Power v. Cadence

Just a quick question, similar to one I have seen, but a little different. My FTP of my 4DP is rather low, too many years in couchlandria, and when I am doing a recovery ride or a ride at which my FTP is set to a percentage of my normal FTP, there is no way for my to pedal at 90 rpm, there just isn’t a low enough gear. I am using a dumb trainer with power measured at the crank. Especially for recovery rides when I am riding at 70 rpm, I am still way above the power goal, but if I go to 90 rpm I am nearly double my power goal. Should I still ride at 70 rpm to keep my heart rate and percent FTP in check or should I ride at the suggested cadence and double my power output and risk not recovering like I am supposed to be? Thanks in advance for any advice!

From my personal experience on a dumb trainer I would suggest focusing on meeting the power targets for now. If you feel that you can sustain increased power while also increasing cadence to get closer to those targets then slowly start to do that.

Also make sure that to check tire pressure each time you ride and also reset the tension on the trainer to the correct amount per the manufacturer’s instructions. Also it is best not to leave tension on the tire when you are not using it.

I am now on a smart trainer but when I had a Fluid 2 (which I really liked) I did some calculations based on the power curve which I found online and the speed of my wheel based on gearing and cadence. I used bikecalc.com to calculate the speed of the wheel. I didn’t have a power meter but since you do you could do the same by just spinning in each gear combination at different cadences.

Also keep in mind that if this is the 1st time you took the 4DP it is more than likely that you may have tested below your capabilities - the test is brutal and it helps to go through it a few times to get your head around it to really get it dialed in. Also, my personal experience was that gains came fast when I started SUF so you may outgrow the cadence issue at some point - except perhaps for recovery rides.

Hope that helps and best of luck to you!

For a recovery ride it is very important to stay at or below the target power, otherwise you will cause fatigue instead of active recovery. Cadence is less critical but ideally you do want to be spinning, hence the 90 rpm target.

If there is no way you can reduce the resistance on your trainer then you will have to compromise with a lower cadence to stay within the power target.

1 Like

It doesn’t matter too much if you’re recovering

You may be better skipping the recovery ride rather than do a recovery ride badly. The last thing you want to do on a recovery ride is add fatigue which will come by either riding above the power target, or at a lower cadence which will add muscular fatigue.


If you lower the pressure in the tires it should reduce the amount of resistance the trainer will provide. Depending the kind of dumb trainer you may be able to make micro adjustments, manually, with the resistance.

With an old tacx flow you can move the resistance Futher away.