Pedalling Technique Training Sessions

Training Guide > Cycling Tests > Pedalling Technique Test > Pedalling Technique Training Sessions

There are many opportunities within the training plans to practice effective pedalling technique. Whilst you should always think and practice pedalling technique the low intensity (Z1 and Z2 and even into Z3) Wattbike sessions can be changed to pedalling technique sessions.

For example:

From training plan 1 – 20’ Z1 FoP (focus on pedalling) can be split into 5 x 4’, 2’ rest between intervals, cadence increasing for each interval.

Interval 1 at 70 cadence raising the cadence by 5 pedal revolutions for each subsequent interval – 70, 75, 80, 85, 90.

Depending on your maximum minute power higher cadence pedalling technique sessions are possible.

For example:

From training plan 5 – 30’ Z1 for a cyclist, with a maximum minute power of 400 W the session could be split 6 x 5’, 2’rest between intervals, cadence increasing for each interval – there is more flexibility in the resistance setting although all pedalling technique sessions should start at resistance level 1 on a Wattbike Pro.

Once the technique has been mastered at resistance level 1, the session can be repeated at higher settings.

In this example interval 1 could be at 85 cadence with subsequent intervals at 90, 95, 100, 105, 110 – at 110 cadence on resistance setting 1 this cyclist would be producing 240 W i.e. 60% of maximum minute power of 400 so just into their Z3 heart rate and power training zone.

The overriding consideration is to be able to produce a consistent shape with good balance (close to 50/50 and with an equal angle of peak force in each leg) at all appropriate cadence levels and resistance settings in each training zone.

Intervals can be shorter, if just beginning or longer if you are more experienced.

The key to getting an effective pedalling technique is usually in the ‘scrape back’ i.e. imagine ‘scrapping mud off the sole of the foot’ at the bottom of the pedal stroke to ensure a smooth continuous pedalling action.

Triathlete James Fletcher talking about how he uses the Wattbike to develop his pedalling technique

The Polar graphs below show a real pedalling technique session by a triathlete at resistance setting 4, 3 x 7’, 2 rest between intervals at 85, 90 and 95 cadence (power 195 W, 230 W and 265 W). Note the similarity of shape and angle of peak force at each cadence level.

Examples of pedalling technique at different resistance settings and cadence levels are shown below – these are taken from an elite cyclist undertaking a step test. Note at lower powers (up to 250 W) the difficulty in maintaining the exact power output – although the overall shape is maintained.

Setting 4, Cadence 85, Power Average 195W

setting 4 cadence 85 polar graph

Setting 4, Cadence 90, Power Average 230W

setting 4 cadence 90 polar graph

Setting 4, Cadence 95, Power Average 265W

setting 4 cadence 95 polar graph

At the higher power levels 350 upwards the rider was more comfortable with the resistance level and cadence and even when standing up on the pedals was able to maintain a consistent shape, angle of peak force and cadence.

Setting 2, 74 cadence, power 100 W

setting 2 cadence 74 polar graph

Setting 3, 79 cadence, power 140 W

setting 3 cadence 79 polar graph

Setting 4, 84 cadence, power 200 W

setting 4 cadence 84 polar graph

Setting 6, 84 cadence, power 250 W

setting 6 cadence 84 polar graph

Setting 7, 87 cadence, power 300 W (seated and standing)

setting 7 cadence 87 polar graph

Setting 9, 88 cadence, power 350 W (seated and standing)

setting 9 cadence 88 polar graph

Setting 10, 90 cadence, power 400 W

setting 10 cadence 90 polar graph

Setting 10, 144 cadence, power 1500 W Performed by a World Class Sprinter

setting 10 cadence 144 polar graph

Pedalling Technique - What the Polar View Shapes Mean