Increasing Cadence

crossy

New Member
Location
devizes wilts
At the moment I can cycle comfortably at around 70 - 75 revs. I.ve found a training programme that recommends 95 - 100 revs. I'm finding it difficult to increase to this. The question I have are you stuck with your natural cadence or can you increase it. Is revs the right word?
 

Fab Foodie

hanging-on in quiet desperation ...
Hi
It's a good question and has been debated here often (do a search).
Everybody has a natural cadence, there is some recent evidence to suggest that pedaling at your natural cadence is probably best/most effective. It is possible to raise your cadence, some find it a benefit, others do not.
I guess it depends on your make-up.

I'm a bit of a slowish cadence rider and find around 80-85 rpm most comfortable. I've riden with club riders who spin faster than me and others that grind slower and they all go chuffing fast. I tried for years to spin along at higher rpm but failed to make quick cxhanges of pace in the chain-gang. When I went with a higher gear/lower rpm I found that I could more easily handle the change of speed, I guess my body does power better than rpms. I climb hills at the same pace but a higher gear than my pals.

Try it and see if it works for you, but don't be a slave to it if it doesn't work on the road!
 

lukesdad

Guest
Its a very good question, putting aside for one minute the pros and cons of spinning or grinding. Developing a high cadence is hard to do at higher speeds, simply because the natural tendency and lazyness if you like is, to shift up. Nothing wrong with this of course. When you first start out trying to use this technique it feels all wrong at higher speeds.

I learn t to do it mountain biking where at slower speeds it feels more natural. There are of course other benefits to it off road i.e. traction. Translating it to the road you really need to be using hills and lots of them one after the other if you can. I would imagine it would be quite difficult to develop it on the flat or a static trainer. It took me a full year for it to become a natural progression.
 
One of the reasons I train mostly on a single speed is to force myself to pedal at a higher cadence. I initially picked up some tips pedaling at a higher cadence during some V02 max training sessions a couple of years ago. Using a trainer you basically ride intervals of ever increasing levels of cadence over time. We started out riding 4 mins at a comfortable rate with 1 minute sprints of over a 100-110 rpm and after a couple months we had progressed to 3 mins at an easy pace and 2 mins sprinting at +130rpm. You can do the same on the road if you can find somewhere flat and where you won't have to stop for lights or junctions.

On the plus side I've found my pedaling action has smoothed out and I can now sprint from 15mph to 25mph very quickly without having to change gear.
 

steve52

I'm back! Yippeee
practice is the key i grind naturally have been trying to spin for ages, can now spin at 100/110 for an hour or more, i can peak at 160 45 mph (not for more than seconds) but am happyest at 85 , so where this is going to end who knows try it all and let me know lol
 

GrasB

Veteran
Location
Nr Cambridge
steve, it makes you into a flexible rider who can choose what riding style they use for any given situation. I like to spin but I also have the power to grind it out with the best of them, the result is that sometimes I just CBA changing down so power through to higher cadences, also on short rolling +/- 2-5% mounds I can just stay in one gear & get on with it.
 

redddraggon

Blondie
Location
North Wales
Concentrate on riding your bike, pedal hard at what you feel is the right cadence - don't bother with looking at any numbers, and your leg speed will naturally increase with training.
 

jimboalee

New Member
Location
Solihull
I'll share my experiences. May be worth testing yourself.

On the gym bike, I ride at 225 Watts absorption. I ride at 90 rpm for five minutes and my heart rate stabilises at 153 BPM.
Without altering the gym bike's settings, I reduce to 70 rpm and hold steady for another 5 minutes. My HR lowers to 144 BMP.

This throws the whole HRM calories counting 'out of the window' because the absorbed power remains the same ( 225 Watts ) but my HR is lower at lower cadence.

kCals/min is DIRECTLY relative to Watts. Heartrate isn't.
 
jimboalee said:
I'll share my experiences. May be worth testing yourself.

