Bouncing, what is that exactly?

Does bouncing on the saddle start when it is anything else than a butter-smooth performance of Z1 ride? Or is the bouncing only when your bottom leaves the saddle? Or something in between?

I’ve just finished Cadence Builds and Holds and I wonder if I did it right.
I could do very smooth holds at 110-115 rpm but it didn’t put any stress on me, my RPE and HR were way lower than expected. I could do 120-145 rpm, relaxing my body (except abs), yet still having some small vertical oscillations of the upper body. My RPE and HR were matching designated zones then so it looked good yet I wonder if that small oscillations voided the main goal of the holds?

Hard to tell exactly without seeing but when I do it I try to get my cadence up as high as possible without any vertical movement at all. I would consider “bouncing on the saddle” as any vertical movement as the goal is to get as smooth as possible with no other bodily movement. Don’t feel you have wasted a session as it is all beneficial and a learning curve and when I started indoor cycling 80rpm was too high for me and now I can manage about 120 before it all goes to pot. the idea is just fast cadence so the fact that you keep the other metrics in check and on the lower side is correct


Thank you! So smooth as possible it is, no vert movement at all.
That is what I expected but it is better to have a confirmation. One day I will get it smooth at high speed :wink:
I don’t care much about high speed (cadence) per se as I am an mtber but I appreciate those drills as they learn my fibres to cooperate instead of working one against another.


Yes it matters - less efficient. Tldr - need to practice to improve. You will get better, it just takes time. You also get more efficient during a session as your neural pathways settle down


Efficiency, to me, is less important than the neuromuscular improvements.

I will never cycle at 105+ rpm in any real life situation. While I try not to bounce in the saddle during a workout such as Cadence Builds (which i did yesterday), the issue for me is the relationship between good form and NM improvements.

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@Heretic Don’t discount the growling dog that comes chasing after you during your ride with no owner in sight. That happened to me on a rural road in Vermont - glad I did my cadence builds!


So let me rephrase my statement. I will never have to pedal efficiently at 105+ rpm.

The times that I have had to avoid such a dog, its angle of attack was such that my bike handling skills were much more important than my cadence. All you really have to do is ride out of the perimeter they view as their area to be protected.

For the record - here are the fastest/slowest dog speeds - you think you can out ride some of them? There is no guarantee that your nemesis will be a Shih Tzu.


@Heretic Great website and very interesting! I don’t know the breed that I encountered but it was big and seemed to think the entire road was its territory.


Bouncing is a natural occurrence. Your mass on the bike along with elasticity in the system creates a under-damped resonant system. If the driving force of pedaling is of the same frequency, bouncing will occur. By minimizing the driving force with good pedaling technique and controlling its phase relative to the bouncing, you can greatly reduce bouncing.

FWIW, in certain situations either in group or solo road rides, I will find myself naturally pedaling around 100-110 rpm.

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I can’t help but visualise you launching an EPIC bunnyhop (on a road bike) over said hound.


It was not caused by a hound, but I did my very first bunny hop ever to avoid a car that did not see me when it cut through a traffic circle/roundabout.

I always relate that incident to people to explain why I feel much safer clipped in when riding.


Couldn’t agree more!

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@macnuts Great to see you completing some of our skill based workouts and that they have been hugely beneficial. Cadence is a skill that takes practice and we get better over time. You can break down the technique into two main parts.

First- Muscle recruitment. of your core (Abs, Back and Glutes) The core must remain strong, engaged and stable the entire time. Constant thought must be given to pulling your belly button towards your spine. The Glutes are your power source. Another key is to keep the back straight. Pressure on the glutes should remain to keep in contact with the saddle at all times.

Second- Application of positive torque.
Break down your cadence into 4 quadrants/phases- Focus on pushing forward across the top, pushing down on the down stroke, across the bottom stroke use the analogy of scrapping mud off your foot and on the up stroke pulling up. If you wait too long to pull back you will bounce in the saddle. Cadence is always about remaining smooth!

You may be someone who is relatively smooth through each phase of the pedal stroke, you may also be someone who largely pushes or pulls on the pedals. No matter what type of pedal stroke you possess the goal is to be as smooth as possible by reducing negative torque and pedaling in a complete circle.

Single leg pedaling drills can be extremely beneficial for identifying and remedying any quadrant weaknesses. It really comes down to practice and over time you will be able to increase the speed of your cadence. Your goal is to always pedal in circles with no dead spaces while eliminating the negative torque.

Happy Training!


Coach: I wonder if “pulling your belly button towards your spine” is what one should really focus on. When I ride (or lift), I focus on bracing my core for stability. That feels a lot more like pushing out my waistband all around. Bracing my core engages a lot more muscle than just pulling my belly button back and provides a lot more stability. In fact, after my trainer taught me the difference, I stopped hurting my back all the time and also became a stronger rider almost immediately. In my research on the topic, it seems like the belly button thing is an old idea that either was never quite right or that was inappropriately extended from a single instance where it was helpful to represent “bracing the core”—which is really a wholly different thing.

So I wonder if that’s really what you mean and if I’m missing something.

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