I can't keep a cadence of 90 rpm

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I can't keep a cadence of 90 rpm

Postby Chaderotti » Wed Jun 23, 2010 11:10 pm

It feels too slow for me. An eventually turning that 'slow' my legs start burning like crazy. I feel better at about 105-110 rpm where there is next to no resistance but obviously I'm spending much more energy to maintain the same speed.
Will slowing down my cadence to about 90-95 rpm increase muscle endurance? That's what I'm struggling on a lot, I have next to no cradio (which is kind of weird actually).
After about 2 hours of riding (average of about 28 km/h) my computer says that my average cadence was about 97. But when I watch my cadence it's usually 100+.
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by BNA » Wed Jun 23, 2010 11:19 pm

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Re: I can't keep a cadence of 90 rpm

Postby thelittlebattler » Wed Jun 23, 2010 11:19 pm

Theoretically cadence shouldn't make a difference to your endurance... You're doing the same workload (given you maintain say 28km/h), whether your cadence is high or low.
So you should be spending the same amount of energy to do the same speed at cadence 90rpm. But it's likely you're muscles are more fast-twitch (sprinter's fibres), which get tired very easily. (one research paper I read matched cadence to fibre type- higher cadence equals more fast twitch fibres)
So slowing your cadence down to 90 should increase your endurance, as it will consolidate your slow-twitch fibres to do more of the work... which will make the whole gig easier ("increasing" your cardio).
Coasting and stopping etc. may bring your average cadence down, I'd guess?
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Re: I can't keep a cadence of 90 rpm

Postby Chaderotti » Wed Jun 23, 2010 11:31 pm

thelittlebattler wrote:Theoretically cadence shouldn't make a difference to your endurance... You're doing the same workload (given you maintain say 28km/h), whether your cadence is high or low.

I would assume the power output is lower at a higher cadence as opposed to a lower cadence. If Chris Hoy could put out his 2.4 kw of power at 60 rpm, he'd be unstoppable.

thelittlebattler wrote:But it's likely you're muscles are more fast-twitch (sprinter's fibres), which get tired very easily. (one research paper I read matched cadence to fibre type- higher cadence equals more fast twitch fibres)

This is going to sound really odd but if I were to say, sit at 100 rpm, and then slowly start spinning faster I can easily maintain 125-130 ish rpm... But to go any higher I have to consciously think about spinning faster. On a stationary trainer with zero resistance the max I hit was 218 rpm, to get to that I had to really concentrate and psyche myself up... Hell, thinking about it now it's actually really weird.

thelittlebattler wrote:So slowing your cadence down to 90 should increase your endurance, as it will consolidate your slow-twitch fibres to do more of the work...

That burns heaps more than lower resistance at a higher rpm... but I guess if it helps, then it helps.

thelittlebattler wrote:Coasting and stopping etc. may bring your average cadence down, I'd guess?

Yeah due to my route this is the case
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Re: I can't keep a cadence of 90 rpm

Postby thelittlebattler » Wed Jun 23, 2010 11:46 pm

Chaderotti wrote:
thelittlebattler wrote:Theoretically cadence shouldn't make a difference to your endurance... You're doing the same workload (given you maintain say 28km/h), whether your cadence is high or low.

I would assume the power output is lower at a higher cadence as opposed to a lower cadence. If Chris Hoy could put out his 2.4 kw of power at 60 rpm, he'd be unstoppable.


