I use a hybrid, 3-ring bike on the turbo. But which ring should I use? If I’m in the big ring, and hitting the power target, my cadence is too low. But if I’m in the middle ring and hitting power and cadence targets, it feels too easy. I’m following a training plan based on my FTP.
What trainer are you using?
Sounds like a standard (non-smart/controlled) trainer. Maybe fluid or magnetic resistance?
If it’s a standard trainer, you just need to do your best to find a wheel speed driving the resistance unit to hit your desired target power, with cadence as the second aspect to consider.
Big vs small won’t matter much there, so choose that along with the rear shifting to dial in the power and cadence to suit your preference. The nature of these simple trainers means you will commonly not be able to hit an “ideal” cadence while holding your target power. That is perfectly fine and you will still get proper loading for training benefits.
hybrid on a turbo should not be a problem for any trainer.
how are you measuring power?
I’m using a simple trainer - CycleOps SuperMagneto, and measuring the power through Wahoo speed and cadence sensors. The plan is short power build, low volume.
Trainer Road seems all about the cadence, though. If I use the big ring my cadence is typically around 60-70, and the advice is to spin faster than this, which I like doing, but then my power soars beyond the target.
Yes, it’s a simple, CycleOps SuperMagneto trainer.
So you’re suggesting focusing on the power target, by any means?
so, virtual power.
With wheel on, you need to be very consistent with tire pressure and how many turns you use to connect the bike tire to the trainer.
That’s one thing.
Two, wheel slippage, that’s another.
Where do you get that?
Higher cadence offers more efficiency. 60-70 is too low for higher power, as you’ll fatigue early.
Structured training is about structure and power targets.
Yes. With a magnetic wheel on trainer, you’re not going to have any other adjustment, other than using your gears.
- There are surely mentions about cadence and some coverage of ranges for a variety of power levels and purposes.
- But they will ALWAYS say that POWER is the PRIMARY target, and CADENCE is the SECONDARY target.
- Mostly, yes.
- You only mention shifting on the front, but I assume you are also shifting on the rear? Depending on the specific drivetrain of your bike, there should be a fair amount of overlap between the range of the rear with combination of the front.
- You really need to use a mix of front and rear gear combos to hit the large range of power from Easy recovery to the Threshold and higher levels. One gear setup will not meet all your needs with a standard trainer.
Yes, I change gears - but with focusing on cadence I haven’t been using the big ring. Until today. Then I was shifting front and back to try to get cadence and power on target.
Thanks, I’ll feel freer to do my own preferred cadence, depending on what gear selections I use to hit the power target.
However, I’m still rather confused because I want to get the maximum benefit aerobically and anaerobically, and the advice is that faster spinning is more efficient. But if I’m on target power at 60 rpm does that equate to efficient use of muscles, fat-burning, etc.?
I am not enough into the finer details of training research to discuss the physiological items.
But my overly simple take on training is to keep it reasonably close to what you need to apply outside in your events and/or races. As such, unless you need to apply lower cadences like you mention, I would limit those to a few drills, and adjust gearing to be more around your preferred cadence.
- Say you like 90 rpm, you can still get very applicable training related to muscle and cardio loading with a range of 80-100 rpm. If you can keep that range tighter with more shifting, that is great too.
TR generally recommends that people work to have a “wide” range of cadence that you can apply. What that really means will vary from rider to rider based on many factors. They stress that because there can be gains to broadening the range that you can functionally apply as your outside use may vary more than ideal in some cases.