Help me with works at low cadence

Here I am again, still asking for info about low-speed workouts.

After doing: SS Low I & II and a week of Short Power Build Low, is it my impression that I feel low strength in my legs?
As if I could not push hard gear …

First: working at high cadence>85 do you still work in strength? or you have to use lower rpm (up to 50rpm) (as I did the previous season)?

Second: if I wanted to insert a low cadence workout, could I do it at this time of plans (Short Power Build) simply using lower rpm, for the Watt required by the workouts (for example Lion Rock)?

Hey Nick,

Firstly, you need to consider if being able to push a big gear is important for your objectives. Most types of riding allow you to ride at a near-optimal cadence at all times. Some exceptions include cross racing and mountain biking.

If your discipline requires you to drop below 75 rpm regularly, then adding some slow frequency work could be a good idea. You can integrate low RPM work into any Sweet Spot/ lower intensity intervals that you complete during your week. Be extremely mindful of knee pain, and if you experience pain, abandon the low frequency and start spinning normally.

Yes, training at RPMs greater than 85 will still build your strength. However, they will not specifically target your ability to push big gears at a low cadence. Workouts that target low cadence are targeting your leg’s force production capabilities. But as I mentioned, that is not really necessary for many types of racing.

What makes you think that you have low strength in your legs after completing SSB I and II? Did your FTP decrease? Are you having a hard time with the intervals in Short Power Build? Understanding your thoughts and the reasons behind them will help me to recommend an approriate course of action :slight_smile:

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Hey Nick,

Firstly, you need to consider if being able to push a big gear is important for your objectives. Most types of riding allow you to ride at a near-optimal cadence at all times. Some exceptions include cross racing and mountain biking.

I have to be able to push a big gear, because I am a mtb rider, and I run especially races of xc - xco and sometimes some marathon …

If your discipline requires you to drop below 75 rpm regularly, then adding some slow frequency work could be a good idea. You can integrate low RPM work into any Sweet Spot/ lower intensity intervals that you complete during your week. Be extremely mindful of knee pain, and if you experience pain, abandon the low frequency and start spinning normally.

As I imagined … actually the sweet spot phase I just finished it, now I started the step two: “build phase”, in particular “short power build - low volume”. So I increased the intensity of training, this type of workout is compatible with the low-speed jobs we talk about? or do I have to change something in my plan?

(I started in October with Sweet Spot Base Low Volume I & II - on January 14th I started the Short power build - Low Volume and I expect to start the Cross-Country Olympic - Low Volume in March)

What makes you think that you have low strength in your legs after completing SSB I and II? Did your FTP decrease? Are you having a hard time with the intervals in Short Power Build? Understanding your thoughts and the reasons behind them will help me to recommend an approriate course of action :slight_smile:

My FTP started in October with a value of 231 and after a stop of about 20 days, due to an illness, at the beginning of December it had dropped to 216. It has now risen to 226 (14 January). But in reality what worries me is not so much because I still expected more salisse in these 3 months, is that today I perceive a great ability to cycle easily at high rates with medium / low ratios, a characteristic that has never belonged to me perhaps because of the fact that in mtb I almost always pushed big gear at lower cadences.

For example yesterday I tried a road climb of about 6km with an average gradient of 5% completed in 23:18 (a good time for me compared to friends who drive like me) with a 38/28 and 38/32 gear in the more critical points at an average cadence of 76 rpm with an average heart rate of 90% of my Hrate max.

Bryce, thanks for your attention, I’m curious to hear your opinion and anyone else wants to help me.

What’s your typical race cadence and how do you measure it? I ride MTB mainly enduro but I hardly ever grind, my cadence is more often than not higher than those I’m riding with and without blowing my trumpet too hard, I’m generally quicker than most.

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I measure it with a garmin ant sensor. Usually in a xc race I have an average cadence value of 70/75 rpm and 65rpm in a marathon of 100km.

I think you should reconsider how you ride. It’s ultimately up to you but for me, a higher cadence is far more repeatable than a low one. 50 is really slow and imo should only be used if you’ve run out of gears, then you should consider a chainring/cassette combo that allows you to spin a bit easier. 80-85 is about as slow as I’ll go now but it took me a little while to work up to that.

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I race XC as well. I looked at my past 5 XC races and my cadence averages were 89, 95, 87, 89, and 88 (averages which include coasting outside). On the trainer my natural cadence falls in the upper 90s but I feel comfortable between 95-105 rpms. I also found on the trainer when I’m fatigued late in a long SS workout, I find comfort (more energy) at a cadence between 65-75. I think it’s when my slow twitch fibers get exhausted I default to high twitch.

