Lower cadance - more power?

A light bike doesn't replace good fitness.

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Geoff
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by Geoff

Can we all please Resolve not to speak of or refer to the 'underwear' thread ever again? Please?

Brian1946
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by Brian1946

My understanding and experience is that cadence does make a significant impact on the physiological cost. There is a natural reflex (can't remember what it's called now!!) that identifies that the muscles drive the heart. So, a high cadence places the burden on the cardiovascular system resulting in high heart rates and laboured breathing. Low cadence pedalling and the resulting slower muscle contractions mean that the muscles bear a greater proportion of the burden. Slower muscle contractions result in slower heart rates.

There's a quote from a book on the subject which to paraphrase goes like... 'two riders, one high pedalling rate, one slow. As the pace quickens the first rider will fall back due to shortness of breath, the second rider will fall back due to muscular fatigue'. Or something like that (apologies to the author).

As for higher power with lower cadence, that's not the way Lance Armstrong won 7 tours.

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devinci
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by devinci

I am really on the "choose the cadence that suits you" type of guy. Choose the cadence that feel the most comfortable for the effort you are doing.

We shouldnt fall in the PRO stuff debate, Cancellara spins quite fast in a TT, but Bert Grabsch won the TT WC by mashing his 58 T ring.

darkblue08
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by darkblue08

Second: "Do what feels best for you". Specially on climbs, people use very different gearing, although they might race at the same pace. Crank-arm is also a factor, the longer the arm the slower the cadence. I prefer high cadence uphill or with headwinds and low cadence downhill or with tailwinds.

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devinci
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by devinci

darkblue08 wrote:Second: "Do what feels best for you". Specially on climbs, people use very different gearing, although they might race at the same pace. Crank-arm is also a factor, the longer the arm the slower the cadence. I prefer high cadence uphill or with headwinds and low cadence downhill or with tailwinds.


funny you mention, I am the complete opposite, do you ride with a powermeter?

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Rick
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by Rick

Doing intervals tonight, and with my prior experiences and this thread in mind I was trying to notice specifically how power and cadence related.

I can definitely produce higher power in the up to about 4 minute range by using what FEELS like way to big a gear, pushing at about 65-75 RPM. 85-90 RPM is what feels most efficient, and what I would have thought was producing the highest power if I didn't have a power meter showing me that my feeling was wrong.

It is as if the pedals are falling away from my feet fast enough that I can't really maximize the force on the pedals at higher RPM.
At the lower RPM I feel like I am really bogging down and about to "crack". But if I just keep pushing at theedge without cracking, the power numbers are roughly 10% higher when the interval is done.

??
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darkblue08
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by darkblue08

@devinci

I bought a power meter last year. I tried it in the Pyrenees. I had lowest gearing of the group (compact with 11/28 cassette) except a couple who rode triple crankset. Me and the two guys with triple where in the top six of a group of forty.
I might be able to pull more power at low rpm, but never make it to the top. At high rpm I find it less fatiguing and easier to maintain speed and power.
In a sprint I dont reach my max speed and power output if I start in a gear to high. I reach the max speed if I top of at rpm 105 or more.

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Tinea Pedis
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by Tinea Pedis

I understood that (for climbing at least) at lower RPM's the power that can be generated is higher, however muscular torque is increased and therefore makes it less sustainable than for a higher RPM?

JV took this approach to Wiggins for '09, we all know how it went from there.

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Kermithimself
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by Kermithimself

It's quite an interesting debate. If doing a shorter prologue of maybe 3-5 km's, there should be good reason to mash a low cadance, as this will likely produce more watts resulting in a better time.
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darkblue08
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by darkblue08

Interesting to hear your prologue result.

Does any of you do low cadence intervals (strength / force intervals). Im planning to try it after reading Joel Friels blog.

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Tapeworm
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by Tapeworm

I'm yet to see any conclusive data that shows that strength endurance yields any meaningful results. It's been used for decades, however there are plenty of coaches which have no truck with it.

I'd be keen to look at any data/study if anyone has some.

Cadence, to the best of my research, is highly individual and self experimentation to work out what is optimal should yield the best results rather than maintain an "artificial" cadence.
"Physiology is all just propaganda and lies... all waiting to be disproven by the next study."
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HillRPete
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by HillRPete

Tapeworm wrote:I'd be keen to look at any data/study if anyone has some.

"High-Resistance Interval Training Improves 40-km Time-Trial Performance in Competitive Cyclists"
http://www.sportsci.org/jour/05/amt-m.htm

Personally, in my very simple training scheme of long/easy, medium and hard/interval sessions, I'm finding the low cadence workout just below anaerobic threshold a very good match for the "medium" efforts.

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Tapeworm
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by Tapeworm

Thanks Wasser, 40-80 RPM is something of range however, for some people 70RPM is their cruising RPM.

Definitely something to consider but the parameters and findings of the study are little loose to be very conclusive. Any more to add to the above?
"Physiology is all just propaganda and lies... all waiting to be disproven by the next study."
"I'm not a real doctor; But I am a real worm; I am an actual worm." - TMBG

HillRPete
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by HillRPete

Tapeworm wrote:Thanks Wasser, 40-80 RPM is something of range however, for some people 70RPM is their cruising RPM.

Definitely something to consider but the parameters and findings of the study are little loose to be very conclusive. Any more to add to the above?

Cheers Tape, glad I can give something back, I'm diligently following you in the Training sub-forum.

The whole idea for this workout came from some article I read, which said that Lance Armstrong, back in his day, did 15min hill climbs at the hardest gear he could push. So I started to play around with a similar scheme, and only much later came across the publication.

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Tapeworm
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by Tapeworm

Yes, I've heard many similar anecdotes and like I said, SE work has been done since the dawn of time. I know I've done it, usually because the fitness level doesn't seem to match the gearing when going up steep hills :oops:

The article adds some merit but, as mentioned, it is a questions of "how low do you need to go" to show a benefit?
"Physiology is all just propaganda and lies... all waiting to be disproven by the next study."
"I'm not a real doctor; But I am a real worm; I am an actual worm." - TMBG

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