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How To Spin Gears Like A Pro | Improve Your High Cadence Cycling

How To Spin Gears Like A Pro | Improve Your High Cadence Cycling

– Professional cyclists have experimented with different pedaling
techniques for decades. All basically in search of that holy grail that’s going to give
them the key advantage over their rivals. – In this video, we are going to show you the tools to be able to raise your cadence but do remember a high cadence may not make you faster in the short term but it might just help
you in the long term. Oh no, it’s raining! – England, finally! (bright synth music) Spinning means high-cadence, which we generally refer
to as upwards of 90 RPM. And this was a technique
that was highlighted in the late ’90s and early 2000s by a Texan who went by the
name of Lance Armstrong. Now what he found in grand tours was that spinning placed less fatigue on his muscular system which could get tired over the course of three weeks, and it placed more emphasis
on his cardiovascular system which did recover a lot quicker. Since then a lot of other riders have adopted this similar technique. – So, pedal quickly and
efficiently is the core skills. And it has some benefits. – It does. Yeah, starting with the
fact that if you have a limited cadence, you might
well have a limited speed. For example, if you’re
trying to chase onto a group at the end of a descent
and in your hardest gear you’re not going to go any faster than the cadence you can produce. And then of course, there’s track racing and fixed gear racing where
you’ve only got one gear. (bright synth music) – But when you’re riding on the roads, its a lot easier to sit at 80 RPM than it is to sit at say, 60. And that is because
you’re not transferring as much force down on the pedals to ride at a specific power. – That’s right, so power, less force which should mean less accumulated fatigue which is why James here
started this video. But although a high cadence may not make you faster straightaway, it should do eventually because you’ll be recovering from each and every session. And there’s another
benefit to high cadence and that is the ability
to change your speed. So regardless if you’re
racing and somebody attacks, or if you’re just on a group ride, somebody’s trying to pick
me to the top of the climb, you’re going to be far better and easier to respond to that attack if you spin a high cadence to begin with rather than bonk down in a big gear. (bright synth music) – So, James, what do you do if you want to increase your cadence? – Well Oscar, it’s funny you say that because we have not one but three sessions that will help you. So first, make sure
you’re set up correctly before going into these sessions. – Thankfully that set up is
not particularly complicated. It really just involves making sure that your saddle is at the
correct height for you. We’ve got a couple of videos here on Global Cycling Network that
will help you do just that, but the reason it’s important
is also very simple. If it’s too high, what
you’re going to find is that your pelvis rotates
over the top of the saddle. It’s going to be very hard
to keep a high cadence. Too low, and you’re going
to be equally uncomfortable. – So once you’re fully set up and you’re nice and comfortable, should we go on some sessions? – Yeah. Yeah, let’s go on to three sessions that will help you raise your cadence. – Let’s do it. (mellow hip hop music) – So first thing you want to find, a flat-ish bit of road
with some rolling hills and then you want to do
around a 15 minute warm-up. This will get the body nice
and warm for the sessions. Then select a gear that
allows you sitting around 56 to 70% of your FTP. – Then you’re going to be
doing six minute blocks, so that gear should also allow you to ride initially at 85 RPM, then over the course of
the first five minutes you want to gradually get up to 100 RPM. And then for the final minute of those six minute blocks you want to go up to over
110 RPM if you possibly can. Then take three minutes easy at your own self-selected cadence
and repeat it six times before a 15 minute cool-down. – So just remember,
the idea of the session is not meant to be a high intensity but merely it’s to work
on your aerobic endurance. So being able to spin a higher cadence. (mellow hip-hop music) – Session number two is like
a micro-interval session that is focused on cadence. So you want to get our
same 15 minute warm-up in, at which point you’re going
to start your first block where for the first 30
seconds you’re at 130 RPM, which is really going some. And then for the next 30 seconds, you’re down at 90. You can repeat this four
to six times per block and between you’re going to have a slightly longer recovery of
between five to six minutes. Try to get in four to
five blocks per session before you do cool-down. (mellow hip hop music) – You lot are going to
love this final section because what it is, is a
high cadence recovery ride. – Yes, and a high cadence recovery ride will help you recuperate from
those really hard work outs but it’ll also provide
you with active recovery. But mainly it will enable you
to pedal at high cadences. – It will indeed and the premise of it is very, very simple. You can do this on an indoor trainer, or out on the road, for
between 20 minutes and an hour. As ever with a recovery ride, you want it to be very light in intensity, less than 50% of FTP, but throughout you hold
a cadence of over 100. That’s right, you can recover and train something at
exactly the same time. – Let us know how you got on
with these training sessions. – Yeah, you can do that
by leaving a comment in the section just beneath this video. Today it was all about
spinning and high cadence, spin to win, but you’re also
going to need a decent FTP, if you’d like to improve
that, you can find a video right in the middle, just down here. – And if you did like this video, then don’t forget to give us a thumbs up. – (speaking a foreign language) – Hey man, I don’t know
what you’re talking about. It’s always sunny in England. – That’s what he said, isn’t it? Always sunny in England. It also rained on the Angler
Route I’ll have you know.

