Over the past few months my avg. cadence steadily declined

and I cannot wrap my head around why that would be. Last year I was normally spinning at around 98 rpm. At the beginning of this year it got down to 95 rpm and now to 91 rpm.
It doesn’t affect my performance but does get into my head. Any of you experienced something similar? What to think?

Edit: A post I have found on the forum would make think my cadence would rather go up with time.

Always start with more questions:

  1. Any bike or trainer type equipment changes?

  2. Any major training plan changes (types of workouts, typical zones, etc)?

  3. Any strength training, stretching or other similar changes?

  4. Any major life changes (work from home, new job, stairs vs elevator, etc.)?

Effectively, step back and try to identify all possible influences to your training.

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I went through all of that. Nothing has really changed. I still use the same setup and go through the same two plans. I added more running to the mix but the decline was already there before that. Life stress changed for the better. Mostly due to working from home.

@davidtinker Do you think you could add an average cadence field for the custom charts on the overview page? Perhaps if others see the value as well. :grin:

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I can easily do that for time in Z2 heart rate which is probably the more interesting data to look at. Good idea.


Thanks! It would be really interesting to figure out why that cadence decline has happened over the past few months. I guess a dots chart as for efficiency would do the trick quite well. Perhaps also a metric like power/hr (cadence/watts) to get some additional context.
Though whatever you do, it’s appreciated. As always. :slight_smile:

Small question, Is it that you have dropped the heart rate sensation…? Faster Cadence usually has higher heart rate and faster breathing and drift has resulted. I started the reverse lower heart rate … On the road its silly my average is nearly 100rpm and max at 120rpm I am not bouncing but just enjoying spinning now… No real advice but maybe … a couple of focus efforts to see heartrate against cadence… My Garmin records all of that and tracks it … Tiny little point if it has not affected performance… Does it matter? I know you say its got into your mind… Sync your breathing to cadence… if that has happened enjoy lower breathing allows you to chat… well sometimes

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It affects my heart rate but neither in a beneficial nor detrimental way. I still nail all my workouts and see constant gains. So that’s not much of an issue. My problem is more that I cannot explain why I lost 8 rpm on average in a matter of 6ish months. Especially as one would normally expect the trend to go in the opposite direction.

Over time, as I got a bit stronger, I have found that I can hold certain power at lower cadence - something that would have been too strenuous before.
It’s quite clear to me that within a reasonable range, at lower power my HR is lower when I pedal slower.
Is the same thing happening to you - i. e. are you getting stronger? :wink:
I’m pretty sure you can maintain the higher cadence if you wanted to - it’s just that you don’t have to.
If you feel that higher cadence will be beneficial, structure your training so that you pay attention to cadence as well, not just power.

If FTP is still well improving and racing okay. On TR i find now and again i drift lower if i do not work at it. I was a slow grinder, i still find … today doing Glassy, … found my cadence at 81… although not affecting my performance… i just stopped thinking about it… Into head wind i really focus now … spin …spin spin and i even think i am spinning in to low a gear … still 35kpm at 117rpm … I once i focus on it change gear and drop back to 95… Maybe not worrying about it might help… Have you tried higher cadence music? Has temperature increased in your area? … Better cooling?

@xchaotic I guess I added a watt or two. Perhaps you are right and I should start working it up again.

@C10oky Cooling etc hasn’t changed. Neither has music. Still fasterish electronic and metal music. Pretty much the same playlists since a year or so.
In terms of lower cadence that never was my area. My natural cadence always was close to 100 or so. Certainly above 95. Though I cannot complain. The lower cadence is not affecting performance.

Drop the Metal… Ha Ha

Sandstorm Duruid… Will get your legs moving

embrace your natural cadence! Coach Chad workout descriptions / instructions push for higher cadence, but your body may find a lower cadence to be more economical. For awhile I was doing TR workouts in 90-95rpm range, but switching back to outside workouts this year it simply feels better spinning 75-85rpm. There is no strong science behind optimal cadence, so I say if you naturally find a lower cadence to be more economical then go with it. Turning what you said around, spinning faster over anything longer than 5-10 minutes now gets into my head as I believe it is less economical.


I noticed for myself that since switching from a dumb trainer to Erg mode on a smart trainer that my cadence has dropped. For me perhaps knowing that the trainer will hold the power has made me less diligent about holding my normally higher cadence. On the road my cadence doesn’t seem to be affected in the same way. Perhaps it is the difference in inertia from rolling on the road versus the flywheel inertia from indoors on the trainer. I use the small ring on the trainer because I believe the slower flywheel speed may make it easier for Erg mode to adjust resistance…could be wrong about that though.

I have added a new custom plot “Cadence Z2” which shows average cadence for the Z2 heart rate data points for the ride i.e. the same points used for “Power/HR Z2”.

My own cadence is quite a bit up compared to a year ago. Note sure why :slight_smile:

Thanks so much David! :slight_smile:

Unfortunately, the data point confirmed my impression. Though it added some additional context. My average cadence got down since October last year. 🤷🏽

Chart shows period from March 1st 2019 to today.

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Very cool. Where is that found?

My thoughts…just because you can do something doesn’t mean you will. An increase in fitness opens up a wider range of rpm to push the same power.

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Possible explanation echoing the essence of some points already said:

You can compensate weaker muscular endurance (compared to cardiovascular system) with a higher cadence. As muscular endurance increases your body drifts back towards a more economical lower cadence (maybe unconsciously in your case).

Tx. You need to add a custom chart on the /fitness page in “Options” and then add the “Cadence Z2” plot.

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Much appreciated. I had not seen all those options in the Custom section. Impressive work as usual :smiley:

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