At a lower cadence the force is higher each pedal stroke, but the force is applied less times per minute, making the power the same... To achieve the power of 2kW, Hoy could apply a higher force less times per minute, or apply a lower force more times per minute. (kind of like either doing one 2kW push per minute, or two 1kW forces per minute)
The reason your legs would be burning at 90rpm is because they have to apply a larger force. You could either train at 90rpm so that your muscles can handle the extra force for long periods of time, so that when you go back up to 100+rpm they're having to put out less force. (which they'd be happy about)
Alternatively, you could train by putting more force into the pedals at the same 100+rpm cadence. Both options serve so that your legs are stronger at natural cadence, and so can put more force in and go faster.
Hope that all makes sense
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Re: I can't keep a cadence of 90 rpm

Postby Chaderotti » Thu Jun 24, 2010 12:26 am

Well that's embarrassing, and to think I study physics :oops:

Now, to train at 90 rpm, or 100+ rpm with more force. I'll experiment a bit when I go out next. Though, in theory, if I were to be predominantly using my fast twitch muscles, wouldn't 100+ rpm with more force just kill the muscles even more?
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Re: I can't keep a cadence of 90 rpm

Postby thelittlebattler » Thu Jun 24, 2010 12:39 am

Chaderotti wrote:Now, to train at 90 rpm, or 100+ rpm with more force. I'll experiment a bit when I go out next. Though, in theory, if I were to be predominantly using my fast twitch muscles, wouldn't 100+ rpm with more force just kill the muscles even more?


Haha I guess that's true, sorry my explanations aren't coming out that great tonight... assuming you've been riding a few months and your heart has adapted somewhat to doing cardio work, the main way to improve from there is to make your legs adapt. Legs adapting is what makes it easier on the heart, and hence improves cardio fitness (explains why my swimming is rubbish, my arm muscles just aren't used to the work).
I guess pushing harder to make the legs burn is my best suggestion for making them adapt, to give cardio fitness.
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Re: I can't keep a cadence of 90 rpm

Postby DanielS » Thu Jun 24, 2010 12:57 pm

Don't think too much about it, just ride at whatever cadence feels good. If you want to get faster and have more endurance, then do harder and longer rides and it will happen :D
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Re: I can't keep a cadence of 90 rpm

Postby foo on patrol » Thu Jun 24, 2010 4:01 pm

X2
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Re: I can't keep a cadence of 90 rpm

Postby Marty Moose » Fri Jun 25, 2010 7:23 pm

Thought you had a coach Chad ??? Mix up your training a bit don't just do 100 + stuff do some S&E(50 rpm big gears up hills E3) 90rpm to 100 and your 100 + stuff. Build your strength then your speed. You have asked the same question when you talked about lacking endurance. Have you taken any steps to help yourself with this ?? If not have a talk to your club coach it and work on your areas of weakness! The best thing is you have identified what your weakness is now its up to you to do something about it.

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Re: I can't keep a cadence of 90 rpm

Postby Chaderotti » Fri Jun 25, 2010 8:41 pm

Haven't seen him in a fair while you see. I'll have to give him a ring as he said he'll give me a program. Hell, I haven't seen him in so long I kinda forgot about asking him!
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Re: I can't keep a cadence of 90 rpm

Postby nickobec » Fri Jun 25, 2010 11:16 pm

From my experience riding a singlespeed you spend around 5% of your time not pedalling to power your bicycle.

For example on my SS a cadence of 85 = 30kmh. But if I cover 30km in an hour, my average cadence will be around 81.

I ride quiet differently to you. I find it very difficult to maintain a cadence above 105. You can get a couple of minutes from me at 110+ and then I am spent.

On the other hand, I can ride for hours with a cadence anywhere between 75 and 100.

Also I found I accelerate quicker by putting it in a much bigger gear and pushing it from 60rpm
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Re: I can't keep a cadence of 90 rpm

Postby toolonglegs » Fri Jun 25, 2010 11:49 pm

nickobec wrote:Also I found I accelerate quicker by putting it in a much bigger gear and pushing it from 60rpm


I used to think that too...well not 60rpm...but a big gear all the same.Until I got a power meter and realised that even thou I was pushing down much harder in the bigger gear...my power output was much higher if I accelerated at the higher rpm in a slightly easier gear.
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Re: I can't keep a cadence of 90 rpm

Postby lethoso » Sat Jun 26, 2010 12:13 am

Chaderotti wrote: If Chris Hoy could put out his 2.4 kw of power at 60 rpm, he'd be unstoppable.