100 comments on “How To Spin Gears Like A Pro | Improve Your High Cadence Cycling

  1. I'll have to reprogram my automatic shifter to go higher than 100rpm. 130rpm happens to be the maximum cadence I can maintain a high power output at. Beyond that it drops from 800W to 350W. Cadence maxs out at 165rpm.

  2. I have since I was a child had high cadence since my bikes had no gears and now as adult 90 rpm is my optimal cadence. I want keep the cadence as it is and only change gears. Uphill my cadense lower and around 70 rpm when I stand up but I am okay with a higher cadense when I sit in the saddle.
    I love all this new combinations of presenters and that make GCN even better!

  3. That black and red Madone is a piece of art! GCN, be careful with such bikes – erotics is banned on youtube 😉

  4. Had to look twice to realise it wasn’t John Travolta for once it was the fair weather cyclist from the Cervelo test team 😂

  5. I just can't watch some of these new GCN vids. The chat is stinky and the presenters are just mind-numbingly awful. The race reports and shows are alright, but please GCN, find some presenters with some personality.

  6. I blew out a knee from pushing big gears many years ago. I started spinning faster. I average on every ride 96 rpm. No more knee problem and I am regularly in the 115 area on the flats. I am very comfortable spinning fast. It works for me.

  7. When I started cycling, I was always one of the "grind a big gear" people (50-60 rpm). Tough, over the last 9 months, I have embraced using the right cadence. Regularly see my average cadence for a ride now is 88-92. Loads less stress going through my legs, yet because I'm getting fitter, more power.

  8. The importance of spinning became very apparent to me when riding Zwift with a smart trainer (i.e., with a power meter). I learned there are two ways to make power (watts).. mash big gears at lower RPMs or spin smaller gears at high RPMs. Mashing big gears typically results in burn-out very quickly and isn't so good for the knees.

  9. Well, I have the opposite problem, I could easily maintain 100~105 rpm, and that's my default cadence.
    But at that cadence I could only reach about 75% of my FTP. (my execute for being a poor sprinter)

    Can only get higher output on climb with candence dropped to 95 rpm or below, and it suffers.
    Any advice?

  10. Hi, my name is Amit. I am from Pune India 🇮🇳. I am looking to buy a road bike for myself. Will you please help me out. My height is 165 cms.

  11. If you are judging from Froome's that high cadence means fresher legs on the longer distance, let me remind you that asthma medications also give you fresher legs on a longer distance

  12. How about you never mention the sociopathic Lance Armstrong on this channel again? Or any other known doper for that matter. That will stop the arguing in the comments below and make everyone a little happier. Each time Lance is mentioned, I feel the need to defend the sport from people asserting that all pros dope and always have. Just leave these dopers alone – they deserve to be ignored. The truth is, they started to dope because they couldn’t win without it so, while they might still be great athletes when compared to the average population, they aren’t great athletes when compared to the best of the best.

  13. Let’s not forget that high cadence is only partly trainable, that those with a higher natural cadence tend to have a high proportion of fast twitch fibres and those with a lower natural cadence tend to have a high proportion of slow twitch fibres.

    The fact that teams do high cadence as well as low cadence drills tells us there are advantages to a variety of cadences.

