New to training

I am new to cycling and indoor training. My max BPM is 190 and my FTP from Half Monty is 192. I’ve done the G.O.A.T. training session and the Santos Festival of Cycling 4. In both instances, I could not drop down to the suggested cadence and I was consistently below the suggested heart zone. Am I doing something wrong? Am I missing out if I don’t do the suggested cadence? Are the targets set properly? Lots of questions. So confused. Thanks!

Hi @Jeffrey

G.O.A.T is specifically targeted at low cadence intervals and can be tough if you are new to training. This is aimed at increasing muscular endurance and the cadence targets should be followed where possible to obtain the full benefit.

The HR zones are generally set in line with the power levels, but due to a lag between HR and power (i.e it can take a few minutes for your HR to increase when you apply more power and decrease when you drop power), your HR and zones may not always match. Also, lower cadence efforts tend to give a lower HR as they put less strain on your aerobic system.

It may be worth looking at the 6 week Fitness Kickstarter plan which will give you a good introduction into a variety of workouts.


When you say you could not drop down to the suggested cadence, do you mean you didn’t have the strength to turn the pedals? As has been said a lower cadence will mean a lower HR but will tire out your legs more quickly. Often on sessions I do it says I should be in zone 1 when I have crept into zone 2 and more often than not I may still be in Zone 2 when the suggestion is Zone 3. I don’t worry too much about that but concentrate more on the power and cadence targets. Do you have a power meter on your trainer as that will give you an idea if you are hitting the power targets for the sessions and if you are at a higher cadence than suggested you may just need to do some leg strengthening workouts to help you deal with the low cadence work

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Thanks @Dafydd. I am just finishing the 14 day trial plan (although I quickly signed up as I’m totally addicted) and then have the all purpose plan next to get my FTP number up. I’ll take a look at the 6 week Fitness Kickstarter plan. My original post was a bit of a typo. I have been cycling outdoors for more than a year and a half but just got my indoor trainer (Kickr Core) last month.


Thanks @ozmadman. It was not a strength issue. No matter how much I tried to slow down my cadence, I could not get it down to the suggested level. I read that in ERG mode there is no need to shift gears since the trainer adjusts for power. I just finished the Hobart City video and had the problem on the other end. Nicole threw in three high cadence intervals into the recovery ride. The steps took me up to 160 rpm but the highest I could attain was 145 as I just spun and spun. I tried shifting gears to see if that would help but it did not (the interval was 30 seconds so may be a delay issue). My trainer is the Kickr Core. There is a power meter on it (SYSTM shows me power from the trainer so assume this is the case.) I am in ERG mode so power levels are hit.

@Jeffrey What gearing is on your bike? Generally I am in 39 / 14 or 15 when in ERG mode and it works for both low cadence work at 50 to 60 rpm’s and high cadence work - up to 175. Cadence work takes a bit of practice and is great to incorporate on a routine basis and you will probably see it in your plans fairly frequently. The low cadence stuff is about leg strength and keeping your core tight and upper body still and high cadence is more about getting muscles to fire quickly.


Thanks @JSampson. New to all this but I have been in 34/22 when in ERG mode. Suggestions?

Changing gears in ERG mode will have no affect, hence why ERG mode sets the power according to your tested/inputted power numbers.

Changing gears only has an effect when using Level/Slope mode, as in, the power is not controlled by the platform/trainer, but by yourself.

Likely if you are spinning as you say, you are riding to lower numbers, riding above your capabilities. Either increase the power numbers or do either FF/HM for accurate power numbers.

Also, doing the Cadence Build drills will bring more light to your scenario.

But changing gears in ERG mode will not make the resistance easier/harder.

Well it will in some instances. All trainers have a floor resistance and a ceiling resistance. If @Jeffrey is doing his entire GOAT workout in his easiest gear, and judging by his FTP, his GOAT target power will be quite high, then his trainer’s max resistance may not be enough to meet that power target with him riding in too easy a gear at that low cadence.

@Jeffrey try riding in the big chain ring and middle of your cassette to see if that helps the resistance come up enough so you can drop your cadence and hit that power target. I typically ride in my easiest gear (smallest chain ring, biggest cassette cog) most of the time, but as soon as there is either a low cadence high power interval like GOAT or a sprint interval like Revolver, then I hit the trainer’s resistance ceiling and have to change gears.

