Quick cadence training for juniors

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by macca1234, Oct 22, 2005.

  1. macca1234

    macca1234 New Member

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    my coach has got me on to spinning, i am not allowed to use my big chain ring and i acnt use my bottom 4 gears which leaves me with just my 5 hill climbing gears while training. In his experience learning to spin while youre young is extremely beneficial when you start to peak as a cyclist. has everyone gone through this or are there any exceptions? all feedback would be much appreciated.
     
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  2. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

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    You will get a lot of responses to the effect that there is no such thing as an optimal cadence and that you should just self-select a cadence that enables you to sustain the highest power for a given duration. All that is true, but it's not quite what you asked. Having done a lot of high-cadence drills, I'll tell you what I now view as the benefits of high-cadence drills. First, in my case high-cadence drills smoothed out my stroke at all cadences. When I first tried to ride at a high cadence (e.g., 120-150rpm), I bounced on my saddle and was really pretty jerky. Riding for a minute or so at 120-150rpm several times per ride forced me to smooth out my stroke. In my case, the key was to back off the leg force before 6 o'clock on the downstroke. Second, I now ride with a PM and precise power management is an asset, especially for TTs. I use cadence for power managment and having a wide cadence comfort zone is an asset because I can manage power over a relatively large range without changing gears. I regularly ride at cadences from 80-120rpm and use cadence to manage power through small grade or wind changes. Third, I find that I can accelerate faster in sprints with a high cadence. I top out at ~175rpm, but I'd love to be able to rev it up >200rpm like a former training buddy can. I've done acceleration and top-end speed tests and I do better (especially acceleration) by starting at a relatively high cadence (e.g., 100rpm). I'm pretty sure I would not be able to use high cadences in sprints if I had not done lots of high cadence drills.
     
  3. Dini77

    Dini77 New Member

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    Agree with this, but i also found keeping the upper body relaxed and not wrenching the handlebars helps keep you smooth as well. Tense upper body's constrict muscles and lead to jerkiness. I don't know if i necessarily 'backed-off leg force', what i did concentrate on was 'pulling the pedals back' through the 6 o'clock - i used to point my toes, and i changed this to a flatter style.


    I have to agree here as well. Whilst i don't have a PM, i manage my rides by cadence over all terrain, weather conditions, races etc. For me, an optimal range is 93rpm - 107rpm, but i can easily spin higher and keep smooth. I typically don't like to drop below about 85rpm as i feel like i'm 'chugging'.

    I use high cadence drills with my coach on the velodrome (or road) for specific training. Like the OP, i do this with restricted gearing and find this an excellent training technique. Most races come down to sprint finishes and being able to accelerate quickly is vital - restrcited gear training teaches the body how to spin efficiently and i believe it carries over even when you increase gears. I'm now able to spin gears to accelerate out of corners in crits (i see many people standing to accelerate). I figure that the less i have to stand to accelerate, the less i tax my muscles before i need them come the sprint finish. A smooth pedal stroke, with the greatest effective pedalling and cadence range is the goal (IMO) - whether you're a spinner or masher. I think the way to achieve this is by doing high cadence low resistance drills and isolated leg training. I use these techniques regulalry and i think the earlier you start the better it is. It's amazing how many people you see out there 'mashing' away, bouncing and bobbing their upper bodies - so inefficient!! Anyway, that's my 2.5 cents worth.
     
  4. SolarEnergy

    SolarEnergy New Member

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    In cycling, we are our own engine.

    Being able to generate a lot of torque and power, in a wide cadence range is a good thing for an engine.
     
  5. biker-linz

    biker-linz New Member

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    There is one thing I would say is possibly beneficial (depending on your age) and that is that higher cadences place less strain on connective tissue around the knee joint. As far as cadence in general is concerned there isn't a right answer as yet. A higher cadence might be good for you, it might not (and your coach doesn't know either way unless he's tested you with a gas analyser an *even then* he couldn't be sure).

    L.
     
  6. limerickman

    limerickman Moderator

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    When I was a junior - we used to have to cycle on 50/40 chainring with a rear cassette 16/25 (I might be slightly out as regards the cassette but they we're light gears).
    This forced us to learn to pedal at a consistent fluent cadence.
    We were not allowed to use heavier (higher) gears because junior races were strictly controlled.

    The benefit of using a lighter gear is that you work on your pedalling action.
    Too many people try to emulate Indurain/Ullrich by trying to "power" their bikes.
    Guys like Armstrong and Stephen Roche were fluent pedallers.
     
  7. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

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    Lindsay, you addressed the question of whether there is a "right" cadence. I addressed the question of whether there are benefits to high cadence drills, a very different question in my view. Do you disagree with the three specific benefits I identified?
     
  8. whoawhoa

    whoawhoa New Member

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    Are you training like this all the time now? Or just one or two days a week? Seems like that would wreck your fitness.
     
  9. macca1234

    macca1234 New Member

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    i have to do it all the time!!! except races.
     
