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The Steady Bike Workout Explained

Taren Gesell

In this article, we'll explain everything you need to know about the Steady Bike workout in the MOTTIV training app. The Steady Bike workout adds a small training effect to your routine without putting your body through a high-stress workout that could lead to overtraining. 

The purpose of the Steady Bike workout is to help you continue to improve your performance while also giving your body the opportunity to recover. 

In this article, we'll cover everything from the basics of the Steady Bike workout to tips on how to get the most out of your workout. So, let's dive in and explore the benefits of the Steady Bike workout!

In this article, you will learn:

  • What is the MOTTIV Steady Bike workout
  • What is the purpose of the steady bike workout
  • Why do you need to do a steady bike ride instead of another interval workout
  • What training methods are used in the steady bike ride
  • What power should be used in the steady bike ride
  • What day should you schedule the steady bike ride
  • Mistakes to avoid with the steady bike workout
The Steady Bike Workout Explained
MOTTIV athlete on a scenic bike ride

What is the MOTTIV Steady Bike Workout?

The MOTTIV Steady Bike workout is a training method specifically designed for busy triathletes, cyclists, and duathletes who need to balance training stress with real-life commitments. 

The Steady Bike workout has a moderately hard effort level and is just slightly challenging for most athletes. The workout uses cycling drills done at a tempo effort to create a much more well-rounded cyclist. The workouts include training methods that are important to develop but are often overlooked in other endurance-building and interval bike workouts.

By incorporating this workout into your training plan, you can train in a way that is effective and sustainable while achieving your goals and avoiding burnout or injury.

What Training Methods Are Used in the Steady Bike Workout?

The steady bike workout uses a range of training methods, each of which offers unique benefits and challenges. In this section, we'll take a closer look at the training methods used in the steady bike workout and explore the benefits of each.

Low cadence cycling

Low rpm intervals are one of the key training methods used in the steady bike workout. This technique involves pedaling at an RPM between 50-70 with power in Zone 3 or 4. 

There are several benefits to low cadence cycling:

  1. Benefit #1. High power, low heart rate: low cadence riding allows athletes to put out higher power while keeping their heart rate low. This means they can get an additional training effect without making it too stressful for their body, reducing the risk of overtraining.
  2. Benefit #2. Strength endurance: low cadence cycling builds strength endurance, allowing athletes to hold higher powers for longer periods of time without fatiguing as quickly. Finally, low-cadence cycling is important for race day, as athletes will naturally drop down to a lower cycling cadence in races when they shift or climb hills.
  3. Benefit #3. Performance improvements: Studies have been mixed on the performance benefits of low cadence cycling, but some studies show it has a better training effect than higher cadence cycling.

Low cadence cycling places a lot of torque on the tendons and ligaments, so athletes should start doing them at low power and gradually build up. Athletes should also not race, do endurance rides, or do intense intervals with low cadence because a self-selected cadence has been found to be the best for this.

Here is an example of a workout with low cadence intervals:

High Cadence Cycling

High cadence cycling is another training technique used in the steady bike workout. This involves pedaling at a cadence of 105rpm or more. We use this training technique infrequently; it tends to be uncomfortable for many people because it creates a lot of bouncing on the saddle. 

High cadence cycling occurs in races and training when you shift gears or go down a hill. It's much less frequent and doesn't last as long as low-cadence riding, so we don't focus on it much in training. But we do some high cadence intervals during the steady ride.

Here is an example of a workout from the MOTTIV app with high cadence intervals:

Single Leg Cycling Drills

Single leg cycling drills are a third technique employed in the steady bike workout. These drills involve unclipping one foot from the pedal and pedaling with one leg. Single leg cycling is designed to improve the pedal stroke by forcing you to pedal in a circular motion and pull up on the pedal. 

It may seem like a gimmick, but some studies show it's an effective training technique. We use single leg cycling drills a small amount during the base building season because we want to focus on more intense intervals once your race season starts.

Tempo Bike Intervals

Finally, tempo-based cycling intervals are longer intervals of 5-60 minutes long at Zone 3 and 4 efforts. We use these intervals during the steady ride to add a small amount of training stress. 

By training at these efforts, cyclists can improve their aerobic endurance and increase their lactate threshold. Additionally, tempo intervals help prepare cyclists for longer, sustained efforts like climbs, breakaways, and time trials.

Here is an example of a workout with tempo-based intervals:  

What Day Should You Schedule The Steady Bike Workout

Athletes using our app are given their training schedule by inputting their race dates and the approximate hours they can work out each week. We provide suggested weekly workout schedules that athletes can customize as needed. We recommend Monday as the day that athletes perform the Steady Bike workout.

We choose Monday for the steady bike workout because it's a lighter intensity workout that allows the body to recover from the weekend's training. Additionally, the steady bike workout incorporates a lot of low-cadence cycling, which is much easier to do on tired legs than faster intervals with quick leg turnover. 

By doing this workout on Monday, athletes can let their bodies recover a little from the weekend and get ready for more intense training during the middle of the week.

The steady bike workout is the third most important bike workout to fit into your weekly training schedule. Before adding it to your plan, make sure you have time to regularly complete the main bike and intense bike workouts.

Here is an example of a training schedule we recommend for half-IRONMAN 70.3 triathletes who want to finish their race well but not spend huge amounts of time training.

What Power Effort Should Steady Bike Intervals Be Done At?

The steady bike workout focuses on tempo effort cycling intervals that are moderately difficult, typically in Zone 3 and 4. 

One of the benefits of low cadence cycling in Zone 3 is that athletes can often maintain a heart rate in Zone 2. This is important because it allows for a higher power output, which in turn helps to improve endurance and strength. At the same time, the lower heart rate means that the workout is less stressful on the body, reducing the risk of overtraining or injury.


The steady bike workout is a valuable addition to any cyclist or triathlete's training program once they want to add a third bike workout to their weekly training schedule. 

By incorporating a variety of training techniques, such as low RPM, high cadence intervals, and single-leg cycling, athletes can improve their pedal stroke and build strength endurance, helping them perform better on race day. 

If you want to get a personalized triathlon training plan or cycling training plan, check out our app, that has training plans designed specifically for ordinary people who want to accomplish something extraordinary in endurance events.

You're ready to take on a big challenge, let's do it!

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Taren Gesell
Taren Gesell

"Triathlon Taren" Gesell is founder of MOTTIV and one of the world's top experts on helping adults become endurance athletes later in life. Best known for his YouTube channel and podcast, Taren is the author of the Triathlon Foundations series of books and has been published featured in endurance publications around the world.

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