Coach Tip Tuesday: Care About Cadence

Posted On:
Tuesday, August 22, 2017
Updated On:
Tuesday, July 18, 2023
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From the glorious asphalt oasis of Interstate 81 I'm here to bring you this week's Coach Tip Tuesday!!

Today we're talking about cadence. It technically applies to swimming, biking, and running, but we're just going to discuss how it pertains to cycling today. A cadence sensor is one of the very few pieces of gear I recommend for all athletes, no matter what their goals are. Stay tuned to learn how you can use it to your advantage.

When athletes are new to cycling, they rarely consider their cadence. The fact is that people are either inherently spinners or mashers by nature. In my experience coaching, athletes tend to think that they are doing “better” if they feel like they are working “hard”, which usually means that they're mashing their gears at a low cadence. While there is a time and a place for lower cadence work (strength/power workouts, some hill climbing), the fact is that most cyclists will operate more efficiently if they learn to spin at a higher cadence. It keeps the muscles from getting too fatigued and from building up too many waste products too soon. For triathletes, it has the added bonus of keeping their legs fresher for the run.

Switching from being a masher is not something that happens overnight. Just because someone sets a higher cadence goal doesn't mean that they will immediately be able to hit that target. Furthermore, a mental shift usually needs to take place where the athlete transitions from thinking that pushing a hard gear all the time is the very best thing. More is not better, friends. Better is better. Sometimes it takes a season or two to really be able to ride at a higher cadence consistently across the board. Start small, and start where you are. You'll see the fruits of your effort incrementally over time in objective data and you'll likely feel better too.

Questions, comments, or concerns?? Hit me up here or shoot me an email. :)


Coach Laura Henry

Laura Henry is a Syracuse, NY-based coach who is a USA Triathlon Level II Long Course and Level II Paratriathlon Certified Coach, USA Cycling Level 2 Certified Coach, VFS Certified Bike Fitter, and has successfully completed NASM's Certified Personal Trainer course. Coach Laura is passionate about helping athletes of all ability levels reach their goals and has coached many athletes to success.

She can be reached at

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