RPM (Cadence) during WO, does anyone follow recommended RPM?

Have been doing VO2 workouts and trainerroad recommends 100+ rpm… which seems difficult for me… i assume VO2 exercises like up hill climbs were my rpm is arround 80-90rpm…

What do you guys suggest?

In short, what cadence do YOU need to apply when performing efforts at this power target and duration?

It can be somewhat dependent on your training history and the event or efforts you plan to apply this type of work. By their nature, VO2max level efforts are demanding. Doing them at too low of a cadence can lead to premature fatigue.

In general, it is better to do them at a higher cadence (which shifts the loading more to cardio vs muscular) that give a greater chance at longer endurance and output of those efforts.

That said, people can and should apply the cadence appropriate for their needs. But it is worth considering if you can work on growing that range to higher RPM, to make better use of these efforts.


As contrast, I normally spin at 95-105 (z2) and it’s not uncommon for me to do 110-130 rpms for V02+ efforts. In races I commonly see max rpms in the 150-160s. I find it difficult to spin in the 80s and lower, but I’ve gotten better at lower cadences over the past year. So YES I do the recommended rpms, but ultimately as @mcneese.chad has said, it will come down to your natural cadence and the demands of your riding/racing. Which I have a VERY steep and difficult MTB 100 with 12k feet of climbing coming in September, so I’ve introduced lower cadences since I will need them for that event.

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I follow them as it can help break up a long interval, but as @MI-XC and @mcneese.chad both said, it’s kinda up to you in the long run. It’s definitely a boon to be able to ride at a wide range of cadences, just tonight I was on a long drag up leading the group and legs loaded up, but was able to push through to the end of the climb because I could push 110rpm+ and take some of the load off my legs.

And in the same vein as MI-XC, I’m doing a hillclimb next month that’s going to demand a 60-70 rpm cadence, so I’ve been riding sweet spot and threshold intervals down low at < 80rpm in prep.

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I dont understand… you ride well at 100+rpm…

Why do training at 80<? On hillclimbs?

A sexta, 19/07/2019, 02:23, pcort via TrainerRoad Forum trainerroad@discoursemail.com escreveu:

TR workouts make you practice at different cadences so that you have a large gamut of cadences where you can pedal efficiently. For VO2max workouts, which should push you to the limit as far as available oxygen is concerned, it makes sense to stress your cardiovascular system (= higher rpms) rather than your muscles (high force, low rpm work).

I have tried to ride at higher cad… but my legs get tired and have to reduce rpm… is it normal?

A sexta, 19/07/2019, 08:13, OreoCookie via TrainerRoad Forum trainerroad@discoursemail.com escreveu:

Sure, if you aren’t used to higher rpms, you tire more quickly. IMHO if the point of a TR workout is to do VO2max intervals and you can do those more consistently at lower rpms, do them at lower rpms.

I have also had it happen to me that on different days I have different preferences for cadences. I remember one workout specifically where I was asked to do 3 sets of threshold intervals. For bonus points you were asked to finish the second interval at lower rpm. And the third was supposed to be at your average cadence (between 85 and 95 rpm). But I felt very quickly that my legs wouldn’t want to do that, so I changed it up and did the interval at 75-80 rpm.

the hillclimb is 12% so low RPM is a necessity. Can’t put out the power required for a higher cadence.

As @OreoCookie said, if you’re not used to the higher cadence then it can tire you out pretty quickly if you’re not used to it, but it can be beneficial in the long run to be able to hold higher cadence. But at the end of the day, use whatever cadence you need to get through the workout, and the recommendations about pedal stroke, cadence, form sprints, or whatever else chad throws in the workouts are optional, but beneficial in the long term.

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Exactly, I have a fire road climb where the road is 20-26% grade :grimacing:. I pre-road some of the race course and at 78 rpms I was pushing 300+ watts in my 32 x 50! Sometimes you don’t have a choice on what cadence.

But VO2max training efforts are not meant to replicate this scenario, they are meant push your VO2max ceiling and bring your FTP closer to your VO2max power.

If you want to practice for a particular effort, I’d do that in a separate session rather than trying to squeeze that into a VO2max session.

I ride 95-100 normally, 105-115rpm during VO2max intervals.

yeah, I’m not doing LOW cadence work above threshold

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Just to double-check: I’m saying you should not make your VO2max session into a low-cadence session. But I do think it is wise to try and follow the cadence recommendation in the workout, and for VO2max workouts a higher-than-usual cadence works better on average.

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