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Cadence Training - A Guide

Cycling, a sport of endurance, strategy, and skill, requires a multifaceted approach to training to excel. Among the myriad of techniques cyclists use to improve their performance, training with high cadences has emerged as a critical strategy.

High cadence cycling, which involves pedalling with high frequency, offers numerous benefits and is a staple in the training regimens of both amateur and professional cyclists. In this blog post, we'll delve into the importance of high cadence training, its benefits, and provide two specific training sessions designed to enhance your cadence and pedalling efficiency.

Importance of Cycling with High Cadences

High cadence training is crucial for several reasons. Firstly, it encourages the development of a smoother, more efficient pedalling technique. By focusing on turning the pedals at a higher rate, cyclists can minimise the dead spots in their pedal stroke, leading to more consistent power output. Secondly, high cadence work helps to improve cardiovascular fitness without the excessive strain on the muscles and joints that comes from pushing heavy gears. This can reduce the risk of injury and is particularly beneficial during long rides or races where endurance is key.

Benefits of Training with High Cadences

  1. Improved Aerobic Efficiency: Training at high cadences enhances the body's ability to utilise oxygen more effectively, thus improving aerobic endurance. This is crucial for long-distance cycling events where maintaining a steady pace over hours is essential.

  2. Enhanced Muscle Endurance: High cadence training adapts your muscles to fatigue less quickly, allowing you to maintain a strong pace for longer periods. It trains the neuromuscular system to handle rapid movements, thus improving the endurance of fast-twitch muscle fibres.

  3. Better Pedalling Technique: Consistently practicing high cadence cycling can refine your pedalling technique, making it smoother and more efficient. This can lead to improved performance as less energy is wasted.

  4. Increased Speed: By enhancing your ability to pedal efficiently at a higher cadence, you can maintain higher speeds without a significant increase in effort.

Training Sessions to improve your Cadence

Session 1: Cadence Ladders

  • Warm-Up: 10 minutes at a moderate pace, gradually increasing your heart rate.
  • Main Set:
    • 2 minutes at 90 RPM (Revolutions Per Minute), 1 minute easy.
    • 2 minutes at 100 RPM, 1 minute easy.
    • 2 minutes at 110 RPM, 1 minute easy.
    • Repeat this ladder 3-4 times, depending on your fitness level.
  • Cool Down: 10 minutes of easy pedalling.

This session helps in gradually accustoming your legs to higher cadences, improving your neuromuscular coordination and efficiency.

Session 2: High Cadence Intervals

  • Warm-Up: 15 minutes, starting easy and including a few short bursts to wake up the legs.
  • Main Set:
    • 5 x 3 minutes at 100-110 RPM with 2 minutes of easy pedalling in between each interval.
    • Focus on maintaining a smooth and controlled pedal stroke throughout the intervals.
  • Cool Down: 10-15 minutes of easy spinning.

This workout is designed to improve your ability to maintain a high cadence over time, building both muscle endurance and cardiovascular fitness.

Integrating high cadence training into your cycling regimen can significantly enhance your pedalling efficiency, speed, and overall performance. By focusing on smaller gear ratios and rapid pedal revolutions, you train your body to be more efficient, less prone to injury, and better prepared for the demands of long-distance cycling.

The sessions provided offer a starting point for those looking to improve their high cadence cycling ability. As with any training program, consistency and gradual progression are key to seeing improvements.

So, gear up, focus on your cadence, and watch your cycling performance soar to new heights!