Training to ride hills… You’ll need this for Manali to Leh!

Training to ride hills

Cycling at altitude is hard enough, cycling at altitude with endless climbing is another challenge all in itself. Our Manali to Leh Cycling tour is not one you can do without training (although Jeremie did prove to exception to this rule last year!). If you’re already looking at this tour, you’re probably riding regularly which is great, but you will need to push the training up those hills before you go. Here are three top hills sessions that will really build your hill endurance and power.

Firstly, you will need to find yourself a hill. Preferably one that takes about 10 minutes to ride and has a gradient of about 5-10%. Always do a warm up of about 10-15 minutes before you start these interval workouts and a cool down of 10-15 minutes afterwards as well. If you can, aim to train once to twice a week on the hills for the 8-12 weeks before you go as part of your regular riding schedule. Mix it up between the workouts below. You’ll be as good as a mountain goat up those hills when you get there!

Workout 1.

Stage 1

Pick an easy gear so you can spin at a cadence of about 90 as you head up the hill. Start with simple efforts of 5 minutes climbing before resting for 2-3 minutes as you cruise back down the hill. Repeat 3-5 times.

Stage 2.

Build up the time you spend climbing from 5 minutes to 8 minutes then eventually 10 minutes. Build up the number of repeats too, until you can do 5, 10 minute repeats spinning at a high cadence.

Workout 1


Workout 2.

Stage 1. Using effort this time, climb your hill at an effort of about 8/10 for 3 minutes then push it up to 9/10 for 2 minutes and end with 1 minute at 10/10 (dying!). Recover for 3-4 minutes then repeat 3-5 times.

Workout 2


Workout 3.

Use an effort of 8/10 for your base as you climb the hill. Every 30 seconds, put in a little sprint and push your effort to 10/10 for 10-20 seconds. Have 30 seconds to recovery, then repeat another 3-4 more times. If you’ve still got more in your legs, have a recovery on the flat for 10 minutes, then repeat the whole lot again.

Workout 3