Importance of Cadence

When I do the workouts like Tunnabora, I always prefer a higher cadence than is prescribed. I feel like this is because my legs are weak compared to my cardiovascular system. I am not a well trained athlete, my FTP is only 200, I swim about 2:00/100y and I run tempo at about 8:00 min/mi. My best 5k is just under 23 minutes. I am training for a sprint distance tri and am very new at endurance training.

My question is should I use a higher cadence because the instructions seem to encouraging me to build a higher cadence or should I use a lower cadence in an attempt to strengthen my skinny legs? I want to do what will benefit me the most over the long term. With some resistance I can turn the pedals about 115/min without bouncing and feel comfortable between 100 and 105. 85 feels like a grind.


I say spin it to win it. You might notice this as a “limiter” and choose to work on it in the offseason or in specfically targeted workouts, but I think you should ride at your cadence if you can. I push 100 myself.

Being able to vary your spin is another tool in the toolbox and will make you a more versatile rider. If your goals include a lot of sustained climbing, for example, you may find that you can’t work at your natural cadence and leg power will become a limiter. You will underperform your cardio system in that scenario.

It’s been said elsewhere on these forums though - if you want to improve absolute leg strength, that’s better work for the weight room. Mashing big gears that your legs can’t handle is a good way to cause an injury.

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