Seeking advice: on-bike strength training in off season

Hi All, any advice on the following would be appreciated…

I have been on Trainer Road for about six months and have just completed my second season in triathlon.

I feel that I would benefit from some low cadence type intervals to build leg strength during the off-season and am looking for either:

a) specific workouts to swap into the sweet spot base phase; or
b) an entirely different training plan that incorporates 1 strength workout per week if this is more appropriate.

Thanks in advance,

So I do low cadence work during sweet spot and over threshold work and have seen great gains. Research is mixed on the topic but it works for me :man_shrugging:t3:

Anyway, I find that 60rpms is a good cadence for me but be careful with your knees and low back.

As far as workouts, I just take a normal sweet spot workout or close to threshold work and do most of the intervals at low cadence.

Thanks for the suggestion tribuddha

I’m 61 and learned “old school” on the bike strength training, including low cadence with high muscular force and single leg drills (aka ILTs - isolated leg training). There are now known issues with both of these approaches, including risk of knee and hip pain and developing poor efficiency around the pedal stroke (cadence drills have replaced the latter for efficiency).

Conversely, over the past 2 years in particular, I have embarked on a robust strength training program at my gym and have seen huge gains - substantially greater than can be achieved on the bike without any of the aforementioned issues.

So my advice would be to nix plans for on-bike and get yourself a strength training coach to put together a good upper body, lower body and core program.


This exactly. TR has always been consistent about stating strength is built off the bike. However, if you want (and probably should) to train lower cadences just incorporate them into any SS workouts. For instance, in a 4 x 15min interval workout, you could do first interval at 90 rpms, second at 80, third at 70 and end with whatever cadence you need most work at. Also, you could do the entire workout at 75 rpms or raise and lower your cadence every 5 mins. There are endless combinations to work in lower cadences, but your goal should be to feel comfortable working at all ranges and not about building strength.


Correct. Real strength training takes place off the bike

Specific low cadence work on the bike is great, especially if it is a type of riding you need to apply. I feel it is very useful to do, but it’s not the same as true strength training.

I mix in low cadence work all season long. SS is a primary one, but I also use it in some Threshold work as well. Just mix in 60 seconds low and 60 normal for starters. Then I grow the time on each speed.