The key component to climbing success is your power-to-weight ratio. If you can increase your power output (FTP) and also lose a little bit of weight then your climbing will improve ten fold. Back this up with some specific climbing sessions and some improvements to your equipment, such as lighter wheels or components on bike, then you are going to see a massive improvement.
Another thing to remember is we have mainly three different types of climbs. The power climbs, which tend to be those nasty short steep climbs that usually see you out the saddle fighting the bike to get over; the intermediate climbs which vary from 4-12 minutes and are most common in certain parts of the UK; and the long climbs like Alpine mountain ascents that can be found on the continent or further afield. Certain riders are suited to different types of climbs so it’s good to work across the board and also know what area you want to improve on.
Finding the perfect ‘sit vs stand’ ratio that works for you is also important.
Rider preference varies and it’s largely to do with body composition. Usually lighter riders find it easier to climb out the saddle whilst heavier riders would rather stay seated. So work on that weakness! It also important to note that aerodynamics becomes significant over 10mph (16kph) – and climbing seated is more aero. I often will prescribe sessions that take seated and standing climbing into consideration depending on the client’s requirements.
Last but no means least is pacing the climb. You don’t want to blow up before reaching the summit so knowing the power (watts) you can maintain for the duration of the climb means you can judge your effort. This will take some practice and learning – sometimes the hard way – but it will be an important factor in helping you push your limits and chasing those KOMs.