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Thread: Truth About Indoor Cycling Cadence

  1. #1

    Default Truth About Indoor Cycling Cadence

    Has anyone checked out Jennifer Sage (Funhog) new article on Active.com? The Truth About Indoor Cycling Cadence adds some good perspective to this on-going debate in the IC arena - what are good ranges to ride in/have your riders in?

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by iRideIndoors View Post
    Has anyone checked out Jennifer Sage (Funhog) new article on Active.com? The Truth About Indoor Cycling Cadence adds some good perspective to this on-going debate in the IC arena - what are good ranges to ride in/have your riders in?
    I agree with with this article. Being primarily an outdoor cyclist it really disturbes me to see instructors and students in some spin class I have attended spinning unnecassary high rpm and bouncing in the seat to do it. You could never get away with this outdoors and it is very inefficient and dangerous indoors with a flywheel providing inertia and inexperienced riders. From my perspective the upper limit of about 100rpm is more that enough to get the job done. Smoothness and form is much more important than super high rpms and will help protect people from injury!

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    I took a class the other day and the instructor was about to bounce right off the saddle at about 120 rpm's and then she hopped out of the saddle and kept the speed up to over 100 out of the saddle with her feet slamming in the bottom of each pedal stroke. Not sure which was more painful....her butt, her knees, or me having to watch.

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    When I start a class, or workout, one of the first things I do is set parameters on the top end of the rpms I allow in my class. I tell them, 'if I see you going super fast, bouncing around in your saddle, or going higher than X rpm's, I will come by and adjust the gearing for you.'

    I remind them of this throughout the class if it's a higher rpm set. And then I follow through.

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    Pedalling at High Cadences:
    Individuals pedal at high cadences thinking that their body is working harder and burning more calories. However, pedalling too fast or with too little resistance causes pedals to bottom out because the flywheel, not the individual, is in control. Injuries occur in and around the knees because the quadricep muscles are not engaging.The quadricep muscles contract to assist in keeping the patella (kneecap) tracking correctly. If the legs are moving without enough resistance the quadriceps will not contract to keep the patella tracking properly, leaving it vulnerable to injury. More resistance means more activation, increased muscle strength and endurance, equalling more caloric expenditure and less stress on joints and connective tissue. ~ C.O.R.E Cycling®

  6. #6

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    Cyclecycle, please don't adjust the gear/resistance for them. Tell them but don't touch their controls, that is a no no. If I was riding and an instr. came by & did that I would be furious. Explain to them that they need to put more resist. on, that they are not getting any good benefits by going that fast & bouncing in the saddle. It is a very touchy thing to change their resistance. If they are pedalling really fast & you slam on the resistance they could get hurt by the sudden slowdown.
    Knowledge is everything

  7. #7

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    Riding at that fast cadence is so bad for Hip, knees, back. I am not sure how people can do it and walk out of class without an injury!

  8. #8

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    I agree with Sue. All I can do is explain why riding at a high cadence is ineffective and potentially dangerous; I would never adjust someone's resistence. I talk about it a few times in class and will speak to someone individually, if necessary. Actually, I will tell them that they don't have to slow down much, but suggest that they add just enough resistence to get quiet in the saddle. In my experience, some people listen and others don't. There's not much more I can do.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by start View Post
    I agree with Sue. All I can do is explain why riding at a high cadence is ineffective and potentially dangerous; I would never adjust someone's resistance. I talk about it a few times in class and will speak to someone individually, if necessary. Actually, I will tell them that they don't have to slow down much, but suggest that they add just enough resistance to get quiet in the saddle. In my experience, some people listen and others don't. There's not much more I can do.
    I agree also. I have several people that continually spin their legs at an inordinate rate. This is on "hill" sections of the class as well. I've never gotten off the bike to admonish them to slow down, but will tell the entire class the benefits of slower cadence with slightly more resistance. Those that choose to follow my lead will have the most success. The others I just hope don't become injured during my sessions.

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    Sue, with all due respect, I wouldn't slam on the resistance someone is spinning fast. I guess I should have clarified so people don't assume anything. I think I've gotten off the bike once in my several years of teaching and walked over to a regular who was about to fly off their bike so I could quietly say, 'let's slow down and add some gearing.' then explain why.

    I also don't 'admonish' them in front of the whole class.
    Last edited by cyclecycle; 02-27-2012 at 07:54 PM.

  11. #11
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    Not everyone 'understands' what bouncing in the saddle means or even looks like, despite the fact that they are doing it.
    If I have new people in the class (even if it's 1 new person), I will first explain, and then show. If you need to turn your bike perpendicular to them, then do it, so your participants can see how ridiculous it looks. I exaggerate a little 'for effect', however, we actually do see participants nearly coming out the saddle because of the bounce. During the class, I will remind my riders, if we are simulating a flat road, that if the resistance feels light, then it usually is.

    As for cadence, there are participants who naturally turn the pedals at a higher cadence than others even with adequate resistance. I am one of those, and again, I tell my riders that I have a natural disposition to a higher cadence. If you have riders that look like they're in control, are not bouncing in the saddle and appear to have a higher cadence (remember this is your perception), then let them be.
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