Your cadences seem low and you may benifit from getting used to a higher cadence. Since you’re in Build already, I would use workouts to train at higher cadence, normal cadence and lower cadence where you can. Unfortunately, in SPB LV you don’t have a lot of workouts with intervals under threshold. But for the workouts you do (ie. Lion Rock, Bondcliff) you can do each interval at high, normal, then low cadences, giving you experience at all ranges. Then go back to your natural cadence for the VO2 parts. I’d play around with cadences to see what works. For example, I struggle with 76-89 rpms, but under or over that range I’m fine. Not sure why, but it works for me. I stil work in intervals in the 80s, it just feels so much harder for me.

Side note, I would have suggested General Build for XCO and XCM races as it better represents the demands of those races. Also, it looks like you’ll be finishing Specialty pretty early in the year. I’m not sure when your A race is, but if you’re training for an XC Race Season, ideally you’d finish Specialty with roughly a month remaining of races.

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Perfect advice above. I also think a General Build will serve you better in a couple of ways. I think it’s a better MTB plan for the most part. And I think it is a better place to apply low cadence work than Short Power Build.

Do as @MI-XC says and mix in some low cadence in alternate intervals (or segments within longer intervals).

But as mentioned above, I think you need to grow your upper cadence range, in an effort to pull your average cadence up. There us much to be gained in that pursuit, so I think it’s well worth your time.

Awesome stuff @Bryce, @Bioteknik, @Crownan and @MI-XC

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To tell the truth since I use tr and I refer to the end of 2018 and the beginning of this year with the work of the training program Sweet Spot Base, my cadence has increased and not a little and known the benefits when I turn on Street. less when I ride on mtb where maybe the strong slopes and the relationships (32/50) oblige me to work less agile …

That said, since I’m just at the first week of Short Power Build I think I’m still in time switch to General Build where it’s easier to use lower cadences. Do you agree?

My first race is scheduled for March 17th, and the last one on July 17th. While my training plan is scheduled to end with Cross-Country Olympic - Specialty Phase on May 1st

Thank’s @Bioteknik @MI-XC @mcneese.chad thanks for the support.

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Yeah, I would just hop over to GB at the same week and continue from there.

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For example the first GB workout is Spanish Needle -3 which is 6x8-minute sets of microbursts where you alternate between 15 seconds at 140% FTP and 15 seconds at 40% FTP.
How should I adjust my cadences?

Excuse me for my insistence, but I’m a newbie

I would not use that type of workout for low cadence work. It is too hard and too short to do safely, IMHO.

I would use the Thursday workouts (Fang Mountain +1, Avalanche Spire +1, etc.) for the low cadence work. I think applying that type of cadence is best from around Tempo, Sweet Spot and up to Threshold. Start with small doses of 30 seconds in a longer interval, back to normal for 30-90 seconds and repeat. Then add the time to the low cadence efforts as you adapt.

Be conservative and move to the longer efforts in a slower transition than you think you can handle. You don’t want to end up with an injury from overdoing it too soon.

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Thank you!

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Did Carpathian Peak (over/unders) yesterday with my newly achieved FTP. BRUTAL! I was forced into low cadence drills because I was completely exhausted at the end of the second set of intervals and all of the third set. I basically had to stand for the last few minutes. Not ideal, but my only other option was to quit because my legs were smoked and couldn’t push a higher cadence anymore. So these low cadence drills CAN be utilized during threshold/suprathreshold, but be careful.

Important note: at no time did I feel knee pain during the workout or suffer any afterwards.
image

Cadences in the 50s were all standing

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thank’s today I test it!

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Here is my training today: Carpathian Peak.
In the three intervals I did some tests with various cadences:
In the first interval I started from 95rpm to finish at 60rpm.
In the second I kept fixed the cadences between 50 and 65 rpm.
While in the third and last interval I tried to use low cadences (55rpm) in the high load phases and then I increased the cadence up to 100rpm when the watts went down.

The third interval seemed to me the most productive one … what do you think?
carp

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I think they were all productive. I’d try to spend the majority of you workout (approx 75%) in your natural cadence, then do cadence drills as you see fit and the workout allows. Also, I wouldn’t do them every workout, but maybe once or twice a week. How did the cadence drills feel? Hopefully you learned something.

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Agreed, I think they are all productive. It looks like a nice and gradual build.

Here is a recent ride I did with specific low cadence work:
image

I think you can continue to increase the number of low cadence efforts and their duration over time. I take two approaches when I apply low cadence work.

Background: I use the small ring (34t) and middle of an 11-28 cassette for all my training in ERG on a Kickr17.

  1. My first option (and one that works in well in the beginning, middle or end of any interval) is to simple shift from the small ring to the big ring (50t). This gives a nice reduction in cadence and also leads to more flywheel speed and associated inertia. I then downshift anytime I want to revert back to a faster cadence.
  2. When I want to do a longer low cadence effort (and one with less flywheel speed) I keep my 34t x mid cassette gearing, and then slow my cadence to the target about 15 seconds before the main interval. I simply hold that lower cadence for a significant part or the entire interval.

I mix the use of these as best fits my need and the specific workout.

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