Mountain biking is a full body activity. While your legs are pushing and pulling those pedals, your core and upper body are holding everything in place, and that is a major key to climbing hills.

By following these five steps, your bike and body will become one tackling any climb.

So get ready to crank.

1) Know before you go

Drop your gears before you need them for steep climbing. The less pressure you apply while shifting, the better. Shifting early will set you up for success.

2) Get to know your saddle

Scoot yourself forward — way forward — on the saddle. This keeps you in a commanding position over the pedals to crank hard while targeting weight over the rear tire to keep it on from slipping out.

3) Pedal in circles

Pushing down on the pedals is just half of the battle, think of pulling the pedals around with your feet to complete the rotation. See “To clip or not to clip” to get the low down on how pedal selection can help you climb.

4) Keep it on lock down

Bend at the elbows with elbows in and forearms flat. And as you lean your weight forward, maintain a firm posture through your back and neck.

5) Don’t let go

Pull back and down on the handlebars, never up. This, coupled with your body position on the saddle and pedaling in circles, creates a powerful transfer of energy to the wheels that will turn you into a climbing machine.