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Thread: Truth About Indoor Cycling Cadence

  1. #12
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    EuroD has a good point. It's all about skill. If someone can handle that leg speed without bouncing, it usually is ok, but it's also important to remember that once you start getting over 110rpm, they would be better off a bit slower with a higher gear/resistance. Depends on the goals of the class too. If it's a specifically leg-speed profile, like intervals at 100, 105, 110, and 115 rpm, then that's your objective - a neuromuscular focus. But if they're just pedaling along at 115 or 120rpm in an endurance-based workout, one would think they might like a higher power output at a lower cadence = more calories burned.

  2. #13
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    Jennifer, i think the Spinning Program reduce max RPM from 120 to 110 many years ago, i think a a good idea. If the students have problems with cycling 110RPM there´s no problem to reduce cadence. In my eyes the less resistance is the main problem and not the maximum rpm. The reality is that a lot of students don´t have enough basic endurance to cycle with enough resistance.....no matter slow or fast!

  3. #14

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    Totally agree!

  4. #15
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    Given the following:

    1) Optimal cadence increases with power output to minimize muscular fatigue. (We don't choose cadence to minimize O2 consumption, otherwise we'd all be choosing cadences closer to 60 rpm rather than 90 rpm.)

    2) Only stress along the force velocity curve can provide adaptive overload to targeted muscle fibers (not well below the curve like a low power - high cadence effort provides).

    3) High cadences at low power (low force) is not specific to how a rider would ever ride with proper gear choices available.

    The only high cadence training that makes any sense at all is at power levels approaching your all out max (true sprint training). Neuomuscular training is not about pedaling fast, it's about pedaling fast against maximal load (for that specific cadence or muscle shortening velocity). Your butt aint bouncing in the saddle at maximal power levels no matter how fast you're turning the pedals because by definition the only way you can put that kind of power to the pedals is with a strong downstroke. With a strong downstroke, unweighting the upstroke comes naturally. It's at low force - high cadence that you're not applying force on the downstroke. When you miss the downstroke the force is misapplied to the upstroke and the whole bouncing mess starts. (The cycling equivalent of the overstriding that occurs when you run as fast as possible down a hill.)

    Use running as an analogy. Neuromuscular training is sprinting - not running in place moving your feet as fast as possible. Spinning the pedals as fast as possible against little or no resistance is the cycling equivalent of running in place with super quick steps.

    Once you discard the false premise that pedaling smoothly at fast cadence is about skill and not the result of appropriately chosen cadence-gear-power combinations you can look at things from their proper biomechanical and physiological perspective. Saying the reason you can't pedal fast against light resistance is because you lack "skill" is like saying the reason you will eventually fall on your face when you take off sprinting down a steep hill is because you lack "skill".
    Last edited by Todd S; 02-29-2012 at 02:40 PM.

  5. #16

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    Todd S amazing effective explanation / example ! ...the title must be changed in the "Scientific truth about IC cadence".


    "Neuomuscular training is not about pedaling fast, it's about pedaling fast against maximal load (for that specific cadence or muscle shortening velocity)."


    Sometime I propose this kind of work in my classes:
    In very high intense peak of 15-25 seconds:
    Increase load, mantaining cadence costant. (non applicable without skilled partecipants, ...the workload is always too low, and it doesn't reach the scope in a short interval time)
    Increase cadence, mantaining load costant. (may be the most common easier way to execute)
    Increase both cadence and load (lightning in a few second).


    But sometime I ask myself: how many do it properly, ..and how many participants, in IC classes, has benefit to do it. (very big stress).

    Ciao Matteo

  6. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by matteobma View Post
    Todd S amazing effective explanation / example ! ...the title must be changed in the "Scientific truth about IC cadence".


    "Neuomuscular training is not about pedaling fast, it's about pedaling fast against maximal load (for that specific cadence or muscle shortening velocity)."


