One-Hour Workout: Master Your Bike Cadence

Mastering your bike cadence during challenging workouts is a surefire way to not only boost your fitness but also improve your cycling specific strength and pedaling technique.

This workout is not easy and gives good bang for its training buck, so be sure to approach it with strong legs and a strong mind. The tempo intervals should be solid efforts at 80 to 85 percent intensity, but the key is to really focus on hitting and holding the different cadences. The first 5 minutes of each 10-minute interval is lower cadence (70 – 80 RPM), which is where the cycling specific strength gains are made. In the second 5 minutes you will then hit higher cadence riding, aiming to hold 90 – 100 RPM. This isn’t as easy as it seems! Switching your cadence up like this can be tough at first, especially when working at a tempo effort, so stay present and engaged, and focus on riding from your hips with smooth pedal strokes. The tempo efforts should feel challenging but well below race pace. You should be in a light breathing rhythm, but controlled throughout, feeling like you could ride an hour or more at this pace. This workout can be done on the road or the trainer, and the intervals should be done in the aero position.

10 minutes spin, starting with 5 minutes easy before gradually building your effort to moderate by the end of the warm-up block. Your rate of perceived exertion (RPE) should be no higher than 6 out of 10, and you certainly want to have increased your breathing rate, heart rate, and be starting to sweat. Get ready!

Main set:
3 x 10 minutes at tempo effort (RPE 8) with the first 5 minutes at 70 – 80 RPM and the second 5 minutes at 90 – 100 RPM. Take 5 minutes easy between each interval.

5 minutes easy spin, flushing out your legs and gently bringing your heart rate and breathing rate down.