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I was reading this: <a href="http://www.trifuel.com/triathlon/bike/cycling-cadence-and-pedaling-economy-001048.php" target="_blank">http://www.trifuel.com/triathlon/bik...omy-001048.php</a>.<br><br>
I thought I was a spinner and have been following religiously the 90 or above rpm rule since my tri beginnings.<br>
But after a couple of training sessions using very low gears, I am starting to think I should try to race at a lower cadence, at least for the sprint/oly ones.<br>
Your thoughts?
 

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YES!<br><br>
I used to be a spinner and spinner only. I didn't realize it at the time, but I was a spinner for the sole purpose that I had weak biking legs. My overall speed had a top end. Until I got on the Trainer and built up muscle doing low cadence work. Although I'm still a work in progress, I can now push a big gear for a long time, and not only that but I recover quickly such that I can push a big gear, burn my legs out, gear down for a minute, then go right back up. And my overall speed has skyrocketed from where I had been. You absolutely need that leg strength to go faster.<br><br>
However, once you have the leg strength, the next step (at least for me in my plan) is to insert back that cadence, but not so that you're spinning easy gear. You want to get to the point where you're spinning a hard gear. When you can do that, then you have achieved close to your utmost potential with basic parameters. Take it up a level again with another strength build phase the next year, and repeat.<br><br>
Would love to hear Jr's take on this, but for me, there is no question that I had to gain leg strength by pushing a big gear for my speed to shoot up noticeably. Last year by end of season, I was able to add in the cadence too, and that's when you truly fly. Strength to hold it off. Recover. Repeat. And your times will improve.<br><br>
And I'm convinced that I would not have come even close to my improvement if I tackled the leg strength issue from a position of spinning and gradually spinning more and a slightly larger gear. I had done that in the past without much results.<br><br>
I guarantee that if you do proper Trainer work in the offseason or even early season, you will be that much better for it. But you have to do it at least a few months and follow a basic build, build, build, rest, repeat plan where you force yourself to push more watts per week out.
 

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At the bottom:<br><br>
"Most likely beneficiaries of high cadence: Those most likely to benefit from increasing cadence are those whose cardiovascular capacity exceeds their muscle power: women, small or thin riders, former runners, and masters riders. These athletes should work to develop a higher cadence style, but should still incorporate specific high-force workouts to increase their ability to create torque."
 

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Interesting - I'm always aiming for higher candence, as I feel like it will be less stressful on my knees, and save my legs a bit for the run. I have been doing some more lower cadence stuff on the trainer this winter with the spinervals, but only when coach Troy tells me to <img alt="smile.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/smile.gif"> I can definitely feel it in my quads a lot more the next morning so I hope I'm building something somewhere!
 

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Former masher, current spinner. I always preferred grinding it out and didn't feel I was doing anything unless I was doing just that. I've always had the leg strength to do this, but when I got my tri bike with a cadence sensor to start my 3rd year of triathlon, I started experimenting with the cadence. I have found that I could maintain the speed I want for longer by spinning. I still do a lot of workouts grinding away for strength, but when it comes to racing, I keep it above 94 for the duration.
 

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The key is to take your grinding gear and build to make it your spinning gear. You don't want to push easier gears faster, you want to push harder gears faster.<br><br>
That is buried in Thor's endless typing.....so I plainly put it here. <img alt="smile.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/smile.gif"><br><br>
It is a bit of a mental shift. Do it.
 

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Until recent years I had always been a masher. That may be why I've always had lots of leg strength. When Lance started winning TdF employing more spinning, I tried it out and found I could maintain the same speeds by spinning faster in easier gears. On long rides this has proved to be less tiring, but on shorter distances I tend to use the big gears more because I'm not concerned about getting tired and more concerned about attaining higher speeds.<br><br>
There is a place for both methods. The low cadence, big gear stuff is great for building leg strength and explosive power.
 

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When I first started cycling, I was in that category... "those whose cardiovascular capacity exceeds their muscle power". I don't understand why it says they'd benefit more from high cadence training, wouldn't that be easier hence why they would benefit from lower cadence training (in order to get stronger)? Shouldn't you always work the muslces that tire easy and often and your weakness to become a better athlete?
 