I would have thought that'd make him unstartable due to the gear he'd have to be pushing :lol:

Ride up some hills with a 23T cassette, should bring your cadence down.
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Re: I can't keep a cadence of 90 rpm

Postby brentono » Sat Jun 26, 2010 1:00 pm

Sprinting up hills, and sprinting down hills, fixed gear (near the same), will train your muscles
for these variations- did heaps of it, it hurts but it works. :idea:
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Re: I can't keep a cadence of 90 rpm

Postby Marty Moose » Sat Jun 26, 2010 3:55 pm

lethoso wrote:
Chaderotti wrote: If Chris Hoy could put out his 2.4 kw of power at 60 rpm, he'd be unstoppable.


I would have thought that'd make him unstartable due to the gear he'd have to be pushing :lol:

Ride up some hills with a 23T cassette, should bring your cadence down.


This is Perth there are very few hills here that need a 23 he'd still be spinning.
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Re: I can't keep a cadence of 90 rpm

Postby TheSkyMovesSideways » Sat Jun 26, 2010 4:04 pm

thelittlebattler wrote:Theoretically cadence shouldn't make a difference to your endurance... You're doing the same workload (given you maintain say 28km/h), whether your cadence is high or low.

Not true. The workload may be the same, but the demands on the muscles (speed of contraction vs force exerted) are very different.
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Re: I can't keep a cadence of 90 rpm

Postby toolonglegs » Sat Jun 26, 2010 4:15 pm

TheSkyMovesSideways wrote:
thelittlebattler wrote:Theoretically cadence shouldn't make a difference to your endurance... You're doing the same workload (given you maintain say 28km/h), whether your cadence is high or low.

Not true. The workload may be the same, but the demands on the muscles (speed of contraction vs force exerted) are very different.


Maybe thats why he says "Theoretically".
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Re: I can't keep a cadence of 90 rpm

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Sun Jun 27, 2010 8:39 pm

TheSkyMovesSideways wrote:
thelittlebattler wrote:Theoretically cadence shouldn't make a difference to your endurance... You're doing the same workload (given you maintain say 28km/h), whether your cadence is high or low.

Not true. The workload may be the same, but the demands on the muscles (speed of contraction vs force exerted) are very different.

Not exceptionally different though for the cadences quoted, certainly not enough to trigger the need for any significant difference in fibre type recruited, which has very little to do with cadence (or force) per se.

Fibre type recruitment is much more closely related to power output, especially power relative to our maximal force-velocity curve.
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Re: I can't keep a cadence of 90 rpm

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Sun Jun 27, 2010 8:45 pm

Chaderotti wrote:Well that's embarrassing, and to think I study physics :oops:

Now, to train at 90 rpm, or 100+ rpm with more force. I'll experiment a bit when I go out next. Though, in theory, if I were to be predominantly using my fast twitch muscles, wouldn't 100+ rpm with more force just kill the muscles even more?

You won't be predominantly using FT fibres.

What will "kill you" so to speak is that the same force at 10% higher cadence means you are producing 10% more power. If you are already riding hard (for you) then asking yourself to sustain 10% more power is a lot to ask.

Just focus on effort level and choose a gear that feels good. Cadence is a red herring.
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Re: I can't keep a cadence of 90 rpm

Postby Nix » Wed Jul 07, 2010 3:26 pm

I heard during the TDF commentary that many riders are making an effort to increase their cadence to 100+ (I think this was during the TT so not sure if it was specific to that or in general)...
Not sure what the reasoning was/would be - but if the pro's are doing it, maybe it's not such a bad thing :)
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Re: I can't keep a cadence of 90 rpm

Postby PortableDave » Wed Jul 14, 2010 12:56 pm

Alex Simmons/RST wrote:Just focus on effort level and choose a gear that feels good. Cadence is a red herring.


Hi Alex,

You say a gear that feels good, surely that is a very subjective measure? I know untrained cyclists who feel most comfortable in 53/12 grinding along. Is this just one of those areas that takes time and experience to select a gear that gets optimum results?
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