Cadence Training is Hard but it gets better over time

I’m not allowed to post in the private forums, so I’ll make a post here for the folks experiencing high cadence for the first time.

I’m a grinder on the trainer. I like to ride between 70 and 80 rpms. High cadence is really hard for me. REALLY HARD. I hate it. But I do it because it makes me stronger and more efficient. When our coach first started giving me high cadence drills it took several months to adapt to them. And even now, years later, I struggle with them. Today I did 12’ @ 100 rpm at my endurance pace. Everything but my quads started to hurt. Doing high cadence at lower powers puts less stress on the quads and more stress on the tendons, stabilizers, etc… You will feel less tired after the workout because the power is lower and the quads are not getting hammered. But you will see improvements in power quickly because these “other” muscles are likely weak and don’t get trained much.


And the efficiency that comes from training high cadence is more power transfer to the pedals (i.e., improved torque). Everyone struggles for months when they first start to train high cadence. But everyone is different on how they adapt. I am different than @dfriestedt in that 12 minutes at 100 rpms does not feel as hard for me. My body is obviously different than his, and I am a different type of rider with different muscle fiber composition.

As I mentioned in another post, training ALL cadences is important and a part of cycling. It’s one of the most under-used and under-developed skill at all levels of the sport. And yet, it is one of the most (if not the most) important skill in my opinion. Doing a cadence (any cadence) that you are not used to hurts and makes the legs tire easily because you need to build new neuromuscular pathways (how your brain communicates with your muscles). So it’s hard and painful for everyone training it for the first time. Riders mistakenly believe that power is the holy grail, the reason some are better and faster than others, when in fact SKILLS are what really matter. Power alone gets you a seat at the table, skills allow you to play and win the game. (True for all sports!!)

Please read this post as to why training all cadences is important:


Yesterday I did a “free” workout outdoors that focused on keeping the cadence at certain levels depending on the terrain. Definitely faster cadence than I am used to. It felt like I was spending tons of energy not necessarily going anywhere fast BUT I did the loop with avg “85 rpm” on a 90 min ride. (I normally pedal at avg 75-76 on that loop.) That 9 rpm increase felt so much more than 9! I’m in awe knowing that you ride at 100!!! So impressive!!!

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