High Cadence drills

I’m new to TR so it’s most likely my fault and understanding of how it all works but I’m doing an A level event in May next year which is all climbing. It’s the only event I’m aiming for presently.
TR has built a plan, 3 times a week indoor training plus a 3hr outdoor on Saturday. My FTP I’ve set at 250 which is on the conservative side.
All the workouts so far seem to be aiming for high cadence drills of 85/90/95 and above. I’m surprised because when climbing on an outdoor ride I’d be at a cadence of around 60rpm out of the saddle and in the highest gear. No workout segments so far have been above FTP.
Is there a leaning towards higher cadence just below FTP on TR than in reality where I’d be pushing 400w up a hill not spinning at 235w or should I be trying to spin up hills more in real life. I’m a bit confused tbh as it’s not what I do in reality.

There’s a role for being able to handle a range of cadences, but it’s not that important (unless you’re getting into low cadence muscular endurance or high cadence VO2Max intervals).

Depends how long the hill is - with a 250W ftp and pushing 400W, I hope it’s pretty short.

Ha ha yes I see what you mean. Yes the hill would be incredibly short at 400w. I think the point I’m making is however long or steep the hill is I’ve never found myself spinning at anything greater than 60rpm and producing under FTP. I’m always off the saddle grinding my way up with low cadence and higher wattage. Is that wrong?

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Maybe, depends on you and the event. Slow cadences are easier on cardio endurance but harder in muscular endurance, and vice-versa

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Seems like you are talking about short/steep climbs - which to me would be more about anaerobic abilities – rolling road race style.

For longer climbs, I think it would be about raising your FTP, increasing your W/KG, and/or lowering your gearing. Spinning 60 on long climbs is no fun. Slow, and muscle taxing. For longer climbs I strive for a cadence of 75-85 and power at SS (or threshold if a shorter ride). Once the grade gets to >8-9%+ I don’t have a choice but to grind at 60-70, and needing to stand and/or go into Vo2/Anaerobic if >12%. Moving to a 1:1 gear ratio helped immensely.

But yes, TR has a bias towards faster cadences. I can pedal probably 10 RPM higher on inside workouts vs. outdoors. Inside most rides are >90. Outside they hover at 80. Flat or hills.


get easier gears if you have to turn 60 rpm.


Higher cadence sessions don’t seem to have impacted upon my hill climbing ability (or lack of) but I do like to occasionally do a session on a virtual road which sees my cadence vary more or deliberately do a interval at a lower cadence. I used to find ERG a pain for this (drop the cadence to much and I’d be dragged into a spiral of death and getting a minor injury getting out of it but the newer Powermatch seems to be more forgiving ERG wise.

I’m similar to you, and did a period of indoor training when I couldn’t ride outside at all.

The higher cadence indoors took a while to get used to. When I got back outside I was super fit. My short hill, out the saddle power - 1 - 5 minutes - was a bit down but after a week or two outside, it was better than ever.

If you’re riding outside on the weekends this probably won’t be an issue for you as you can maintain the odd out the saddle effort on endurance rides. You could also do out the saddle, lower cadence intervals when you get to more intense intervals later in your plan.

Main message - go with the prescribed training and it’ll get you fit.

Depends on the steepness of the hill, when it gets real steep low cadence is all you can do.

But at reasonable gradients and where you’re below ftp being able to climb seated at a decent cadence is a good thing. If your ftp is a conservative 250, you should be able to spin at 235.

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