  14. For me Oscar Pujol is the new best GCN presenter I wish that he always join in making videos in the Main GCN channel

  15. I buzz around with an av cadence of 100rpm unless I'm on what I class as proper hilly stuff., all very well and good. Problem comes when you run out of gearing though. If you run out of gearing you will find yourself lacking a bit in the torque required to turn what will then be a higher gear than you're used to. So I think it is important to do some higher gear/lower cadence work as well, so that your legs have the power to turn the gear if you find yourself under-geared.

    So as a spinner, one should be wary to make sure they have the appropriate gearing on the bike for the terrain and to stay on top of all out leg power too.

    As an aside, my av cadence drops to 90 on Zwift, not really sure why.

  16. I find that I naturally have a much higher cadence out on the road than I do on the trainer. 95 vs 85 usually. Anyone know any reason why?

  17. As un u14 racer I spin at about 120 rpm as my average cadence and don’t think it is any disadvantage having said this I don’t know. If I would be better on a bigger gear

  18. How do you train high cadence with a heart rate monitor, since spinning will put more pressure on your circulatory system?
    I usually know how to correlate ftp with fthr (more or less) but those specific training sessions will make a mess of it all.

  19. High cadence has really helped me just enjoy my riding. I am riding much further and more adventurously with a smile on my face- because my lower back no longer hurts! My pedaling technique and efficiency has also improved dramatically too.

  20. Is it just me or does the guy in the middle (last 20 secs) mess up a bit with his lines? Anyway, another great vid

  21. who are these new people on the show….. stopped watching the show just after Matt left (that wasn't the reason). Started again last week and don't recognise most of the presenters now…. i miss the old crew

  22. My highest cadence recorded was 191 rpm when I launched the bike for a sprint. I can generally cycle at 120rpm for an hour if road traffic is clear.

  23. Interestingly.

    Spinning Cycling cadence = 90+ rpm
    Elite Running cadence =180+ spm

    Considering spm is both sides and rpm counted on only one, in comparison we multiply cycling cadence by two and we get.


  24. I’d like to ride high cadence but on tough climbs I find my heart rate goes down and my breathing is easier to push a hard gear. I think there are different physiologies. Some may have better aerobic capacity and so spinning works, others do better by relying on strength.

  25. Hey GCN, great video, thanks. When I try these sessions, I find that a faster cadence will have me bouncing on the saddle. If I shift up and grind at a lower cadence my ride smooths out and the bouncing stops.
    Perhaps I haven't nailed the technique? Any advice on how I can smooth out at faster cadences? Thank you!
    (I'm 1.93m x 75kg, and ride with flat pedals)
    #askGCNtraining #torqueback

  26. Did Lance want to put more emphasis on his respiratory system because he artificially had more red blood cells to transfer oxygen around the body, IE are there any pro cyclists that rely on muscular strength and big gears more than lung capacity, Peter Sagan for example?

  27. I think it depends on your body type and its million variables. some bodies will be better pushing bigger gears witjh muscles than spinning with high heart rate

  28. Im always around 90-100 rpm, unless im really tired and it drops suddenly to around 60. But people always criticise me saying that I should lower my cadence and have a harder gear when im climbing.

  29. what kind of speed goes with the rpm and cadence? Is that 30km or 35km? I can't measure my cadence on my bike. I ride with strava and can see my speed. Thanks. btw. That Trek bike is awesome!

  30. I have always naturally ridden at a high cadence. I spin at 92-100 rpm (avg) on every ride. I don't try to; it's just natural.

  31. My natural cadence is around 95 – 110 rpm, would it be beneficial to push it higher? Or just focus on getting my power up at this rpm?

  32. I miss Matt, yes. But I saw a video on GCN that went something like "Last Man Standing Fixed Gear" starring Hank and I've started loving him ever since. None of these guys are a joke, they're the real deal.

  33. I was spinning in the 70's about 1977. Taught myself. Also did some grinding peddling on the flat & up hills. And also a combination of somewhere in the middle at around 65-75rpm. Got down 2 around 50rpm & high up around 90-110. No cadence meters back then. Just feel. These days l just spin between 90-110. Dance on the peddles up hills & occasionally the 52 chain ring & 11 rear.
    Spinning to get for especially before wanting to tackle hills or mountains… if your lungs can handle 2hrs + of spinning at 90-110 at 30-35 & 40an hr when you come to tackle hills & dance on the peddles the heart, lungs will have already had a decent foundation layed.

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