Workout of the Week: Cadence & Sprint

Improve pedal economy and build power with high-cadence riding.

Triathlete sprinting on his bike on a back road

Pedal economy is a highly undervalued aspect of cycling performance. The ability to turn needed leg muscles on and off during a pedal stroke can benefit cyclists in repeatability of efforts and power numbers in general. Unfortunately for many cyclists this area is largely ignored in their training. But this workout is an opportunity to work both high cadence pedaling and sprinting.

Many riders mash the pedals in low cadence while trying to put out power. While there are times this is necessary, in many cases a high cadence is more beneficial in terms of producing top-end sprint power in order to respond quickly and easily to speed changes on the road.

In addition, it is important to recognize that a large part of sprinting is the ability to shift while sprinting and sprint in an appropriate gear. During your 1-minute efforts, keep power below FTP. This will help to develop pedal economy as muscles are forced to relax quickly as the load is minimal. Immediately go into the sprint afterward, shifting as needed to accelerate.

Cadence work is applicable any time of year. Training specifically at high cadence allows the athlete to gain comfort and develop efficiency, but also to raise the average cadence of their riding. This workout does this while also providing practice sprinting at a high cadence which will likely produce high power numbers.

RELATED WORKOUT: Roller Under/Overs

Workout of the Week: Cadence & Sprint


15 min. easy riding

2-3 × 30 sec. builds in power
1 min. rest between efforts

5 min. easy spin

Main Set

6 sets:

1 min. @100-120 RPM
10 sec. sprint @120+ RPM

5 min. set rest


10-20 min. easy spin