Cadence recommendations in the workouts

I am in SSB1mv, in my third week. I am almost exclusively a mountain biker in the real world, and the trails I ride are quite technical, and full of short to medium duration, steep technical climbs. On the mountain bike, I rarely get to spin. except for short durations. Many of the workouts I’m doing have lots of specific cadence suggestions, which so far, I mostly trying to follow. That said, I am riding a KK smart control trainer, and do not have any real means by which to monitor my cadence, except by feel and sometimes I’ll count off pedal revolutions for 15 sec to gauge my cadence. so two questions…

Should I invest in a cadence sensor? Being that my real world riding offers precious little opportunity to spin, what do I stand to gain by developing the ability to spin efficiently over 100 rpm? Honestly, I feel like working on my ability to grind at low rpm would be more beneficial, but I also feel like this program is developed by people who know a lot more about this stuff than I do. As it is, spinning over 90 rpm feels really fast, and over 100 feels just plain silly. What am I missing? Thanks everybody, I look forward to your responses.

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If you want an easier and more accurate way to track it, yes.

I have a post about this that I will try to find. But here is a quick answer.

Train at the cadence ranges you can and do use outside. This means the recommended cadence may not be what you need to do.

In general, lower cadence will take more muscular toll on your body, vs higher cadence that loads the aerobic and cardiovascular system more.

It’s generally a good ideal to work on expanding your functional cadence range. But keep your actual needs in mind and adjust accordingly.


Related post. See the posts and other links in this reference.

Thank you! I guess that’s what I wanted to hear.

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Speed/Cadence sensors are cheap on Amazon. I see no need to purchase one of the “big name” sensors for an inflated price since they all pretty much use the same ANT+ & BT chipsets.

I’ve used Onlydroid/Coospo (they seem to be interchangeable) for <$20, work with both ANT+ and BTLE head units, including the BlueGiga dongle on a PC. I do get the odd spike with TR but I attribute that to interference as it never happens outdoors with my Lezyne GPS.


Also primarily an XC mountain biker here also. I spend time working on cadence range, and feel that it helps me quite a bit more than I thought it would. Having a big, comfortable range, is just another tool that you have at your disposal, and I think you’d be surprised where you can utilize that range when you really pay attention to it - whether it’s a short fireroad section and offloading some of the burden from your quads to making it more aerobic by spinning a high RPM, or a super low cadence to grind up over a climb rather than dropping another gear to keep in your natural cadence - both are very very useful.

Plus it’s a “free” small get, so why not work on broadening your range a bit? That’s how I look at it anyway.


@bugeye72 I’m also a XC racer, I have a cadence sensor and I work through all the TR cadence drills in the workouts. I’m the opposite though, I have a pretty high natural cadence 95-105 and I can comfortably spin at 115. It doesn’t start feeling ridiculous to me until it’s over 130-140 rpms.

I THOUGHT I couldn’t spin at lower cadences and it felt like pedaling through mud if I dropped below 90 rpms. Having gone through Traditional Base 1, 2, and 3 I did a bunch of cadence drills to include low cadence in the 60 rpms. As it turns out, I love low cadences, who knew :exploding_head:. If I hadn’t done those drills I would have never realized I actually perform very well at 65-75 rpms.

My last workout was Washington +2 (5x7 supra-threshold intervals, 105% FTP). I did the first 3 intervals at a higher cadence (95 rpm avg) and the last 2 intervals at a lower cadence (75 rpm avg). Not only was it great training working at various cadences, I couldn’t have even finished the workout if I had to keep 95 rpms for every interval.

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I also mountain bike and found low cadences to be a more natural way to ease into SSB1LV which I will finish this week. Initially I ignored TR cadence suggestions, for example I did the ramp test with 63 avg cadence. But I found it difficult to stick to target power at such low cadence with sustained sweet spot workouts like Antelope so I worked to expand my cadence range first by alternating low/high cadence intervals. I managed to make Antelope with low/high/high/high/low cadence for example with low cadence averaging around 65-70 and high around 85-90 and up to 110 depending on the voluntary drills - with max 147rpm with my first out-of-saddle 10-second sprint drills. Overall, I found the whole process of expanding cadence range to mean that I have more tools at my disposal to handle varied MTB terrain. Enjoy!


Jumping on this thread, not to cause duplicates.

How important are the recommendations? I know coach chad has mentioned that just stick to a cadence that suits you. My question is how will riding outside of the recommendations 85-96 rpm effect me as a rider, and effect the benefits of the workout. I generally spin ~100 rpm when close to threshold or more. I completed Washington +2 @ 107% (bumped it up by 2%)

I was spinning these blocks at 100 / 105 rpm averaging 100 rpm for each block, because its what felt comfortable at that time. As a rider I am generally a rolling road kinda guy, and love bridging gaps.