How to do an easy cadence workout in 25 mins

In this GCN session, we go easy on you - choose which cadence you want to work and Manon will guide you through it. Focus on your pedalling while getting your sweat on!

Clock19:43, Thursday 4th April 2024

Join GCN's Manon Lloyd for this easy cadence workout that will improve your pedalling efficiency and aerobic fitness. Only reaching a maximum 7/10 intensity, this is a relatively easy aerobic workout in which you'll be able to choose your cadence, whether it be lower to improve leg strength or higher to boost pedalling efficiency.

What types of cyclists is cadence training good for?

If you want to work out on your exercise bike, but don't feel like completing a full-power sprint training session, this easy cadence training session is for you. The workout will boost your cardiovascular fitness, without pushing you too hard. Manon leads this session, but this is truly a choose-your-own adventure as we will let you choose your cadence at a few points.

Make sure to change gear or change the resistance on your bike to suit whichever cadence you’re riding in. If you’ve got a cadence sensor, following this session will be really easy. If not, just keep an eye on what Manon is doing and replicate as best you can – you’ll still be able to follow the training session even if you’re only estimating your cadence.

The benefits of cadence training for cyclists

Cadence drills may not be the best way to train if you are an experienced veteran cyclist, as this study suggests, but for most of us non-elite cyclists who ride to work and on the weekends, it's a great way to train when you aren't looking to push your body to the limits.

It's especially good for tackling varied gradients out on the road. By getting more comfortable pedalling at different speeds, you’ll make yourself a more developed cyclist, able to churn up steep climbs or spin down the hills. As the research paper from Frontiers in Physiology referenced above says:

"...adding training at same intensity (% of HRmax) and duration (90 min weekly) at freely chosen cadence seems beneficial for performance and physiological adaptations."

Riding at higher cadences can do wonders for your pedalling efficiency. High-cadence riding reveals any imperfections in your technique, which helps you to pedal smoother and use your energy more effectively. On the flip side, lower cadence drills are a great way to boost leg strength, which will come in handy when churning up leg-sapping inclines.

To learn more about perfecting your pedalling technique, read our guide to achieving pedalling perfection.

The benefits of aerobic training

During this cadence cycling workout, the effort will only top out at a relatively easy 7/10 effort. This is an aerobic effort level, whereby the body fuels the exercise using oxygen.

For cyclists, training in aerobic zones is essential for building a solid base of fitness. As we’ve learnt from our interview with Iñigo San Millán, coach of two-time Tour de France champion Tadej Pogačar, lower-intensity riding should form the vast majority of most cyclists’ training routines. It increases the efficiency of our metabolic systems, or more simply, it gives us a bigger engine, allowing us to ride harder without slipping into anaerobic conditions.

Indoor cycling workout details

  • GCN instructor: Manon Lloyd
  • Indoor workout duration: 25 minutes
  • Indoor training type: Cadence drills at an aerobic intensity
  • Fitness difficulty: This is a relatively easy workout that won't push you too hard
  • Benefits of this indoor cycling workout: Improving pedalling efficiency, leg strength (for low-cadence drills) and ability to ride at different cadences

From cadence drills to anaerobic sessions, check out GCN’s full library of indoor cycling workouts

'warm up' text on a red cycling background

Warm up gradually at 90rpm for 10 minutes

Warm up gradually at a cadence of about 90rpm. Start easy at a 2/10 effort, then ramp up the intensity for the first nine minutes until you're at 7/10.

Bring it back down to 3/10 for the last minute to get your breath back before we start the cadence drills.

'cadence' text overlay on red cycling-themed background

Begin the 12-minute aerobic cadence drills session

Now, we're onto the main session, and the focus is on cadence. Alternate between two-minute efforts riding at 7/10 at your chosen cadence, and one-minute at 3/10 for recovery .

Take turns alternating between high and low cadences during the three-minute efforts to get the maximum benefits.

'cool down' text overlay on red background of GCN's Manon

Finish off with a quick three-minute cool down

Now for the cool down. As this session is fairly low intensity, a short one will do. Ride for three minutes at 3/10, and you're done.

If you'd like to try something more challenging next time, give one of our HIIT sprint training workouts a go.

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