On the gym bike, I ride at 225 Watts absorption. I ride at 90 rpm for five minutes and my heart rate stabilises at 153 BPM.
Without altering the gym bike's settings, I reduce to 70 rpm and hold steady for another 5 minutes. My HR lowers to 144 BMP.

This throws the whole HRM calories counting 'out of the window' because the absorbed power remains the same ( 225 Watts ) but my HR is lower at lower cadence.

kCals/min is DIRECTLY relative to Watts. Heartrate isn't.

If you've changed none of the bike's settings how is the power output the same whether you cycling at 90rpm or 70rpm? Sounds like the wattage calculation done by the bike is dodgy.

But you're right that cadence is directly related to HR. Cycling at 20mph on the flat at 110rpm (low gear) is going to produce a higher HR than 20mph at 80rpm (high gear). And yes, pure heartrate is a poor reference to calculate an accurate kCals/min as there's little or no indication of effort (watts).
 

GrasB

Veteran
Location
Nr Cambridge
marzjennings said:
If you've changed none of the bike's settings how is the power output the same whether you cycling at 90rpm or 70rpm? Sounds like the wattage calculation done by the bike is dodgy.
In simplistic terms: power = torque * rpm
So if the the bike is giving resistance for 225w & the rpm drops you're simply applying more torque to the pedals.
 

jimboalee

New Member
Location
Solihull
marzjennings said:
If you've changed none of the bike's settings how is the power output the same whether you cycling at 90rpm or 70rpm? Sounds like the wattage calculation done by the bike is dodgy.

But you're right that cadence is directly related to HR. Cycling at 20mph on the flat at 110rpm (low gear) is going to produce a higher HR than 20mph at 80rpm (high gear). And yes, pure heartrate is a poor reference to calculate an accurate kCals/min as there's little or no indication of effort (watts).
A gym bike is just the same as a Cyclops Powerbeam Pro trainer.

It has a load cell which senses Torque and a rev counter that counts the revs.

kW = ( Torque [Nm] x rpm ) / 9549.3


Cadence is NOT directly related to HR. HR is a consequence of moving your legs more times per unit time.

When we say 'directly related', it means there is a solid, undisputed correlation factor to convert from one unit to the other.

eg. kCals/min = kW x 14.3197

If my HR is 160 and my cadence is 80, the correlation factor would be HR = cadence x 2.0000

When my cadence is 90, is my HR 180? No. it's not related.

Nor is HR and kCals/min.

As seen by my own eyes, when the absorption of the gym bike was 225, my HR was 153 OR 144, dependent on cadence ( the number of times my legs are moving up and down ).

I have mentioned on this chatboard before about performing a 'Natural cadence' test.
It involves setting the gym bike to a nominal absorption and then pedalling, increasing the cadence very slowly through a wide rev range.
When your HR is lowest, that is your 'Natural cadence' and the revs which make your heart beat less for the power output. Well, to be truthful, it's the rate of effort that your muscle fibre Fast/Slow twitch balance is most comfortable with.

Believe it or not, mine is 45 rpm. That is why I'm able to climb a 20% hill on a 32" gear at 3 mph at 33 rpm.
 
GrasB said:
In simplistic terms: power = torque * rpm
So if the the bike is giving resistance for 225w & the rpm drops you're simply applying more torque to the pedals.
Which means the bike must have increased its resistance to match your drop in rpm to maintain the same power output. So while you didn't change any of the settings, the bike must of done. Resistance does not equal power.
 

jimboalee

New Member
Location
Solihull
marzjennings said:
Which means the bike must have increased its resistance to match your drop in rpm to maintain the same power output. So while you didn't change any of the settings, the bike must of done. Resistance does not equal power.
On something more expensive than a gym bike, an engine test dynamometer for instance, I can set the controller to absorb 25 kW no matter what the engine rpm. If I open the throttle, the engine will rev away and the dyno' will apply load to stay at 25kW.

That is not a normally used mode of operation though. Speed control is the most popular.

On the gym bike however, my mind represented the throttle by controlling the rpm to a desired speed. The bike controlled the resistance to achieve the 'requested' absorption.
 
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