The smart trainer is a great tool to improve our cadence, one of the most important metrics in cycling. Training on a simulator like BKOOL allows you to enjoy riding without exposing yourself to distractions or dangers, so you can concentrate on your effort.
What is cadence?
When we talk about cadence in cycling we refer to the number of revolutions per minute (RPM) at a given speed. In other words, how many pedal strokes in a given time interval at a given speed.
This parameter is important because it influences the amount of power you are able to produce. An increase or decrease in pedaling cadence will have a direct impact on power.
Therefore, training to be more efficient by focusing on cadence work can help you perform better.
Why does improving cadence make me a better cyclist?
If you have ever watched professional cyclists, you may have noticed the ease with which they pedal, even at high speeds or on demanding terrain. This is no accident, but rather the result of years of work and effort to improve cadence efficiency.
When we increase the cadence at a given power, the force we have to exert for that power is less and, therefore, the muscular effort is also less. This delays the onset of fatigue.
How can I improve cadence in cycling?
As we have mentioned, you can work to become a more efficient cyclist. And the smart trainer is one of the best tools for it, since there are no interruptions.
Here is a list of three exercises to improve your cycling cadence. Don’t hesitate to incorporate them into your routine and you’ll see how your performance improves.
This involves fast pedaling at low intensity and controlling the bounce on the saddle. The idea is to reach high cadences, trying to exceed 100 rpm, without your body leaving the seat.
Concentrating on achieving the roundest possible pedal stroke is essential for this exercise. You must apply pedaling force evenly to avoid dead spots (those moments in your pedal stroke when no power is generated).
This exercise is ideal for the smart trainer. In fact, for your safety, you should only do it on a trainer, never on the road. Clip only one foot into a pedal, leaving the other leg free (you can rest it on the frame), and pedal for a 20 to 30 seconds in an easy gear. Then, change legs and repeat. Start with five repetitions for each side and increase the number as you adapt.
It can be a rather uncomfortable exercise at the beginning, mainly because so many dead spots are generated. And that highlights our task: trying to avoid them. If it’s too complicated or uncomfortable at first (or if you don’t have a smart trainer), you can perform the exercise with both feet clipped into the pedals. You simply have to try not to use one leg, and focus on the other leg doing all the work. Practice for about five minutes (changing legs every five pedal strokes).
This involves a session with several intervals at a certain cadence. For example: starting from our normal pedaling cadence, change to an easier gear and pedal for five minutes at a higher cadence (between 90 and 120 rpm). Then return to your normal cadence.
You can also take advantage of the power data that BKOOL shows you and try to maintain watts when pedaling at higher cadences. This is also a good trick to give your muscles a rest.
But remember, make sure you don’t bounce off the saddle. If you can’t, change gears and find one where your pedaling can be more efficient.
Now you can start improving your cycling cadence by training on a smart trainer.