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Improve Cycling Form With Cadence Drills and Pedal Mechanics

As race season is in full swing, you may have already done a handful of triathlons, time trials, and are perhaps fine-tuning for your "A" race.  Typically, refining cycling form and mechanics should be done in the spring, as you transition back to the road from indoor cycling. But, there's never a wrong time to dial in your cycling form.  Try these drills on the trainer to condition your muscles as well as improve your form and race pacing on the bike.

Cadence Drills

Slow cadence and grinding gears causes a tremendous amount of fatigue in the legs, and can be especially damaging if you have to come off the bike and run.  Working drills to improve and maintain a consistent cadence is really helpful and easy to do on the trainer.  

:15 high cadence / :45 easy pedaling    

Repeat short and very fast cadence sets.  These sets should be well over target cadence, likely over 100 rpms for very short durations.  Do 3-5 rounds at low watts, medium watts, and high watts (easy, medium, and hard gearing) to get warmed up and used to pedaling fast.

3 x 5:00 at 90rpm (3:00 rest interval)  

Use this set to get dialed in to your target race pace.  For five minutes, count cadence for :15 every minute.  Count one foot as it hits the bottom of the pedal stroke, target is to be 23/24 counts each time.  Alternate which foot you count each set.  Do one set at easy gearing, one at race pace effort, and one hard set to get locked into cadence.

Pedal Stroke Mechanics

Efficient pedaling is critical for good pacing, energy conservation, and transition runs.  Isolating single legs helps you to find dead spots in your pedal stroke and make the corrections needed to pedal more efficiently.  

:60 Left / :60 Both / :60 Right / :60 Both  

Try this 4 minute set to smooth out your pedal stroke.  While pedaling single leg, there should be no slack in the chain.  Use an easy gear to start to make sure you keep tension on the chain all the way around the circle.  As you get better, you can use harder gears and develop strength on this drill as well.  It should feel very comfortable with both feet in the pedals on the transition sets between drills.  Repeat 2-3 times throughout an hour workout to focus on technique at different levels of fatigue.