Low Cadence Cycling drills – the why

Theres so much info on different cadences and drills to factor into your training. In general its though that in triathlon around 80-85 possibly up to 90 rpm are good to aim at. Low cadence has a number of reasons as to why it will help you develop as a cyclist. Heres a few :-

  • It reduces the cardiac response in the interval but increases the muscular load.
  • It will help you develop resilience in your muscle tissue (strength training will).
  • It will help you activate and engage muscle fibres that maybe aren’t working as efficiently.
  • It helps slow things down and focus on your pedal stoke and posture.

Would you use it in cycles/events?

  • In one word yes. When the wind is strong coming at you, you can call upon this skill to reduce your cardio response and ensure a good effective pedal stroke.
  •  Also for tough hills of high % incline.

Cues to nail the drill itself

  • Keep the elbows with a slight bend (supple) so you don’t start to tense your grip or shoulders up taking the strain in the upper body.
  • Keep the head from bobbing up and down.
  • Try and keep the upper body still by engaging the core muscles.
  • Take a look at the knee and reduce the ‘knee wobble’. think legs like pistons.
  • Keep constant tension on the chain and work on dead spots.
  • Be patient with the drill first off. It may take time to really enhance the pedal stroke but keep that desire there.

What RPM (or cadence) and what intensity will the drills be working at?

  • We will work ‘end of range’. so from around 40 towards to 70 in different based drills. 40 is very very low but teaches you so much about whats going on. You wouldn’t be hitting anywhere near this on a ride but it will help strength and posture.
  • Working zones 2-5. Yes zone 2 will feel fairly easy. Zone 5 will be a big effort. But having all these in your training sessions will aid your progression. Different zones will be worked at for different lengths of time. As stated in a previous blog Zone 5 for instance will be short duration of 10 secs to 2 mins

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