The Great Cadence Debate

There is a lot of information and blogs around that discuss this topic and I think it's important that the development of strength on the bike is a process.  A number of these blogs that you read may point out that XXXX Professional Athlete rides at 70 RPM and achieves great bike results and still runs off the bike well.  The fact is that a professional athlete will have a developed a skill set in pedaling and spent a lot more hours on the bike compared to the average age group athlete especially novice or first time athletes. 

So if you are starting out on the bike with the plans of completing any distance of triathlon or cycle event my recommendation is 

  1. Firstly build up your ability to spin at a higher RPM - average cadence in a ride at 88-95 RPM, this can be using the big ring and small ring but focusing on the cadence at all times and making the gear choice accordingly 
  2. Start building strength into the workouts which may mean some parts of the workouts at lower cadence or hill workouts or  consider building in some leg specific strength work at the gym.
  3. As your strength increases then you will be building your ability to push a bigger gear at a higher cadence which will result in great speed and power. 
“I believe individuals need to develop a higher cadence skill set before moving toward any longer duration at lower cadence.”
Andrew Mackay - Head Coach @ Boost Coaching

Cadence Focused Session

This session is for the bike and is quite useful for athletes that want to develop their pedaling technique.  As the cadence increases you might find that you start bouncing around on the seat - so make sure you hold your posture on the bike with your core, not by heavily gripping and leaning on the handle bars and also focus on keeping your pedal stroke nice and smooth”

Remember this three step process may seem simple but it is something that develops over years not weeks or months.  So focus more on higher cadence initially to develop better technique and reduced risk of injury.

Good luck with your cycling.