The importance of cadence training in cycling

Did you know that cadence training can make you go faster without the need to increase power?

Did you know that learning to control transitions to match changes in terrain using cadence changes (along with power, as needed) avoids unnecessary use of energy?

In this post, I discuss why all cadences are important and have a place in cycling, including:

  • What is cycling cadence and how to measure it
  • Importance of cadence training
  • Types of cadence
  • “Ideal cadence” is a misleading concept
  • Benefits of training all cadences
  • Sample cadence drills

If you want to learn even more about muscle firing patterns check out this podcast from Velo News: How to Stop Your Legs from Fighting Themselves.


Fascinating article thanks. I’m doing the workouts outside and only some of the cadence instructions show up. I’m going to do a top tube sticker for the next workout so I know what to aim for cadence-wise.

I do that too! I use painter’s tape (which peels off easily) and write the intervals with a permanent marker.

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Great article @Coach_Theia! And thanks for the podcast link too. I will be sure to give it a listen this weekend.

Great article! I was without a cadence meter for a year after shortening my cranks and finally got one back (in addition to a power meter, yay!). In that year my average cadence dropped considerably and I turned into a grinder. Some of that is riding with fast groups and needing low cadence to get the high power, but I’m trying to work on getting my average “cruising” cadence closer to 85 or so again.
Any good tips for not bouncing in the saddle when using a very fast cadence (over 95 or so)?

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Here are the tips to avoid bouncing:

  • Strong core (daily core workout anyone? :wink: )
  • Checking that your saddle height and overall bike fit are correct
  • Engage core, keep elbows in close to the body
  • Find a gear that allows for just enough resistance to achieve the cadence
  • Practice!

This was a great article! I will be retraining the way I currently ride to how I used to ride when I first started with my husband… getting out of the spinning is winning attitude! I was told to spin up the hill… when previously I would climb up slow and steady with more power! :woman_facepalming:t4::woman_shrugging:t4:

Again… looking to learn! Thanks Coach!

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Great article! So much to learn… Learning curve :arrow_up: but loving it all :slightly_smiling_face:

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Thank you!

Finally had a chance to listen to the podcast, really interesting! So they said being able to hold a high cadence of 120 minimum was sort of a sweet spot. In the workouts when you have us do high cadence of 100 + is 120 something we should we aiming to work up to?

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You can aim to increase above 100 rpms when we have the drills. But I do not believe we need to target 120 rpms to reap the benefits.


Thank goodness because 100 feels plenty fast to me!!! Lol

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Here is an example of cadence (and power) control while standing. These were 2 min intervals I did today, alternating 10 sec accelerations (high cadence) with 50 sec holding speed (low cadence)- all standing - and outside! Note that there are no drops in the transitions (blue line is cadence). The no drop means I kept the tension in the chain and did not lose any speed.

I know cadence control is one of the hardest things for athletes, even more so when they first start to train this way. It’s hard to match power/cadence seated, let alone standing! But it is very worthwhile, as it allows us to do more with less (go faster using less power). So keep at it, and you will continue to improve!!

Accelerations were at 80 rpms, holding speed was at 60 rpms:


That’s cool. I would agree this is hard to learn and make a habit but I"m working on it and the workouts that stress this are so helpful! Hard but helpful!