Cadence and age

Does the ability to achieve a high cadence decrease with age? I have trouble maintaining the 95+ sections in ‘The Chores’ for instance. Do the Full Frontal results reflect cadence targets? I’m 78.

Well I WAS going to say that im getting up there, and can sustain higher cadences, but I bow to your seniority @Drumalief1.

Kidding aside, sure. Since higher cadences place a heavier load on your cardio system vice muscular, and max sustainable HR declines w age, you could certainly hit a ceiling in your HR which would be a limiter on sustaining cadence.

That said, all of that can be trained to an extent. Your age limits your HR ceiling, but you can train up your VO2 and threshold to get more out of the engine you have.

1 Like

I’ll be interested to hear what the coaches have to say about this. I’m curious to know if there is some decline in our fast-twitch/neuromuscular coordination as we age. Also whether there is any impact from age-related joint deterioration.

One thing I find when I do the cadence build workouts is that I definitely warm up into the high cadence. In the first cadence build, I struggle to reach 120 rpm, but by the last one, I’m able to exceed 150 rpm. The exact numbers don’t matter, but the change within the session is significant, I think.

I don’t think Full Frontal results has any effect on cadence targets. The cadence targets are separately set to any power targets. It would be a good feature to have an adjustment value in the SYSTM settings that you could add or subtract from the built in workout cadence targets. For example, if the workout is aiming for 100 rpm, and you have -10 set as your adjustment, the actual target you see in the workout would be 90 rpm. That would allow for people who want/need to consistently spin faster or slower than the normal targets.

1 Like

I don’t know in general, but I can maintain much higher cadence than my son, and he’s a much stronger rider than I am in all other ways. I’m 57; he’s 32.

There is a decline in your neuromuscular coordination as you age. The question is how much can training compensate for it. I have read in several places that training can help fight that decline. I am in my late 60s, and cadence drills have improved my ability to reach higher cadence.


Many thanks. you give me hope!

1 Like

Many thanks for that, Wayne. There is good scientific evidence of a decline in neuromuscular coordination with age but most research revolves around old people falling over. Interesting point you make about joint changes. I hadn’t thought of that. Both you and Heretic seem to say you found cadence build workouts beneficial, so, I’ll give them a try. Mind you, maybe I am getting old and it’s time for an e-bike!


You’re 78 years old, posting to a forum of people who enjoy torturing themselves on their bikes in caves…I don’t think you’re ready to hang it up yet, @Drumalief1. :wink:

And absolutely cadence drills and other NM practice will improve your ability to crank at speed - I would think at any age!


In my experience, the effects of aging vary a lot between individuals and get much greater the older you get. In my case, I’ve found my cadence has increased as I’ve gotten older. At 69, my average and peak cadences are as high as they’ve ever been, though the net result in terms FTP and performance is certainly declining. That said, I have no idea what my health and fitness will be like at 78, if I even make it to that age. For now, I figure I’ll just keep training as I am, including cadence drills. During non training rides, given the training, my bod will gravitate to the cadence that works the best for me in a given situation.


I can add some data for my 79 year old father, who started back into cycling last March after a 30+ year respite.

It is interesting to see that his average cadence has gone from the mid-70s to 90s in the course of a year of steady riding


Great stats, Rob. Get him on Strava/Zwift we gotta have a head to head! Bill

1 Like

He is on both, and I expect would be happy to connect with you (send me a private message if you want me to pass on your user names to him). He primarily does open rides on Zwift, and has been increasing his time and hill climbing capabilities this past year. He did one 4-week FTP building block last year, with the remainder unstructured. I think he is getting close to the point where we can push him into structured training. My big sister @Cheryl.Vasan and I think he should suffer properly in due course!

1 Like