Same thing for recovery intervals. I can’t reach the low indicated power at my recovery cadence unless the bike is in a low enough gear (probably one of the bottom 4 or 5 gears).

This is why middle of cassette riding is good. Because it means you almost never have to change gears and just leave Erg mode to do it’s thing. But depending on your trainer, your bike gearing and your personal watt bomb range, sometimes you will need to shift gears a little for some kinds of intervals.


Thanks @DameLisa. I think your suggestion will do the trick. A YT video by Shane Miller demonstrated the impact gear choice had in ERG mode. I’ll give your recommendation a try for both the high and low cadence workouts. To date I’ve been on the small ring and middle of the cassette.


I am using Kickr2018, I cycle through my whole rear cassette and both chainrings to ensure even wear. I make the one gear change at the start of the next workout, so every workout is done/has been done in a different gear.

I do all types of workouts, drills etc and have never had the matter you describe with any of my workouts.

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Interesting. Might be your power range. My trainer (Tacx Flux) has a floor of 56 watts with a compact chain ring and a 28t cassette cog) and a ceiling of 2,500, but only if I load on a bike with a 53t chain ring and run it on a 10t cassette cog. 99% of the time I can ride all workouts in one gear, just about any gear really. My FTP is relatovely low, but I have a sprint that is well up there, so I need to change gears on ocassion to crack the high power high torque efforts at low cadence. The sprints I do it because unlike the gen 5 and earlier Kickrs, the Tacx has ramp up power, so I change gears to hit target power faster on short sharp sprint intervals. The trainer does get there in erg without changing gears, but I prefer to get there like NOW rather than in 5 seconds time.

P.s. just noting that while I do have a strong sprint, it wasn’t me that hit the over 2,000 watt sprint hahaha. That was a friend who is a pro e-racer on Zwift and a sprinter.


Thanks again @DameLisa

:point_up::point_up: Your trainer, your number! :laughing:

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Thanks @Dan I knew changing gears would not help but I was desperate! Did a HM last week so power numbers should match my capabilities (or lack thereof). :man_shrugging:t5:

Could you not pedal slower?

I have found that I am always below the HR target zone and have turned a blind eye to that metric, even removing that data field from the screen.

I have experienced HR recording anomalies in other disciplines so I am not fazed by that. Similarly, there can be a lag/delay in HR with regards to immediate effort underfoot.

I would focus on having the correct numbers via testing, ride in ERG without changing gears (you said you know that :+1:t2:) and stick to the cadence targets for your WOD’s.

Otherwise, send out a message to the minions for assistance if you continue to struggle.

Thanks @Dan. When I tried to pedal slower the flywheel was spinning too fast so I wasn’t engaged in the gear. I took @DameLisa advise (Thanks!) and shifted to the big chain link and stayed in the middle of the cassette while doing the Rue the Day workout this morning. I was much better at maintaining the cadence going up and down. Agree on HR, I’m not too concerned about meeting those targets. Just like to see at the end of the workout the time I spent in the zones.


Yeah the HR metric can be a pain and I’m usually below target too. Two reasons for it that I know of and I’m sure there are more:

  • HR lag. It takes a while to ramp up to match the effort you’re doing.
  • Low cadence intervals don’t tax the heart near as much as high cadence does for the same power output. So HR will often be low for low cadence intervals compared to the same power for a high cadence effort.

Dame Lisa’s advice will sometimes help, but in some of low cadence workouts, it is very common for the flywheel to spin a bit when you abruptly reduce cadence. Just wait for it to slow down. It won’t take long. As you get experience with your trainer, you’ll learn to start to slow your cadence slowly starting a bit ahead of the interval to avoid (or mostly avoid) the spinning issue. My own experience is that if I stay in my littlest gear (small ring, big cog) that the flywheel spins slower and power/cadence changes happen faster. Try that too.


Nice one @AkaPete the fly wheel definitely takes a wee while so the dropping cadence early is a good tip. I almost always ride in my easiest gear on the trainer to keep the fly wheel speed low. But it does mean hitting my trainer’s resistance ceiling more easily and having to change up a gear. Also worth pointing out I am a natural grinder, so when the target is 90, I’m usually riding at 80rpm, so I need to change up quicker than the average person I guess.


Thanks @AkaPete. As you suggested, i am getting used to my trainer and starting adjusting my cadence as i approached the intervals (not so much the recoveries). I will try the small ring, big cog approach too to see if that helps.

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