Workout of the Month - May 2020

Training, May 28, 2020

This months workout is based around finding your current optimal cadence when cycling. Take a look and see if you are performing at your best, or if there is some room for improvement.

Workout of the Month - May 2020


This months workout is focussed around finding your current optimal cadence at differing levels of intensity.  This session specifically focusses on pushing you to the limits of your current capability with your pedalling speed and allows you to test it across a range of increments for a prolonged period of time. You may find that you suit a higher cadence at a lower resistance, for example out on the road on the flat you may feel that you are more efficient at 95-100rpm yet when you hit an incline you may be in the 70-80 range, and this is fine, what we are looking for here is if the data shows that you are in the sweet spot or not at a certain PWR Zone, this can then be tested out on the open road and the session be used again to see how/if this is different at a different power output and/or cadence.


One thing to be aware of though is you may fatigue quicker at the lower cadences as the stress on the muscles will be higher than if you were spinning at a higher speed, this could be down to not currently being efficient at this newer speed and you may require some adaption time.  One way of looking at a cadence that may suit you is varying the cadence at a particular fixed wattage for a period of time and recording your perceived exertion and heart rate.  Once the session is completed you can take a look at the data to find the cadence that produced the lowest heart rate and lowest level of perceived exertion.  Once you have found this current level you can spend some time focusing on pedalling within this range for a few weeks and see if you are more efficient over longer periods of time.


To make life easy for you here is a 60-minute example session that you could use to analyse your cadence:


Warm up - 10-15 mins building up to the lower end of PWR zone 3, throwing some 20-30 second cadence builds to get the muscles warmed and firing (take your cadence up over the 30 seconds building to a point where you start to bounce in the saddle and back off slightly until the bouncing disappears, this is your current limit)


Pre-Set – 4 x 60 second cadence targets (start at 75 rpm and increase by 10 rpm at each 60 second increment without increasing power resistance significantly) aim to keep within the upper end of PWR zone 3.  Use this to gauge which level feels most like your normal cadence and use this in the main set to base your starting point off.


Main set – 3x8 minutes with 2 mins recovery of:


  1. PWR zone 3 (pick a 5-10W range to stick to for the whole test) @ 75-80* RPM
  2. PWR zone 3 @ 80-85* RPM
  3. PWR zone 3 @ 85-90* RPM


*If during the pre-main set you felt 85 RPM was your comfortable normal cadence use this as written, if it was lower or higher select an RPM 10 lower for your first set and increase by 5 RPM per set.


Cool down – 10 mins easy spinning in PWR zone 1-2.


Use the data collected and try to pinpoint the cadence range where you were most efficient and get out on the open road or on the turbo and test it, you may find that you are most comfortable and efficient at your current cadence, great! Its not a wasted session as you now know you are right where you should be and you got a pretty good 3x8 min tempo interval session to boot!


Take a look at our training plans here! Or hop on over to our website and check out our online coaching options to get you to start line in the best shape possible!