Hill climbing

I always seem to struggle with Hill climbs. Is there a training plan or workout that helps build your conniving ability?


I’m not the right person to answer, but I just wanted to say that sometimes I love what auto-correct does!


Hi Ronald, and welcome!

It depends on how long those climbs are.

Where I live, the hills are very short, but can be steep (Kent, UK). I found that focussing on 5 minute power (MAP) really helped for me.

If you’re looking to ride up a mountain pass, you would want to consider focussing on the longer duration work (FTP).

On that basis, you could do a few building blocks for MAP and FTP and see how that works out for you.

Happy suffering!


There used to be a climbing-specific plan in SUFF, not sure now in SYSTM, but if you search the plans there are more than a few options relating to mountains and climbing.

@CPT_A Yeah - the Volcano Climbing plan. It is still available via the old app. It was intense but it worked for me. It was a fixed 3 week on an 1 week off plan with no ability to add strength. I think that the building block plans were expanded to incorporate Volcano Climbing - maybe in the Tempo and FTP modules?

@Repleasant For climbing try to incorporate a few of the following workouts each week: GOAT, Power Station, Thin Air, The Hunted, Angels, The Wretched, The Way Out and To Get to the Other Side. I especially like The Hunted. When I am finishing strong on that one I know that I am properly dialed in.


I don’t think you can get to the Volcano plan even in the old app any more. The Plans tab has been decommissioned and now links to your the wahoo website

1 Like

If you go into the Workout Library and choose filters, under Categories there is a specific “climbing” filter that will list all the appropriate workouts.


Hi Ronald (and welcome!)

:flushed: >>>> checking in to an available flogging station immediately after sharing this >>>> :flushed:

I find G.O.A.T great for climbing (training) by standing for all the pieces. Ideal low cadence work. 120 sec up and 60 sec down reps (think I recall timings correctly).

Works especially well with KickR climb.


If you have longer climbs, mashups such as ITSLTA can be useful.

1 Like

I am actually doing the Volcano Plan right now. I added that plan to my calendar before the old app was deprecated.

True, but as @TrapMeSuf pointed out, those workouts are aimed at 20-30 minute climbs. If you are climbing a mountain, or mountain pass that becomes more of an endurance effort.

Having done those climbing workouts, and ridden up some mountains, I appreciate the difference.

1 Like

That’s the way! I’ve got a screenshot of it saved somewhere, just in case they did such a thing.

I’m liking the revamped building blocks actually. I did the high volume MAP towards the end of last year and have just started it again (to try and get back to where I was t the end of the last time…!).

1 Like

I had to look it up – Fitting!

Hello @Repleasant and welcome to the SYSTM Forums :blush:

I agree with Sir @TrapMeSuf – short steep climbs are largely a function of your Maximum Aerobic Power (MAP, or 5 minute power), while the longer mountain passes or canyon climbs are more a function of your Functional Threshold Power (FTP). The Building Block plans are an excellent way to target deficiencies. From the Plans tab select Cycling > General Fitness > Building Blocks.

Have you attempted a 4DP Test? The Full Frontal 4DP Test is also a great way to identify which metric or intensity is lacking, and then working through either a Building Blocks plan or the General Fitness plan will likely improve the deficiency.

Good Luck!

1 Like

Thanks all, you’ve given me a lot to go on.

I found that I can still download some of The Sufferfest training plans in Training Peaks. I just downloaded Volcano. You need a TP account to do it.

Any plan that focusses on MAP will be helpful for improving performance on shorter climbs 4-10min as well as improving overall aerobic function/capacity. From there you can do more sustained work or repeated work if there are multiple shorter climbs in succession. So an all-purpose plan is one way to go with a mix of sessions to focus on these. Additionally building blocks with MAP, then FTP our AC depending on the climbs you’ll be doing and the terrain where you train.
Additionally just riding outdoors and on the climbs more can be beneficial for muscle activation when climbing as it was been shown that gradients can affect muscle activity patterns and therefore change the way your legs work when riding. I did a research piece on this for my BSc tat can be found here


Thanks, I appreciate the advice.

1 Like

Ok so I’m interested in this debate.
I live in UK and a lot of my rides involve climbs of avg 5% that last between 30-60 minutes.
My goal each year is to better my times on these.
What’s the best approach?
I have a 50-34 with 11-32 cassette and struggle to spin at cadence over 75 rpm.
Any advice as to what plan to follow for 3-4 weeks? Thanks

Caveat: I’m not a coach or an expert. That said, longer climbs that you describe I think will be limited by you FTP which in turn is limited by your MAP. So you could put together some building blocks that focus on MAP and FTP. Or you I suspect you could find an event prep plan that has that focus, but I’m not certain what that would be.