One-Hour Workout: High Cadence, Low Cadence, and Final Kicker

This bike workout features a little bit of everything to help improve your cadence and technique—as well as your fitness.

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This bike workout from pro triathlete Dede Griesbauer has something for everyone—including high cadence work and big gear work before finishing up with some lactate threshold intervals. It’s a fun way to keep your body and brain feeling sharp in these darker winter months.

Griesbauer, a three-time Ironman champion and Ultraman world record holder, said: “This workout starts with some high cadence work, which is great for technique. Try to settle in the saddle without bouncing. High cadence work will often lead your heart-rate to rise, but it does so without smashing your legs. You’ll then move on to do some bigger gear work, which will load your legs, and then you’ll finish off with some lactate threshold work. There’s definitely something for everyone here!”

Use the cadence sets as opportunities to also think about your pedaling technique. Griesbauer said: “With the high cadence riding, as your cadence builds, focus on making small circles with the ball of your foot around the bottom bracket. Visualize these small circles to help smooth out your pedal stroke and reduce any bouncing in the saddle. With the low cadence work, think about making big circles with your feet around the bottom bracket, maintaining constant pressure on the pedals all the way around the pedal stroke.” (For more on this, check out this guide from coach Alison Freeman: Yes, There Is A Technique to Pedaling A Bike)

This workout is prescribed using rate of perceived exertion (RPE) as well as power (as % of FTP). For more on using power and FTP in your training, check out this article.

One-Hour Workout: High Cadence, Low Cadence, and Final Kicker


10 min. gradually bringing your effort from RPE 5 out of 10 to RPE 7 out of 10 (power from 55 to 75% of FTP)

Main Set #1: High Cadence

Use your small chain ring and your 2nd or 3rd easiest rear gear (power users: 65-70% FTP)

5 min. @ 95 rpm
4 min. @ 100 rpm
3 min. @ 105 rpm
2 min. @ 110 rpm
1 min. @ 115 rpm

Recovery: 2 min. easy spin

Main Set #2: Low Cadence

Use your big chain ring and your 2nd or 3rd hardest gear (power users: target 85% FTP)

2 x 6 min. with the first 6 min. block as: 3 min. @ 70 rpm; 3 min. @ 65 rpm.
Recover 1 min. easy and shift one gear harder (power users add 3-5%) before doing the second 6 min. block as: 3 min. @ 60 rpm; 3 min. @ 55 rpm.

Recovery: 2 min. easy spin

Main Set #3: The Final Kicker

4 min. @ Olympic distance race pace effort (power users @ 95% FTP)
1 min. easy
3 min. @ Olympic distance race pace effort (power users @ 100% FTP)
1 min. easy
2 min. @ best 20-sec. power effort (power users @ 105% FTP)
1 min. easy
1 min. @ max (power users @ 110% FTP)


5 min. easy spin

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