Perfect Cycling Cadence Zones

What is Cadence?

The definition of the word cadence alone means the beat, rate, or measure of any rhythmic movement. In cycling terms this is the speed at which you spin your feet on the pedals. This is measured in how many rotations per minute(rpm). You need to optimize your cadence if you want to be a part of serious cycling and increase your cycling power.

A Good Starting Point

    There is an average cadence of that most elite cyclists use in certain situations. When your speed is remaining constant you should be keeping a cadence of 90-100 rpm. When you are sprinting you should be pushing a rate of 120 rpm. When you are climbing you should be shooting for right around 60 rpm. You should know also that a low cadence is hard on your knees and requires greater force generation. This style causes you to have knee pain cycling habits. While a higher cadence requires greater metabolic efforts, which will cause heavy breathing.

What About Me?

    The cycling cadence numbers I stated where just averages. What you should do is to push to become the most economical version of yourself. That is what cadence is about; it is finding that proper balance between mashing the gears at 30 rpm and spinning your wheels at 150 rpm. The way to calculate the cadence that is proper for you, you need to know your economy. Economy is how much power you are using to do a task. The less power you use to complete the same task the more economic you become. So let’s move on to a cycling workout to enhance your economy and avoid cycling injuries.

How Do I Raise My Economy?

    Here is a cycling training program to increase your economy through changing your cycling cadence. Let me be your cycling trainer for a second. If you are way above those cadence spectrums I stated you may want to try going into a larger gear. To train yourself down put yourself in an incredible large gear. The gear should be so big that you can only support around 60 rpm. Once you start feeling strong go into an even larger gear so you support 60 rpm consistently. Now when you go back into you actually riding range shoot for a gear that is just large enough so that you are in the 90-100 rpm range. This is very much a strength training for cycling. Don’t forget that low cadence cycling can cause a cycling knee injury.

Now if your cycling cadence is to low I find that working your way up is a little more difficult. I have a low cadence rate because I want to feel like a monster and when I push down my pedal I’ll be darned if I am not 30 feet from my starting point. As you may have guessed you will do the opposite of the rider with the high cadence. This not only helps you get more economic it also helps how smooth your pedal stroke is. Use cycling technique to improve your cycling cadence.  The smoother and more efficient the stroke is the more economic you become. When grinding huge gears this finesse is sometimes lost, but when spinning away you will definitely notice any clunky pedal strokes.

What’s Next?

    Now you feel you are in a pretty good standing with cycling cadence, start playing around with it and see what cadence works best for you. Like I said there is no set standard, but I do think you need to train each side of the spectrum so you can get exact economy results from your body. Also keep the very real possibility of cycling injury in mind when picking your  cadence zone. The main issue with cadence is the cycling knee injuries. Once you have discovered your perfect cadence for your body adjust your bike to fit it. If you have a high cadence you will want a shorter crank arm and lower your seat a bit. If you have a low cycling cadence you will want to have a longer crank arm for more leverage and a high seat for a better angle on the pedals.

 
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10 responses to “Perfect Cycling Cadence Zones

  1. Great post, and love the new theme. A couple of my cycle class instructors have repeatedly pointed out to the class to make sure you don’t get stuck in the trap of being efficient at only one cadence. But we have never gotten around to discussing a really good way to train for multiple cadences. This post told me exactly what I needed to know. Thanks!

  2. [Feel free to delete–question for clarification] I found “A good starting point” to be a little confusing. Did you mean to say “You should know also that a LOW cadence is hard on your knees and requires greater force generation”?

  3. That’s the first time I read about cadence, I really like your post. I think it’s important to know about cadence if we want to be a better cyclist. I sometimes forget about keeping in a high cadence and then it’s too late, I’m already exhausted.
    After this reading I’ll watch myself and keep in a good pace 🙂

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