I’ve had numerous questions over the years about what to do when riders put on too much resistance that slows their cadence down too much. This is a very important issue because heavy resistance has a high risk of injury. Students may do it with the misguided belief it will “strengthen” the legs (like leg presses). It also usually has a high ego component to it. How do you tell them to pedal faster? . . .
In part 1 of this cadence series, we discussed why cadence matters so much in indoor cycling classes. In this chapter, you’ll see how form and technique—and ultimately pedal stroke—are at the foundation of being able to pedal more quickly. We give you four considerations to keep in mind when training higher cadence.
Developing a faster cadence requires purposeful, focused training and should be an essential part of your indoor cycling class objectives. But pedaling quickly is not as easy as it sounds. This series will guide you through the reasons why cadence matters and the physiology of cadence, as well as provide you with technique tips, ample drills, cueing, and even full profiles on how to teach your riders about cadence.
I received a great question recently in the ICA Facebook group from Sarah asking what the difference between a “spin-up” and a “surge” is. We had an Ask the Expert post from 2013 with a similar question from Angela asking, “How exactly do you teach a spin-up? Is it different from a sprint?” So, I have edited the previous article below and updated it with Sarah’s question to help you fully understand what a spin-up is and how to teach one, including referencing a full profile on these drills.
Many of us have seen professional riders climbing the famed ascents of the Tour de France. One observation is the speed at which they climb. Not just how fast their bikes are going, but how fast their legs are spinning. This faster climbing cadence is often referred to as “climbing at tempo.” For those of us that ride outside, this is not climbing in one’s granny gear (no offense, Mom), but pushing a relatively hard gear at a fast cadence.
This high-end aerobic profile is both physically and mentally challenging. Who says you have to go breathless to make it hard? If you are in need of aerobic interval profiles or you periodize your classes (and especially if you have a lot of outdoor cyclists in your classes), then this profile is for you!
Watch this video on cadence drills. While I was with Mad Dogg Athletics and Spinning® I wrote the workshop and manual for the new cadence meter when it was unveiled in 2005. I went out to Spinning® headquarters to shoot the DVD that went along with the meters, along with Doug Katona. Here is a segment from that DVD.