Stand or Sit?

I’m using Wahoo Systm with a Tacx Neo Smart Trainer in ERG mode. Enjoying the On Location rides with Mike Cotty but really struggle when he says “stand”. The cadence is too high and controlling low cadence standing is nigh on impossible. What are peoples views with Standing on smart trainers? Am I doing something wrong? Admittedly, I don’t stand up much when I’m out on the road, maybe the muscles are under-utilised. Is there a technique or any guidance for a better standing form? Lean back, lean forward, engage core, full weight? SO many questions.

I recommend a visit to Elements of Style to improve your standing form.


Have you tried the “Elements of Style” of workout?

I don’t think you are doing anything wrong, you just need to work on proper form and technique.

When riding outside the force you put through the pedals is unlikely to be constant but we don’t notice because we don’t check our speed multiple times a second like a smart trainer does. It might be worth putting your trainer in Level mode to start with, rather than Erg mode so you aren’t fighting against your smart trainer varying the resistance during a pedal stroke.


I echo the suggestion to do Elements of Style where the end of the workout focuses on standing.

That being said, there has been an awful lot of ink spilled (electrons wasted?) on whether it is better to stand or sit, depending on whether you are sprinting or hill climbing. There seems to be a tradeoff between mechanical efficiency and cardiovascular efficiency that boils down to personal preference.

Some of the workouts suggest that you do not stand if you do not feel secure about standing on your indoor trainer.


When I started training indoors, I couldn’t stand for more than a few seconds without getting winded. Now, I stand all the time.

If you keep at it, your body will adapt.


I’m finding that it’s more natural/easier to stand on when the KICKR Bike tilts upwards than it did when I was using the direct-drive KICKR.

Curious if it’s the same for folks using the CLIMB?

When standing, you’re contacting the bike at two points, the crank and bars. Tilting the bike up a 10 % grade moves the bars up about 4-5cm compared to the crank, and back a fraction of a cm. So, when standing, the net effect of grade is raising the bars.

I don’t have a setup that tilts up, but as a matter of course, when I setup a bike on my trainer, I raise the bars ~4cm above what I use when riding outside. I don’t do this for the purpose of emulating a climb, but just find it more comfortable indoors. My road bike is normally set up with a saddle to bar drop of 10cm, so starts out pretty low in the first place.

@scottwaddington I am with you 100%. I have real issues trying to stand at a high cadence. I have done Elements of Stale several times and it does not help.

For me, I had an additional problems with my knees. At low cadence and high torque, I can stand for pretty much as long as I need to. But at high cadence, my knees really feel it. Basically, not worth any potential negative impact on the knees to try and stand at high cadence.

As a triathlete, I rarely stand when out on the road as well. I just can’t see the huge downside to NOT standing when a video would like me to.

I guess my suggestion would be to work on it if you will get value out of it. If not, then do your thing and enjoy the ride!

As a natural climber and grinder, nobody ever needs to tell me to stand up, but I always sit down before I pass somebody else who’s going uphill standing.

That particular element of style outdoors is just very different from indoors.



Incidentally, I did the Gorges de la Nesque On Location ride today, and Mike’s cadence during all the standing blocks was noticeably higher than the workout target. I found that massively distracting.

Crikey! I do the exact same thing too :sweat_smile:
But there are a couple of times, I rode off the saddle and climb next to them to give them the encouragement to crush it.

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I never stand at over 80 rpm

Yes, definitely. It’s one of the things I like about the Climb. Whenever a video tells me to stand, if the Climb is not already pointing up I move it manually. Similarly, if I want to stand to relieve some pressure, I nearly always tilt it up. It just feels a lot more natural.