    Sometime I propose this kind of work in my classes:
    In very high intense peak of 15-25 seconds:
    Increase load, mantaining cadence costant. (non applicable without skilled partecipants, ...the workload is always too low, and it doesn't reach the scope in a short interval time)
    Increase cadence, mantaining load costant. (may be the most common easier way to execute)
    Increase both cadence and load (lightning in a few second).


    But sometime I ask myself: how many do it properly, ..and how many participants, in IC classes, has benefit to do it. (very big stress).

    Ciao Matteo
    Problem is, true sprint training has questionable value and safety in a spin class on bikes that don't freewheel.

  7. #18
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    Something else to consider if you're still convinced that smooth, high cadence pedaling is a "skill"...

    Next time you try a spin up to high cadence on a fixed gear spinning bike, notice how you don't 'lose it' and start to bounce until you reach the point where you're no longer accelerating or gaining speed. Acceleration stops when you reach the point where the pedals are going so fast that you're no longer able to apply positive force on the downstroke. With light resistance, meaningful power at the pedals is still required to accelerate the flywheel. When speed tops out, it's because you're no longer able to apply meaningful power due to the speed of the pedals, and that's when you'll start to bounce. As long as you're still accelerating you pedal stroke will appear to be smooth.

    Next time you see someone bouncing along in the saddle at 120 rpm, ask them to quickly accelerate and pedal as fast as they can. You will notice as they speed up that the bouncing stops. Bouncing will resume when their speed tops out.

  8. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Todd S View Post
    Something else to consider if you're still convinced that smooth, high cadence pedaling is a "skill"...

    Next time you try a spin up to high cadence on a fixed gear spinning bike, notice how you don't 'lose it' and start to bounce until you reach the point where you're no longer accelerating or gaining speed. Acceleration stops when you reach the point where the pedals are going so fast that you're no longer able to apply positive force on the downstroke. With light resistance, meaningful power at the pedals is still required to accelerate the flywheel. When speed tops out, it's because you're no longer able to apply meaningful power due to the speed of the pedals, and that's when you'll start to bounce. As long as you're still accelerating you pedal stroke will appear to be smooth.

    Next time you see someone bouncing along in the saddle at 120 rpm, ask them to quickly accelerate and pedal as fast as they can. You will notice as they speed up that the bouncing stops. Bouncing will resume when their speed tops out.
    Todd... You rock buddy! I have always enjoyed everything you put out there. It's not often you find someone who understands both worlds of cycling (indoor & out), and how they do and don't work together. You close to LA? If so, your should come to IHRSA...
    Josh Taylor

  9. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pro View Post
    It's not often you find someone who understands both worlds of cycling (indoor & out), and how they do and don't work together.
    Well, you start with someone who's into sports and cycling. Send him to engineering school so he lives stuff like statics, dynamics, and kinematics. Throw in a career in biotech so he's forced to understand science. Add a little obsessiveness and compulsiveness. And that's what you get.

  10. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pro View Post
    You close to LA? If so, your should come to IHRSA...
    I live in Ventura County and work in the San Fernando valley. I only go into LA when somebody makes me.

    Can you get me in for free?

  11. #22

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    Thanks Todd for the link to this study (you have linked it in another thread):

    http://journals.lww.com/acsm-msse/Ab..._cycle.15.aspx


    This graph (see attached) has provided me more scientific evidences about power and cadence relationship.

    As the author has commented: "The cadence at which peak power is achieved (with each level of activation) is progressively higher with progressive increases in isometric force and maximal velocity."
    In the attached picture, I have marked in red the range of cadences for each power curve and It's curious, that each peak power is achieved (@ each level of activation) in range around of 48-98 rpm. So talking of effectiveness, it make sense (even if it's a little impressive the curve 500 watts @ 98 rpm).

    Moving away from the optimal cadence, there is greater O2 consumption, and lower power output.

    I think that I will set them more free, about cadence, in my classes.

    Ciao Matteo
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