Low cadence good for climbing


Done Eclipse today which is one of the few workouts with low cadence. With climbing being something I would like to improve would it be an idea to incorporate some low cadence drills into some of my SS workouts. Is low cadence stuff on trainer a good way of replicating climbing out on the road. Thanks


First, look at your needs in your actual events. Consider the cadence range and efforts you need to handle. If those include low cadence and higher effort, then you may want to include similar efforts on the trainer.

You need to be cautious and careful about implementing any low cadence, high effort work. Risk to the joints and connective tissues is real. If you go down this road, make small and careful steps to get to your goal. Avoid big jumps in the process that may well lead to injury.

Consider dropping your usual “slow” cadence 3-5 rpm for a minute or two during an interval, and then return to normal cadence. Repeat this and drop the cadence or increase the duration in manageable steps.

The other required statement in this case is that you should consider your bike’s gearing. Can you get into a lower gearing option that allows for faster cadence? It can be a good change to add more range on the low end.


Some additional posts related to the topic:


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Thanks Chad. Yeah I’m aware of over doing it but I think I’ll throw in a couple of minutes low cadence here or there during some workouts. My cadence has actually gone up by bout 6 or 7 rpm since I started TR bout 4 weeks ago and today I found ECLIPSE a little too comfortable I’d say so I’m guessing my FTP has probably gone up. Thanks again.


The race I’m training for is 500km with around 7000m elevation so some low cadence stuff will probably help.


I used it a BUNCH earlier this year to prep for some very long and very steep road and gravel climbs.

In the Tour of Utah Ultimate Challenge, I had over 2 hours of climbing above 8% grade. Peaks and extended sections of 12-15%. Even with my 34/32 low, I still hit 60 rpm for some decent periods of time. That gearing made it MUCH easier, when I say others with higher gearing and scary low cadence or they were just plain walking up.

So the combo of good gearing and smart training set me up for success there and in other events. I think the practice and training were very helpful and worthwhile.


Sounds like a tight SPIN, well done. I have an 11-29 campy cassette and compact chainring. Not really sure if that is what i need but is doing the job at the minute.


Yeah, I dont know how much thought/study has gone into the kind of cadence I have to use to keep the watts down on any kind of hill. Sometimes the power meter stops reading altogether. And there are much heavier guys out there than me.

The idea of dropping to only 75rpm would have me into anaerobic threshold in no time.


Here is an example of one prep ride I did.

  • Around 2 min segments in ERG at 65 rpm range (adjusted longer and shorter at times).
  • It was a mix of standing and seated efforts at that cadence range.


That’s looks like something I’d definitely like to incorporate. Brilliant, thanks.