Best Routes for Building Climbing Stamina

I’ve been zwifting about a month now and building up my general biking stamina. Longest ride I’ve been able to do so far was completing the Greatest London Loop in just under an hour last Friday. I know how to work myself up on mostly flat routes, but the hills are killing me right now. I did the UCI Worlds Course this morning and I had to stop near the top of the final hill and just let my heart rate drop for a good minute or so before I could get back on and finish out the course.

With hills in mind, anyone have favorites for building up that climbing stamina? It seems I am getting challenged by even the small climbs right now so just not sure the best way to boost myself in this area. Other than to just keep riding of course!

Alpe du Zwift? Climb Alpe Du Zwift | Zwift

Also, check out the 3x13min Climbs group workout that’s scheduled pretty frequently.

I don’t think I am ready for the alpe du Zwift. Also pretty sure it’s locked till level 12. That’s a few weeks away at best since I am currently level 7.

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Epic KOM plus bonus Radio Tower Climb. ERG mode in a workout is one way to do em without having to put much thought into pacing. Just pick a wattage you can handle for the duration and pedal.

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Hey Matt,

As a new roadie who’s looking to improve climbing performance, and based upon what information you’ve shared, I’d say Titan’s Grove and the normal KOM hill near downtown Watopia is a nice place to start. These climbs won’t absolutely kill you like the longer climbs can, and will. Don’t forget to choose the Everest challenge achievement to earn the Trek Emonda, which is a great climbing bike, followed by the “Tron Bike.”

When you feel like those aren’t giving you the challenge you desire, then move on to the Epic KOM and Innsbruck. Then add in the Radio Tower with the Epic KOM. Finally, start climbing the Alpe.

…and good for you. Most people avoid climbing like it’s a virus to be caught.

Biggest tip I can give you:

Lose weight if all but possible; it makes a huge difference.

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Try to adjust trainer dificulty slider to 50% and use easy gears at higher cadence…

the volcano climb was my go-to when i started. it’s relatively short, has a mostly constant gradient, and most of the routes that hit it have flat sections leading in/out for recovery/prep. also – do you use a fan? that’s critical for climbing. if you do use a fan, maybe add another one for good measure? i ride with two, and it’s nice.

i had a similar problem learning to pace myself on the climbs. for me, the key was using a heart rate monitor to keep an eye on my effort level. i also think doing workouts is good for you – intervals increase your exposure to different levels of effort/stress.

other hills that are good ideas: normal watopia KOM, titan’s grove KOM, london’s box hill and the hilly section of richmond. (the hilly section of richmond is really good because it’s three short climbs back to back)

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Don’t forget to sign up for the Everest challenge so you can eventually get Tron wheels

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Climbing is learning to pace. A short climb isn’t the best way to learn pacing. I think the Epic Kom (without Tower) is a perfect climb to learn pacing. Halfway there’s a little flatter section to recover and gradient is not that steep as AdZ. Heart rate monitor and fan for cooling is the way to go just as nailing a wattage that you can sustain for the length of the whole climb. Once done a few times, you’ve learned to pace and are ready to go a step further.

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Thanks all, good suggestions. I do have a heart rate monitor which is how I knew I was pushing it too much today. I don’t have a fan currently so I can fix that as well and have some places to start at to work on this.

You don’t need climbs for this.

General endurance gainz: ride between zone 2 and zone 4 for as many hours are you body will allow. Then rest as hard as you train.

No one mentioned gearing, (although trainer difficulty setting is in some ways equivalent to extra gearing). If your gears are too big (hard) then you will have to either, grind at a very low cadence, or put too much power to be able to maintain. Let us know your gear range and also what trainer you are using, as this will make a difference too.

There is a variation in the way power can be applied throughout the pedal stroke on hills compared to the flat/downhill, but on the whole it is about gearing and consistency. Get the gearing right and pace the effort and you will be able to climb anything on Zwift!

To answer the question directly, follow the advice of the great Eddie Merckx, " *Ride as much or as little, or as long or as short as you feel. But ride.

X2 on all the suggestions above, especially the 2 fans!

I’m riding a Fuji Tread 1.5 which I am pretty sure is an 18 speed. I tend to keep it to the first 9 gears to prevent burning myself out too fast, except when going downhill.

The trainer is a Wahoo kickr Snap

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That’s a 9 speed. Spin to win. try to keep RPMs around 90-100, and put enough pressure on the pedals that you feel the effort but so much pressure that you can’t speak in nearly complete sentences. That will get you pretty close.

Generally when climbing you will either be at Tempo (green) or Threshold (yellow) levels of effort. So in order to survive longer climbs you need to condition yourself to be in these zones longer. I refer to colours as that the visual cue within workouts and also free rides if you have the graph on display (press G).

Utilising workouts which focus on these zones is a good way to improve. Workouts will usually aim to put you in a target zone for a few minutes then have a short recovery before putting you back in the zone again. Repeating a few times during the whole session. Other workouts use an ‘over/unders’ system where you rotate efforts at tempo and threshold so you don’t have a recovery interval as such. These are good for developing your threshold levels and ergo your climbing ability.

You can also work this ‘manually’ in free ride by either knowing your zones power output or by displaying the graph at the bottom of the screen. Start a climb like Epic work at a zone for a period of time or between two landmarks, recover and repeat.

I use a mixture of workouts for the fixed efforts and ERG control and also free riding as out on the road the terrain is random.

The bottom line is you want to push your threshold levels, so working in this zone will eventually improve it.

Remember though that zones rely on your FTP being accurate. So do a FTP test.

Matt, I hear you. I’m a mid-50s non-biker who really struggled with the climbs in Zwift. I like the Mountain climbs in Watopia the best. I find the climbs to be more uniform in grade and the scenery to be more interesting.

About climbing . . . it’s mental for me. I had to get over the mindset that if I didn’t crest the top I failed. Once I did that, I would climb until I reached my limit, hit the “U” turn button, and coast back down. I kept track of how far up I went and celebrated when I hit milestones: The bridge, the 100 meter mark, the snow line, etc. Over time, I found a pace my mind and body could handle.


I am new to Zwift and am not sure how to “choose” a challenge?

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Climb Mt. Everest

Ask nicely and ye shall receive. :grinning:

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thanks that helped