Substitute for Cadence Drills

When I do the Cadence Drills I get some pain in the back of the knee. If I do this regulary, the pain doesn’t go away after the training.

Stopped doing the Cadence Drills (as per doctors orders) and after a couple of weeks, the pain went away fully again. I did 1 cadence dril training last week and the pain was back.

This leads me to my question: what training would be a good substitute for Cadence Drills in the training plan?

Hi Tla,

Have you tried adjusting your shoes cleats and the fore & aft of the saddle,
I’ve had similar issue and brought my shoe cleats back a mil or two.

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I have my position nicely dialed in for outside and adopted this position on the Neobike.

I’m a little bit hesitant in changing this, since I ride trouble free outside, also on rides of +300km. I’ve had knee issues in the past (weak cartilage and short tendons) and wouldn’t like them coming back.

Are you using the same bicycle indoors and outside? It could be bicycle fit? It could be that your pedal stroke is different outside than inside?

I have a Neobike but it’s setup exactly the same as my outdoor bike (measured myself stupid when I got the Neobike :sweat_smile: )

Different pedal stroke is a possibilty, my cadence is higher indoors too. Outside always between 85 and 90, inside between 90 and 95.

Today I replaced the cadence session with “Hell Hath No Fury”, phew, I regretted that. The last few minutes of the second 20 minutes got really hard. The last, 3 minutes, interval I was hanging on for dear life. Only just made it. I’m still sweating, almost 2 hours after the session ended.

Hi Tla,

Your Neobike will have a different geometry from your road bike.
Fore, aft & hight of saddle will be different.
I would try raising or lowering the saddle by a mil or two, you can aways change it back.

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No it doesn’t. Saddle is in exact the same position in relation to the BB. After that I setup the handlebars, so they too are in the same position.
It’s amazing how much room you have to play with on the Neobike.

I’m really picky and sensitive about my position and changing that is really the last thing I’m thinking about. I’m so picky that I even have the same saddle indoors then on my outdoor bikes (Pro Stealth)

It took many years get the position dialed in, so I’m reluctant to change it. Best idea IMHO, is to just not do what causes the pain (the bad pain, I love the good pain :grin: )

I’m with you on that, (We all love the Good Pain)
“Sorry I can’t be of more help to you in this regard.”

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Can’t argue with that!

I guess there may be some minor difference in the Q factor between the Neobike and your road bike but you can’t do much about it and anyway it’s unlikely to be the cause. I wonder if it’s just the difference between how stationary your neobike is compared to an outdoor bike which is actually moving?

Not suggesting you try it, but it would be interesting to know if the problem occurs with your bike on a wheel-on trainer.


It’s either bike fit or a “weakness” that’s causing you problems at high cadence. A doctor is not going to solve your problem as you already discovered they aren’t interested in finding a solution a physical therapist or a professional bike fitter probably will.

When you have done Cadence Builds/Drills in the past, has the pain start during or right after the very first one? Or does it take a few drills before it’s noticeable? When you do those drills, what sort of cadence are you peaking out at, and are you hitting a cadence that causes you to bounce in the saddle?

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Pain started after 2 or 3 sessions.

I started bouncing at +130rpm and topped out at +150rpm, this is with the builds, to cadence holds top out 125-130rpm (no bouncing)

First off, I’ll make the disclaimer that I am not a doctor, and can’t for certain treat or diagnose any causal issues here. You should always listen to your doctors advice when it comes to health issues/injuries.
Given that you are experiencing pain after 2-3 builds, I would suggest doing a single build on each Cadence Drills session for several weeks. Or, doing 3-4 builds, but, the max should be the cadence you start to bounce. So if bouncing occurs at 130rpm, spend the 30sec building from 90-130 rpm.
If, at any point, you start to feel pain, or even a twinge, stop the effort and finish the rest of the ride at low/endurance effort.
I would also recommend checking the crank length and Q factor of your indoor setup. Even small differences in these two values between your normal outdoor bike can have a large impact on bike fit, and will be exacerbated by maximal cadence work.
There are no intervals that are beneficial if they physically injure you and inhibit your ability to train. That does not mean that you cannot build into those efforts. It means taking a slower approach to enable your body (tendons/ muscles/ ligaments) to adapt. If that means only completing one build each session, and spending the rest spinning easy, that is better than do nothing at all, and better than skipping those builds al together.
For now, take a dialed back approach to these sessions, and always stop thinking “I could have done a bit more” rather than “I’m stopping because it hurts”. If that means months and months of a single build or drill on these sessions that’s 100% okay.

Crank length is the samen (172.5mm), q-factor is hard to measure, according to Tacx it’s 147mm, that’s the same as Ultegra (according to Shimano).

I wil try your suggestions and hope my body can adapt.

Thank you for the insights.

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