The increase was a 67 to 76% increase in energy expenditure for all standing cycling
conditions. Image from the study.

New research sponsored by ACE demonstrates that standing (vs. sitting) burns more calories, as long as you keep everyone out of the saddle long enough. This study was conducted by a team lead by Dr. Len Kravitz at the University of New Mexico.[wlm_private 'PRO-Platinum|PRO-Monthly|PRO-Gratis|PRO-Seasonal|Platinum-trial|Monthly-trial|PRO-Military|30-Days-of-PRO|90 Day PRO|Stages-Instructor|Schwinn-Instructor|Instructor-Bonus|28 Day Challenge']

The study you can download here; Metabolic Cost of Weighted Vests During Standing Cycling was designed to look at the effect of adding additional weight (with a weighted backpack) to an Indoor Cyclist and learn the metabolic affect from how long you're out of the saddle:

Whether cycling on the road or pedaling in a club cycle class, this mode of activity is done using
both seated or standing positions. Previous research has examined the effect that cycling position
exerts on physiologic parameters such as heart rate (HR), oxygen consumption (VO2), or rating
of perceived exertion (RPE) during exercise (1—3). This research was intended to simulate hill
climbing, which is applicable to a majority of road cyclists. However, no prior research has
examined the effect of wearing a weighted vest during stationary standing cycling. As well, no
research has investigated the effect of extended bouts of stationary standing cycling (1, 2, 3 and
4 minutes) on metabolic parameters. The implications for this research may directly impact
individuals engaged in fitness center stationary cycling classes, which have become very popular
in recent years.

Anything to burn more calories

I met Dr. Kravitz in the Fall of 2012 at a fitness conference. Once he learned my interest in Indoor Cycling, he excitedly told me about his idea to study the potential training and calorie expenditure effects of adding weight to an Indoor Cyclist. If I'm remembering correctly, he expressed the understanding that weight loss / weight management is high on the list of reasons our riders come to class. If strapping on a backpack full of bricks was going to help someone reach their goal weight, I was all for learning more - and then share it with you.

Based on the chart above, it doesn't appear that adding weight has nearly the affect that simply getting everyone out of the saddle does.

The first minute is just practice 

The biggest take-away from this study for me, was the huge jump in calorie expenditure that occurs beyond the first minute.

Cyclists burn more calories standing vs sitting

Will seeing this change how you structure time out of the saddle?


Energy expenditure stabilized between minute 3 and 4 on all standing cycling conditions. This information provides program design suggestions for personal trainers and club cycle instructors desiring to optimize caloric expenditure utilizing research-driven methodology. Clearly, the inclusion of standing cycling bouts for 2 to 3 minutes during a cycling bout meaningfully increases energy expenditure. This increase in oxygen demand occurs during standing, with or
without a weighted vest (up to 15%BW was used in this study). According to Tanaka et al (3), this energy expenditure increase is attributable to the increased muscle blood flow and/or involvement of a larger muscle mass with standing cycling.

[/wlm_private]Dr. Kravitz's team has done a number of other studies that you may find of interest. I interviewed Doctoral student Micah Zuhl in 2012 and discussed the article he co-wrote with Dr. Len Kravitz entitled HIIT vs. Continuous Endurance Training: Battle of the Aerobic Titans. ICI/PRO Podcast #201 — HIIT vs Endurance Training with Micah Zuhl


Originally posted 2013-11-10 09:00:43.


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