Profile: Rock ‘n’ Roller Tempo Climbs

Rock ’n’ Roller Tempo Climbs is an interval workout consisting of short efforts with progressively higher cadences. Cyclists would call this a hill repeat workout at a tempo pace. “Climbing at tempo” is something you learned about in this Strategy for Strength post. It’s a little different than when we talk about the “tempo,” or beats per minute, of a song.

Many rock-and-roll songs have a tempo that translates to an rpm in the high 70s or 80s, making them the perfect choice to help set the cadence for a ride like this. You will likely find this playlist to be popular with a wide range of your riders (especially those on the north side of 40)!

This profile gives you the science behind the benefits of tempo climbing. We provide the cues (including some humorous ones) so you can easily describe this to your riders without blinding them with science. The benefits will have them chomping at the bit to do more of these types of profiles more often!

We also provide you with 43 alternate rock songs to use that have similar bpm so you have enough to create numerous high-cadence rock ‘n’ roller tempo climbing profiles for the next year! Remember, switching up the music is one of the ways to vastly increase your existing class profiles, as we taught you in this article.

Do you have some rock and roll songs to add to our list? Please post them in the comments section below!

Download your Rock ‘n’ Roller Tempo Climb in depth profile and quick profile below.


  1. I am so glad to have found this structure. I am scrapping my class set for Friday and going to give this a try. Looking forward to this. There is a lot of great ideas here.

  2. I did this playlist the other night and it was a good workout. I enjoyed the rpm challenge. The riders seemed to like it. Tonight I am trying out this routine song modifications from the recommendations. Thanks for the song suggestions.

  3. Trying this ride today. Way different from what I normally teach. Here is my playlist

    Starboy (instrumental): warm up: dial in speed then get resistance, RPE, breath into your back
    Girls, Girls, Girls (Motley Crue): #1 70-75 rpm start somewhat easy and gradually add little increases of resistance to bring it to moderate +117, +227(remember this gear),+320. try to keep rpm 70-75
    Roll to Me(Del Amitri): 75 standing recovery, sit 58-137, stand till end
    The Cave(Mumford & Sons):#2 72-75 start with second gear that you had on 1st song, keeping same RPM but more gear, ONLY 2 ADDS +104, +206 (remember this gear), let them stand last 30 (304)
    We got the beat(Go-Go): recovery stand 31-37, 56-103,140-end
    Fall Down (Toad and Wed Sprocket): #3 Grab beat 76 standing 0-30, sit and settle into temp. try and be at the gear you ended last climb (remember gear). This will be hard. we will stand in middle: + gear stand: 129-207, sit keep 76 back off gear if you need. you should be close to breathless or breathless
    Because the night(Cascade): recovery, enjoy this next song is slightly quicker RPM stand 40-107(25), 140-2 (20), 223-250 (25)
    Animals(Nickelback): #4 seated 77-80 bpm can you start at, or 1 less, gear you ended on last climb. NO ADDS ON GEAR RELAX, BREATHE. 30 sec Standing break add gear: 115-153. sit find 77-80 with added gear!!!COMMIT
    I would Die 4 U(prince): recovery (under 3 min) 66-70 RPM stand catch breath sit 43-112, sit 208
    Help me Run Away(St. Lucia):#5 75 rpm out of saddle 0-43, sit 43-106 and lock in cadence (25 sec) at 75-80. HARD Adjust gear to where you finished last hill if you can, sit 131-155 (25), stand HEAVY adjust rpm challenging 60-65 rpm BREATHY-LESS 155-308 (1 minute), sit take off gear 75-80 rpm MODERATE EFFORT 308-357(50 sec), recover (50 sec)
    Fast Car: (Janas Blue) recovery
    Happy:(Pharrell Williams) #6 Stand 0-50, sit dial in 80 rpm with max gear you can hold (gear from last climb) X 2 min BREATHLESS. Stand 250-320 sit and finish last 30 sec seated
    Stay: (Zedd) recover stand 107-127, 205-225,
    La Grange:(zz top) final 2 hill climb songs: 81 Rpm Stand 0-35. sit drive those legs 35-246 (2 min) pretend they are drumsticks, match the beat 246 Finish out of saddle
    Kings and Queens(Thirty Seconds to Mars) #7 recover 0-35, 75rpm out of saddle 35-134, sit 134 dial in 80 rpm with max gear (1.2 minute) Stand 256-320 add gear hoover 320-4, sit 4 lighten gear get ready: push 80 rpm 418-518 (1 min

  4. I have done this profile as well as the suggested high gear/low cadence follow up profile and it has been overwhelmingly popular for my very mixed rider demographic. The Rock N Roll music was very well received by the 40+ crowd and the younger folks also didn’t seem to mind. For the follow-up profile I added a 4-5 minute pedal drill right after the warm up since it is so very important to perform this function properly. Overall Jennifer this was terrific……Thanks……

  5. I did this routine with a class last week and everyone loved it because it was a different way to approach climbs! I found it to be quite beneficial personally because I’m one of those lower cadence outdoor climbers. I will add some different music and do it again very soon.

    I’ve also been using RPE vs. # gears over base queuing for about 3 weeks now and am getting great feedback on that as well! People in my classes say they feel they are getting better workouts by paying attention to their effort!

  6. Quick question are these seated or standing Climbs? I love this concept

  7. This is also one of my favourite profiles as I can use the type of music I like the most. I did the profile with a cadence between 70 and 80 rpm. Here you find some of my songs:

    Hill 1: The B 52’s – Planet Claire (71 rpm)

    Hill 2: Green Day – East Jesus Nowhere (72 rpm)

    Hill 3: Mando Diao – Dance with somebody (75 rpm)

    Hill 4: Kings of Leon – Waste a moment (76 rpm)

    Hill 5: Fall Out Boy – Thanks for the memories (77 rpm)

    Final Hill: Foo Fighters – Everlong (79 rpm) together with ZZ Top – La Grange (80 rpm)

    Between the hills I chose instrumental music, because I found there were enough lyrics in the hills. I cut the songs into a smaller length when they were too long for my purpose. These were:

    Café del Mar – Intermezzo (Aria 2)
    Fortune – Theme from “Antarctica”
    Nightwish – Moondance (the quieter part)

    Hope you like my suggestions.

    @Shari: I wonder that you chose Song 2 as a recovery song as I find that this song has so much energy.

  8. I *love* this profile (and so do my riders)! Here are a few of the songs I used. 🙂

    Hill 1: The Cave / Mumford (72 rpm)

    Hill 2: Animal / Neon Trees (74 rpm)

    Hill 3: Fall Down / Toad (76 rpm)

    Hill 4: Paint It Black / Rolling Stones (80 rpm)

    Hill 5: All I Ever Wanted / Airborne Toxic Event (82 rpm)

    Hill 6: The Middle / Jimmy Eat World (82 rpm) AND Supersonic / Pearl Jam (85 rpm) = 5.5 min total

    Hill 7: Leave The Memories Alone / Fuel (84 rpm) AND Major Tom / I Hate Kate (80 rpm) = 8 min total

    (Major Tom has three great “countdowns” to short, standing pushes–so fun!)

    A few recovery songs:

    Song 2 / Blur

    You Belong to Me / The Like

    Stand / R.E.M. (cool-down)

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