  10. biker-linz

    biker-linz New Member

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    I disagree with two of them I guess. Firstly there is no evidence whatever that 'smoothing' out your pedal stroke is beneficial. If you were bouncing around in your saddle at 85 rpm then perhaps there would be cause for concerern but that didn't seem to be an issue (and I don't know if it is for the OP). As far as 'micro-managing' power why not just use a close-ratio cassette? Also bear in mind that short fluctuations in power don't really 'show up' from a metabolic perspective and that efficiency doesn't change *that* much from one cadence to another (especially within the ranges we're discussing here). I do agree that being able to accelerate quickly is a useful tool to have in road races and for that purpose a moderately high cadence (at the time) may help. Whether drills make any difference to this I don't know.

    L.
     
  11. SolarEnergy

    SolarEnergy New Member

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    The absence of "evidence" could mean that this subject is not vital enough to justify spending time and ressources to initiate serious studies. And I can understand.

    Don't need any evidence to confirm that improve in speed will always be a consequence of :
    - Increase in distance per pedal stroke.
    And / or
    - Increase in number of pedal strokes per minute.
     
  12. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

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    Well, that's interesting because based on nothing more than observation a smooth stroke seems to be an attribute that top riders have that many newbies don't have. I guess that since there's no evidence that a smooth stroke is beneficial, there must be a top rider who is not smooth. Can you cite an example, because I can't think of a single rider who "appears" to be anything but smooth? And, I see riders who aren't smooth every weekend on my club rides. Of course, I'm only going by observation.

    As to the drivetrain, I have two cranksets and multiple cassettes and I choose a combination that gives me ratios as close as possible given the required range that will allow me to ride at my preferred cadences on the various grades and wind conditions that I anticipate (training ride vs. race event). At the moment, I am riding with a compact crank (34/50) and climbing cassette (13-29). The only disadvantage is that I sometimes need to get my cadence pretty high on downhills (e.g., ~150rpm). But, I'll take that tradeoff to give me my preferred cadences on climbs. As to micro-managing power, I don't agree with frequently changing gears to manage power. I think that is inefficient compared with being able to maintain a constant power with small fluctuations in grade or wind with cadence. As you know, riding at a constant power is a real challenge on real roads under real conditions. Roads just aren't of a constant grade and the wind doesn't behave and blow at a constant speed. Add passing cars that disturb the air flow and you're dealing with a constantly changing situation. I suppose this is an unprovable personal style question, but I prefer to manage power through small grade or wind changes with cadence rather than gear changes.[/QUOTE]
     
  13. SolarEnergy

    SolarEnergy New Member

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    I know, it is not the purpose of this thread,

    But I can't help but thinking that "study-based evidence" is only one among many tools that a coach can use to base his judgment.

    It should probably be the very first thing to consult. I myself have already paid to buy scientific studies in the past. Now days, with the Internet, things are made even simpler.

    But a lot of subjects won't necessarly attract researchers. Research centers, Universities, they must evaluate the cost/benefit ratio before approving studies. And having worked in a University in the past, I can tell you that student projects are not always meaningfull and well done.

    As for technical aspects, in sports, I have learned a lot from my most talented athletes. My collegues and myself, have spent countless number of hours, looking at frame by frame videos, trying to understand some technical aspects way before they became subjects for scientific studies.

    What I am trying to say, is that everyday, practical, factual evidence is well worth also. Not only scientific evidence, which is more expensive and restricted.
     
  14. Spunout

    Spunout New Member

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    I think if you coach has you doing this, you must need the spinning to improve your form! Listen to your coach.
     
  15. whoawhoa

    whoawhoa New Member

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    Does anyone else think this sounds insane? If you can only use your easiest five gears then it probably keeps your power way down except for hills. I would think it would cause you to lose fitness. Especially since you probably have junior gearing, which is pretty small already.
     
  16. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

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    It doesn't sound insane to me. His coach obviously wants him to spin and one way to ensure that he is riding at high cadences is to restrict the gears he can use. If I were using my standard drivetrain, I could do any speed up to 25mph with my 5 smallest cogs and my small chainring. Of course, I would be spinning 143rpm at 25mph, but it wouldn't really restrict my riding.
     
  17. whoawhoa

    whoawhoa New Member

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    Assuming his gears are the same as yours, and he can spin at 143 rpm over long periods of time, then it may not be limiting his power. But, if his coach wants him to work on his spin, he probably doesn't have that ability. And I agree that limiting gears may force him to work on his cadence, but at what cost? If we say he's limited to a 39-17, at a cadence of 120 he's at under 22mph. Seems to me that this would limit his ability to do high-intensity work.

    Of course, his coach also may not want him to do high intensity work right now, but this would also seem odd to me as I think Macca mentioned in another thread that his racing season is just heating up.
     
  18. macca1234

    macca1234 New Member

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    yeah this is very confusing to me, i think ill just listen to my coach at the expense of good results this year, however i think i will ask him if i can put it in a big chainring at least twice a week. I just feel tired & sluggish now and its extra annoying having youre average speed go from 32km-27km/h.
     
  19. SolarEnergy

    SolarEnergy New Member

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    Tell him that you feel concern about your average getting down, and ask him if it would be a good idea to do one or two workouts per week on a bigger gear. You'll see what he has in mind.

    Bottom line macca, is that you should always always ask for some information about what you do, to your coach, when you have doubts. I never get enough feed back from athletes. And don't cheat...well not too much:D
     
  20. macca1234

    macca1234 New Member

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    sounds like a plan solar
     
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