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Coming from years of mountain biking (lots of technical climbing), I'm from the high cadence camp, never really had an idea what my normal rpm was until I started tri, then my bike computer indicated what I felt was right (85~92 rpm = good range). I then applied all my training within that range and especially within the respective hr zone. I've now noticed that my speed has increased as a result of training with higher gears and z3 training.<br><br>
I race in the same rpm range, shifting to keep hr in my specific zone (IM and HIM). Sprints and Olys, same rpm range, but selecting a tougher gear, disregard hr for the most part.
 

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I am not positive, but I think I tend to ride in harder gears at a lower cadence than maybe I should. But it feels so much more comfortable. I try to do the spinning thing and I feel like I'm going nowhere no matter how fast I spin around the pedals. :/
 

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This off season I focused on just what Thor was talking about and it has worked but I'm still trying to get back the high cadence. So for now I'm a Masher but I hope to be spinning the big gear fast by the end of this season.
 

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I mash more in cyclocross and MTB racing, and have tried it some for TT's but found it didn't make me any faster and perhaps contributed to my going slower. I figured since I had pretty strong legs it might work for the TT, but alas it did not. Somewhere around 90 seems to work well for me. It's easy to test if you use a computer with cadence for a while.<br><br>
I do still tend to pust a fairy stout gear when climbing or sprinting.
 

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Right leg: Spin<br>
Leg leg: Mash<br><br>
I'm a goofyfoot<br><br><img alt="" src="http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1419/624023188_7018c4cdf0.jpg" style="border:0px solid;">
 

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Yes. What I do is over the winter I mash a bigger gear all in the name of building muscle. Every now and then I try to increase cadenence, but I don't worry about it too much. Because as soon as spring comes and road riding is easier, where I'm no longer exclusively on the Trainer, I start right then and there on working the cadence. And you should do the same. It will take about a month to get to a point where your cadence is back or close enough, at which time you then are faster because of the muscle built during the base phase.<br><br>
Long way to say that when you hit the roads, focus on cadence. You don't have to overdo it, but try to get back to what was more natural.<br><br>
The Trainer tends to be steady and very smooth, whereas the road is undulating, up and down, with much more rapid changes in cadence. If you spent all winter on the Trainer, you will suffer your first few times out on the road. Don't be discouraged. Instead, focus on cadence and getting it up, and don't worry if those little rollers wipe you out... it's because you don't get that simulation on the Trainer.<br><br>
For this very reason, I try to push a heavy gear as my regular gear on the Trainer, such that if all I did was spin in that gear, after 30 minutes I'm hurting. But I don't do that. I'll instead do a workout with intervals of even more intensity. So that every single gear I'm in, with the exception of a rest phase, is tougher than a gentle percent rise on the roads.
 

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Optimal running cadence is 90, most triathletes should spin at the same rate so it feels the same getting off the bike.<br><br>
Of course the whole idea of getting faster is simply keeping the cadence the same while shifting to one gear harder.<br><br>
When I started riding I was in the big ring up front and about the second or third gear from the top in the back. Now I ride big ring, and 2 or 3 gears up from the bottom. Same cadence means I go faster.<br><br>
Leg strength comes from more than just turning big gears on the bike. You need to hit the weight room and strengthen those big muscles. You don't want Hanz and Franz, but strong...<br><br>
As coach Troy says, "Have a seat." Love that line. Of course he means plyometric squats.<br><br>
CS
 

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I had a friend who did plyometric squates last winter, he'd hold dumb bells in each hand (fairly heavy) squat down low and jump up as hard as he could. Those plus some high reps (100) squats seemed to really bring his sprint around nicely.
 

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I bet he was just peachy to be around after that. <img alt="biggrin.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/biggrin.gif"><br><br>
I do straight on box jumps, side box jumps and squats with 3 or 5 lbs wraps on my wrist. (I hold my hands behind my head) I set a watch for a minute and repeat it 5 times. If I stand during the minute I add a minute each time I stand. That can quickly become impossible torture as the more fatigued my legs get, the harder it is to stay down. I often lose track of how many I have done or have yet to do. <img alt="sad.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/sad.gif"><br><br>
CS
 
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