorter period of time.

When should you ride out of the saddle? In general, you should ride out of the saddle during the climb rides. Those rides require adding more resistance and lower the cadence, which is hard to maintain in the seated position. On the other hand, speed rides with low resistance are better to be done in the seated position.

Remember that you still can get a good workout from just staying in your seat. In fact, I find that I get a greater muscle burn in my quads when I do steep climbs and stay in the saddle. The only reason I prefer to stand up is a personal preference.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are several reasons why you should practice getting out of the saddle. Initially it may feel difficult but once you practice you will get better at it.

To ride the peloton out of the saddle you need to lift yourself up from the seat and redistribute your weight evenly between your hands and legs. The standing position requires good coordination skills, balance, and strong abdominal muscles.

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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