Will dropping my cadence improve FTP?

Hi all,

I know that there’s been a few “sort of” related posts to this, but couldn’t find anything exactly what my question is. I’ve been doing a fair bit of TR training this winter, first going SSB1&2 with a general build in late summer / early fall, then deciding to ditch the general build and go back to SSB.

Anyway, my FTP has been largely static since September. Definitely part of that is consistency related, but I’m also starting to wonder if perhaps it’s because of a lack of muscle fibre building due to my preferred cadence.

My natural cadence is basically spot on 100rpm, maybe 103. Lately, I can easily complete most workouts at that cadence. But I’m now wondering if I should actively try to make my workouts more muscular in nature by dropping the cadence. I could very much feel the difference even just by dropping to 94-95rpm (ie. it was harder :))


I feel that training cadence is more about what you need in your events. Be that high, low or somewhere in the middle, you should train what you plan to use. In general, I think people should work to expand their range so they aren’t caught out by gearing, competitors or other conditions that lead to cadences outside the “perfect range” for you.

That said, I doubt that they key to your growth lies in cadence. Sure, if you stick to one tight range, shifting above or below that will show that you haven’t trained that range. Not really surprising. It’s about the specificity and exposing your body to the stress you know and plan to use.

There could be something to the idea of moving around the range just in an effort to prevent stagnation, but again, I doubt there is some massive “unlock” hiding that will fix your FTP issue.

By your own comment, the “consistency” is the area I would look at first. If you aren’t hitting the sessions, the cadence you use isn’t likely the issue.


Thanks Chad - yes, my first “switch” to flip was the consistency one, which is going better than it ever has. The other is my off-the-bike core and general strength, which is lacking and where I probably have some additional gains to make given my bad lower back likely causes some power delivery issues.

Was hoping that maybe dropping the cadence would be more like doing lunges from a strength perspective - so that I don’t have to actually DO lunges :slight_smile:

Appreciate the response!

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As Coach Chad says, “you don’t do strength training on the bike”.

However, I do see overall value in doing low cadence work, IF that’s something you need. I do it for MTB and gravel riding on sustained steep climbs. I wouldn’t call it strength work, but it is about stress and endurance at a leg speed that will crush you if you haven’t trained it.

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Even though I know all of this, it’s nice to see it spelled out precisely so I can read and remind myself what I SHOULD be doing, varying my cadences more often. Well stated @mcneese.chad!

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Its funny that I’ve always said this myself, but during my recent monster Sweet Spot block I’ve added considerable muscle mass and leg strength. I actually get post weight room type DOMS after a 3-4hr SS session from time to time, though thankfully it subsides within 24hrs.

My muscular endurance has gone through the roof, which I expected, but the actual strength gain has been surprising to me given the aerobic nature of the work and the length of the workouts (3000-4000+kJ).

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