Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Cadence & Cycling

First off, I want to apologize for not publishing the article I had promised a few of you about 5 Tips to Conquer the Swim I assure you that it will be on the blog soon; there are a couple videos that I hope to include and I am having some difficulty in finding.

I wrote a workout for an athlete of mine and had specified that I wanted her to ride at a " high cadence. " I didn't go into any further details-oops! I got a call from her, as she is a very dedicated and thorough athlete, and realized that I had not specified what I meant by " high cadence." In saying this, I want to give a brief history of where the sport of cycling (and triathlon) has come over the past 20 years, and then give you a link to an article written by a cycling-specific coach, who gives a great deal of verbiage, and might I say -great information, on the topic of cadence and cycling. I have also included research associated with this topic.

Over the past 20 or so years the cycling community and it's currators have altered their views on the cadence at which a rider should pedal to gain maximum power and efficiency. This change has occurred mostly in part to the scientific research that physiologists have been able to conduct with new technologies and procedures, not available to physiologists decades ago. Several studies including those reported by the European Journal of Applied Physiology and The International Journal of Sport Medicine. Studies have found that for most athletes, maintenance of a slightly higher cadence (95-105 rpm) will yield greater overall returns in power over the duration of an endurance workout, with less overall muscle fatigue to the muscles utilized.

Although these studies are not applicable to all athletes, taking into consideration different physiques, length of legs, body mass index and other factors, this trend can be seen in the likes of Lance Armstrong, and many elite triathletes competing at the World Cup level. Be sure to talk with your coach or trainer about changes you are making to your technique in any discipline. Happy spinning, and hope to see you on the road soon!
-Coach K

Coach Levi article
Cadence on Cycling Time-Trial Performance. By: Watson, G.; Swensen, T.. International Journal of Sports Medicine, Apr2006, Vol. 27 Issue 4, p296-300, 5p, 1 chart; (AN 34610365)