1st Priority for training in Zwift : Power or Cadence


I’m new user for Zwift and already enroll for training plan. Now i’m training in build FTP program.

Please allow me to ask about training plan…

I would like to know that i should to focus power (Watt Target) or cadence during training workout ?

Which option is good for training…

1.Ride at watt target or higher… but cadence lower than 90

2.Ride at watt lower than target but cadence higher than 90

Please advice me

Thank you very much.

1 Like

For me best option is 1.
Always power, cadence even at 50/60 isn’t bad :slight_smile:

Thank you very much… :slight_smile:

1 Like

Lower cadence is fine if you still hit the wattage target, this is usually used to build strength and is a good thing to mix into your training. Some training plans even have this built in so you are told to ride at a certain cadence during the interval block while hitting the watt target.

In general you should always hit the wattage target, and use a cadence that is comfortable for you.

1 Like

Why can’t you do both? Cadence and wattage are, technically, independent of each other. I think you should pedal at a cadence that is comfortable for you, and then adjust your gearing (if on a dumb trainer) to achieve the necessary wattage target. And if on a smart trainer and using erg mode the trainer will just adjust the resistance based on your cadence in order to achieve the desired wattage.


Thank you :slight_smile:

Thank you. But my trainer is normal trainer not smart trainer.

As you question that why can’t do both, because i’m new rider. If i focus both Watt and Cadence i have to use soft gear with very high cadence around 110+ that it effect to my heart rate zone (it around zone 4 - 5).

So, i would like to know that if i have to select for only one… which one is a must to focus between Watt target or Cadence 90+

1 Like

I guess what I’m saying is DON’T focus on your cadence. Just select a gear that allows you to put out the correct wattage at a cadence that is comfortable for you. (Unless, of course, the workout is asking you to pedal at a specific cadence for some reason.) This may cause you to shift gears a few times until you find what is comfortable. Just don’t select a gear and then raise and lower your cadence to meet the watt target.

1 Like

Hey Panit

I would also support going for the power target first - because power is ultimately what moves you forward - cadence is only there to make this as efficient as possible.

As a note on cadence - don’t force yourself to any particular cadence - Lance Armstrong and Jan Ulrich were both world-class athletes but one had a cadence of 100+ and the other somewhere in the 70s… So if you can push 150 watts at 80 cadence with a heart rate of 130 that’s better than aiming for an arbitrary cadence threshold (such as 90) for the same wattage but having a higher heart rate.

If after a while, you find that you now what your wattage and preferred cadences are, you can play around with a little bit here and there, but at the end of the day, power wins races.


Oh, I see. Thank you very much

1 Like

Thank you.

1 Like

When I do a work out I will do 3 types of sets.

The first is I hit the Power target at a cadence that is natural for me, usually 75-85.

The next block ,I again hit the power target but now I start shifting into higher (harder) gears until my cadence is < 55-60. If I pedal any faster, I will go over the power target.

The next block, I again spin up to the power target but now I shift to progressively easy gears.
This makes me pedal faster until I get to about 95.

I just keep varying between the 3.

I do this on endurance rides and foundation days.
On Tempo or VO2 days, (the hardest work outs), it takes all I got just to hit the power target at what ever cadence it takes.

I typically race 1 day, foundation X 2 days and Tempo X 1 day per week.
I rest 3 days (M-W-F) because of work issues but since I take days off, I can push a little harder. Plus, I’m old so extra recovery in not a bad idea.

I see this thread is a bit old, but I thought I would put in my 2 cents and freshen the blog a bit!
I’m a multisport individual and a firm believer in training harder in your weaknesses. If you find it easier to hold a wattage at your 20 min FTP at a lower cadence say 80-85, try working on HIIT cadence drills finding your comfort zone cadence say for instance 85-90 and do intervals involving 85 slightly below FTP and above your FTP at 100+. If you find hitting your FTP easier at a 95 cadence then do similar Power drills keeping a lower cadence, but pushing watts up and down. I do this in all the sports, swimming, running, cycling, and outrigger canoe paddling a really popular sport here in Hawaii.


Heart Rate will change with your fitness level too. You continue at a high cadence your body will adapt and it won’t be as high the next time you ride with a high cadence.

If you do Track cycling, or are youth cyclist with gear limitations.then you need to also work on the cadence to compensate for the fact that you will most propably need a high cadence to compete when you run out of gears.

A youth Track cyclists will need to turn an average cadence of arround 120 to compete. And they would max out at about 150.
Top sprinters with massive gears in the Kierin also max out at about 120.

Triathletes however seem do ride much lower cadences.

So the bottom line is that the type of racing you plan to do will also affect wat combination of gearing and cadence you will use to achieve the required watts. At the end of the day your goal remains watts per kg.

No training program has max power every day: there’s days when you can work on technique. And training cadence range improved efficiency of the pedal stroke. I also like one legged pedaling occasionally.

I am in a similar position to the OP. My inference is that because I use a longer crank (175 mm) than most, I get more torque for a given cadence. So I meet the wattage guidance at a slower cadence, all else equal.

Does this sound reasonable? I find I would have to almost spin out at the highest gear to comply with both wattage and power. The above is the only explanation I can think of…



Sorry I meant lowest gear rather than highest gear in above reply…