Workout plans and cadence

Today I started my first workout plan. It went pretty good. One thing I don’t like is the cadence. I have a kinetic road machine that does the job but I doesn’t have any adjustable resistance. During the workout it wants me to go along at 65-70 watts at a cadence of 95 in some spots. To do this I have to drop my bike to a really low gear and peddle my a$$ off. I understand the whole concept behind it, but at such a low gear there is no resistance at all and peddling feels really silly. I’m bouncing around on the seat, constantly fighting the cadence because there is no resistance so I’m getting quite a bit of slack in my chain and it screws up the sensor so as I’m peddling not even changing up any, but the cadence in zwift is really erratic.

I’m hoping that this won’t be a continuing problem and as I get in better shape and my FTP gets higher. I would any of you out there in Zwift land happen to have any tips to make things a little smoother? I mean if I put on the rear brake a little it makes things a little smoother but I can’t go along the whole time dragging my rear brake.

I thought that trainer was smart and therefore changed resistance itself - you shouldnt have to change gear!?

Regardless, 65-70 watts wont offer much resistance is, so yes, you will be spinning against nothing at 95rpm and that wont be comfortable at all. I’d do the best you can and work yourself up to those high cadences over time. The plans wont penalise you for not hitting cadence targets, only watt targets.

I’m not into high cadence but have got slightly better over the past few years. I know that as soon as my hips start wobbling around the place, I back off and focus on smoothness regardless of cadence and work myself up to something I can handle without destroying form.

I think that’s the point of the cadence exercises. I’m doing the BMU plan at the moment and have the opposite problem. Riding at 95-100 rpm with hardly any resistance is no problem, but I struggled to do the lower cadences. Now, at 10 weeks in, my legs have got stronger and I can pedal with a bit of force at 60 rpm. The advice in this plan for high cadence is to go as high as you can without bouncing around, focus on pedalling smoothly, and you’ll get quicker.

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I wish I would have gotten the actual smart trainer. The one I have has “Smart Trainer” in the name but it’s far from it. It’s just a fluid resistance trainer with a bluetooth sensor and a magnet in the roller. I kind have wished I knew more about Zwift and stuff before I bought my trainer. I would have spent a little more money and gotten the better model. Oh well.

I don’t have much of a problem going at much lower RPM’s. I am really comfortable at 70. I start getting up around 85 and I’m rather uncomfortable and I start really moving around more than I should. You think that me being shorter at 5’6" with short legs I would prefer a higher cadence but I’m completely the opposite. It’s probably because I’m about 70 lbs overweight and that much mass flailing around make it inconvenient.

It’s nice to know I won’t get penalized for not meeting the cadence and I can focus on the workout and not trying to not fall off the bike flailing around like a bug on its back kicking its feet. Keeping the watts up is the easy part so far. I’m sure as I go farther that will change.

Thanks for the info! This will help

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You’ll easily be able to sell your trainer for a decent amount, so you can still upgrade if you want to.

I too made the schoolboy error of getting a “smart fluid trainer” first time around when I didn’t know wtf I was doing.

As soon as I figured out it didn’t automatically adjust resistance on hills, I boxed that sht up, took it straight back to the shop, got it refunded and bought an Elite Direto on Black Friday sale :smiley:

Best decision ever…

As to your main question - a lot of workouts are designed to target a certain area - varying cadence can help you hit different weak spots which can result in big gainz. Although for average rides - it’s better to ride at whatever cadence ur most comfortable at - but on specific workouts - there are some sections that may want you to grind away and some sections that may want you to spin like crazy for a specific reason…! but you really need a smart trainer with ERG mode on to make the most of those sessions…

A lot of my friends are slow-twitch specialists, and for some reason they love chilling at low rpm.
Myself I’m happiest at 85-90 and if it drops below 80 then my legs start burning up like crazy. I am fast twitch dominant. My theory is that lower RPM targets the fast twitch fibres more - but on a fast twitch dominant person it’s going to be very inefficient to activate ur fast twitch muscle fibres outside of an attack effort (as they generate a tonne of lactate). So I prefer to spin like crazy which lets me save my legs for when I really need them :wink:

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Unfortunately I cant really return my trainer. I bought it online and threw the box away. I guess I could sell it and upgrade. Oh the silly mistakes we make when we don’t know any better. Oh well, I guess something is better than nothing. I think my bike I am using is not really the right bike to be using anyway for any serious kind of training. Its just a Specialized Crossroads I bought about 6 years ago.

I am learning more and more every time I get on and train. Like today… it finally clicked (no pun intended) why there are special click in shoes and pedals. I had no idea that with those shoes you can pull up on the upstroke and produce power supplementing the power to the downstroke. I still just have the ole flat stock pedals that came with my bike and wearing tennis shoes. Today during a workout I tried to kind of pull up or drag back on the pedals while pushing down with the other leg and I could instantly see the increase in watts and not even change cadence or anything. Little by little things are falling into place why things are the way they are. When you don’t understand, some of the stuff it seems rather silly but when you learn it all makes sense.

yea when the time comes, just whack it on ebay or w/e and reinvest in a direct drive smart trainer if possible. but as you said, something is better than nothing.
i dont think the type of bike you put on it matters all that much.

if you don’t have a clipless pedal setup yet, the next best thing are toe-clips which are the plastic tie things which you can attach to a pedal and almost give you the same effect. i used to think it didn’t do much, but i rode a bike without clipless pedals recently and it was hilarious as every time my foot returned to the 12-o-clock position it would rocket upwards off the pedal for a while until i got used to pedalling without them again :smiley: so they are definitely doing something to help.

i assume you don’t have the (computer) control unit on your kinetic? ( available as an upgrade)
if you have the fluid resistance unit, this has a very good consistent speed v power graph ( using zpower on zwift), measured using a speed sensor
The faster your rear wheel goes the more resistance there is.
you need to change gear to get the wheel speed/ cadence to get the required power.