High Torque Training?

all I can say is that it doesn’t look like a standard off-the-shelf plan.

Reviving this seeking insights for a different application: long slow-cadence steep climbs.

Given my riding profile, I’m a reasonably descent climber… as long as I can spin. On some of our group rides there tend to be “waits” at the top or bottom of steep climb, providing an opportunity to recover. So, if a steep pitch is short (60-90 seconds), I can go anaerobic, hang on, then blow up, and then recover at the wait. But if it’s a long steep climb (3 - 7 minutes) where I need hover in low-to-mid VO2 range, I struggle when my cadence drops in to the 70s (rpms) or lower.

Mindful of my knees, I am looking to build my slow-cadence torque and would welcome any suggestions.

Right now I’m in Base 1 / Week 2 of my season plan (LV: Base 1&2, Sustained Power Build, Climbing Road Race Specialty) for a climbing 140 miler in late June, so I’m livin’ the Sweet Spot dream these days and enjoying it. For most of my intervals I’m keeping my cadence in the recommended range (85-95), but towards the mid-point of my last interval I start shifting gears to drop cadence down, eventually to 70 or below by the time I’m done, all while keeping my power in the recommended SS or threshold range. How’s this sound?

EDIT: I forgot to add, for the first time ever I am incorporating strength training into the mix.

I guess the obvious comment is to revise gearing so you can continue spin up the climbs. :grin:

However I seem to have had some success by doing similar. During sweetspot & threashold intervals I vary my cadence (first 3 mins 90rpm, next 3min 70rpm, etc, etc)

I’ve no evidence (figures) to proove it works but after a few months I certainly feel more comfortable at lower (for me) cadences and my legs are much more resiliant to it.


There are a number of TR workouts where this sort of sustained, lower cadence effort is suggested - Mont Albert is one I have in mind, in Tempo range, but I also saw that (and did some of it) in Venado -2 in sweet-spot range earlier this week. The cadence they recommend is down to 70 rpm.

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Are you able to do that with normal cadences? Depending on where in the VO2 range, the duration, and where it falls in the ride it might not be an issue of cadence but just that the power is too high for too long.

Strength training probably wouldn’t hurt either.

I posted a couple of articles above High Torque Training? - #17 by bbarrera

Are you only looking to do these on the trainer? If only inside, you might also consider doing practice climbs on Zwift and that works very well if you have a wheel-off smart trainer with sim mode.

@WindWarrior - Through the winter, indoors only on a wheel-on trainer w crank power meter. But come spring time, I’ll be back outside and glad to do some dedicated drills.

I’ll check out those articles above. Thank you!

@mwglow15 - All I know is that when my cadence dips low, my speed relative to my mates goes down. I have a few good riding buddies and we all have our comparative strengths and weaknesses. If the gradient is low enough that I can keep my cadence high (100+), I’m amongst the fastest of our lot on the climb. But when the gradient is steeper and I’ve maxed out all my gears and have to spin in the 70’s, I slowly get dropped.

@UKCarl and @rocourteau - Thank you for those suggestions! BTW - I feel like I’ve already gone to the gearing well. I’m on a compact 50/34 and 11-32. :grin:

Pro CX riders (that I follow on Strava like Van der Poel and others) do ‘force reps’ where they might do a workout block that looks something like:
3min @ 100%ftp & 60-70rpm → 3min @ 55% ftp & 100rpm by 5-8 reps

Training like this will obv improve your ability to produce this torque and strengthen your legs. Sure, you’re knees will have more stress than riding at a higher cadence but the benefit is specificity. Maybe it makes sense for you to train this way or maybe it doesn’t. Worth a try. With adequate recovery following the workout you should be fine.


Be careful and stop if you experience any sort of pain or discomfort in your knees. The FasCat article has an example 5 week progression, personally I’d start with 1 low cadence (at tempo) workout per week. Don’t overdo it. Out here in the mountains, I’ve found long 1+ hour climbs at 60-75rpm, at tempo power zone, to really bump up my performance. I practice outside on flat ground against a head wind, at tempo power, and usually in the 50-60rpm range.


I find that pushing away in front rather than down, with a strong emphasis on pushing with the heel and using my glutes greatly reduces (eliminates?) the stress put on my knees. It more or less becomes leg pressing on the bike, if that helps!

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