I am making this to be a common starting place for Low Cadence Training.
- It has been discussed in some threads and we have good bits sprinkled around.
- I will pool that info into this thread as a more compiled list of the considerations and recommendations, and revise it over time.
- This is a first draft and will be edited significantly over the next week or two.
Notes about Resistance vs ERG Mode options for smart trainers:
- This mode is recommended for riders who may struggle to maintain the cadence in ERG mode (see concerns below)
- Use a low gearing as described below, and set the Resistance (or Standard) value in the TrainerRoad app to get the desired resistance target at the desired cadence.
- This mode allows for more variation in rider cadence without the risk of the “clinch” in ERG.
- This mode is recommended for riders who are very familiar with ERG mode and maintain a particular cadence well.
- Be aware, that low cadence work at higher resistance levels in ERG Mode can lead to the “Spiral of Death” and the “Clinch” in a very short time.
- If you drop cadence too much and don’t react by returning to the goal cadence, it can lead to excessive force and a trainer stall.
- You must be “on top of the gear” and make sure to hold the cadence. This takes higher effort that can be very fatiguing and lead to issues on longer or higher efforts.
Basic Low Cadence Training Info:
Select a low gearing on your bike while on the trainer.
- Use the small front chainring on a road bike, and something around the middle towards the largest cog on the rear cassette.
- This keeps the rear wheel speed lower, and that leads to a slower flywheel speed on the trainer.
- The results is less “help” from the flywheel throughout the pedal stroke. It leads to needing to engage the muscles earlier and longer through the stroke when compared to faster gearing.
Use lower cadence that is similar to the cadence you expect to use outside.
- “Normal” cadence ranges from 85-95 rpm for many riders.
- “Climbing” cadence is often lower and can range from 55-75 rpm depending on the gearing on your bike, grade of the hill, and your weight.
- That’s not to say that those climbing cadences are “good or recommended”, but they may be the cadence that we have to use in some situations.
- As usual, it is often recommended to spin more than grind with an eye towards not over-stressing the muscles or dipping into your glycogen stores as much.
- With all that said, determine what cadence range you want to practice. It should be similar to what you have already experienced or know you will face for the planned event.
- Once that is done, you apply that climbing cadence range in appropriate workouts. You need to determine your particular needs, but I spend my climbing cadence practice around 60-70 rpm in most cases.
Apply the gearing and cadence described above in appropriate workouts.
- WARNING: For all of the recommendations below, start with small steps and progress gradually. Listen to your body and be mindful because this can lead to injury if done poorly or progressing too quickly
- I like to use Endurance, Tempo and Sweet Spot Intensity intervals for my low cadence, climbing practice.
- Start by applying the gearing and upper end of the low cadence (maybe 75 rpm) in the beginning.
- Use this approach for about 1 minute, then return to normal cadence for 1 minute or more if needed.
- Repeat this several times in longer intervals (6 to 15 minutes) and pay attention to your body. If your muscles or joints feel any issues, return to normal cadence and gearing.
- As you adapt to the start above. Increase either your time at the low cadence or drop the cadence. Make only one change at a time to make sure that you don’t change too much, too soon.
- Repeating, It is important to take this step slowly and cautiously.
- Climbing Block: You can use a fixed or adjustable riser to elevate the front axle to be higher than the rear axle. This can help alter the position of the body relative to the bike and may impact muscle engagement. Studies around this seem to be mixed, so it is largely up to each rider to evaluate for effectiveness.
Related Posts for Reference Here: (I will be pulling info from these as I revise info above)
- Outdoor hill climbs are a bit of a shock after so much indoor riding and structured workouts!
- Low cadence good for climbing
- Low cadence block
- Lack of Low-Cadence Training in TrainerRoad
- Training for long climbs at lower cadence
- Help me with works at low cadence
- Advice on low cadence strength-resistance workouts