Forum home Road cycling forum Training, fitness and health

Low cadences less efficient

Trev The RevTrev The Rev Posts: 1,040
edited February 2013 in Training, fitness and health
http://www.setantacollege.com/wp-conten ... daling.pdf

The main finding of our study is that, in professional road
cyclists riding at high PO, GE/economy decreases at slow
cadences (60 rpm) compared with higher pedaling rates
(100 rpm). Such decreases are accompanied by significantly
higher levels of both blood lactate levels and myoelectrical
activity of two of the main muscles involved in pedaling
(mostly in the down-stroke phase (11)), that is, the vastus
lateralis and the gluteus maximum. Further, the rider’s perceptions of fatigue appear to increase at low cadences.


Some might find it interesting.
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Posts

  • ShutUpLegsShutUpLegs Posts: 3,522

    The main finding of our study is that,

    What bit did you add Trev :?:
  • bahzobbahzob Posts: 2,195
    Trev didn't point out one of the most interesting points about this study.

    It was conducted using meaningful power outputs that those who post here should be achieving or at least aspiring to

    >> 6 [email protected]+/- 37W.

    In sharp contrast to the censored science of the Korff study so often cited which used the utterly stupid test of 6 mins @ 200W, a feeble effort that could not possibly give any useful information about what may or may not occur under real life conditions.
    Martin S. Newbury RC
  • Mr DogMr Dog Posts: 643
    Thanks for the article Trev. Those who take time to post should be applauded. I don't have the knowledge to pick holes in the methodology etc to highlight any shortcomings. Climbing at 60 rpm I find brutal, but sometimes I've no place else to go :oops:
    Why tidy the house when you can clean your bike?
  • Mr Dog wrote:
    Thanks for the article Trev. Those who take time to post should be applauded. I don't have the knowledge to pick holes in the methodology etc to highlight any shortcomings. Climbing at 60 rpm I find brutal, but sometimes I've no place else to go :oops:

    To the bike shop for lower gears?
  • Mr DogMr Dog Posts: 643
    ..... lower gears! :lol:
    Why tidy the house when you can clean your bike?
  • you need to be riding steady state to measure efficiency, so, for one, even at my very fittest i would not have been able to ride steady state at 366 W. And that was when i was a 1st and 2nd cat roadie.
    Coach to Michael Freiberg - Track World Champion (Omnium) 2011
    Coach to James Hayden - Transcontinental Race winner 2017, and 2018
    Coach to Jeff Jones - 2011 BBAR winner and 12-hour record
    Check out our new website https://www.cyclecoach.com
  • bahzobbahzob Posts: 2,195
    Mr Dog wrote:
    Thanks for the article Trev. Those who take time to post should be applauded. I don't have the knowledge to pick holes in the methodology etc to highlight any shortcomings. Climbing at 60 rpm I find brutal, but sometimes I've no place else to go :oops:

    Fit more gears. Anything less than 70rpm isn't climbing, it's struggling
    Martin S. Newbury RC
  • bahzob wrote:
    Trev didn't point out one of the most interesting points about this study.

    It was conducted using meaningful power outputs that those who post here should be achieving or at least aspiring to

    >> 6 [email protected]+/- 37W.

    In sharp contrast to the censored science of the Korff study so often cited which used the utterly stupid test of 6 mins @ 200W, a feeble effort that could not possibly give any useful information about what may or may not occur under real life conditions.

    Go to the Trainerroad thread - half of the posters have FTPs under 200w. Cheers me up no end on those occasions I have a censored ride.
  • Mr Dog wrote:
    ..... lower gears! :lol:

    I don't get the joke FFS
  • bahzobbahzob Posts: 2,195
    you need to be riding steady state to measure efficiency, so, for one, even at my very fittest i would not have been able to ride steady state at 366 W. And that was when i was a 1st and 2nd cat roadie.

    Read the study. The tests were carried out at a steady state.

    It's basic principle that any test conducted into any aspect of athletic performance should be done at meaningful=stressful effort levels like this one was. This would be the case for most everything. It is even more so for any study into a skill which will degrade as a function of effort.

    One measure of someone's proficiency when executing a skill is that they can maintain it at high levels at near maximum effort. Which is why tour riders look smooth doing massive climbs/long TTs compared to average riders, despite putting out much higher absolute and relative power.

    I trust you accept this?

    Unlike the Korff study that you and Alex keep rabbiting on about which is just censored , for many reasons including that his test was a feeble [email protected] rendering any results useless. (save as a test of the credibility of anyone who subsequently cites them).

    The fact you couldn't do these wattages is quite irrelevant. Perhaps if you had had a more open mind and worked at improving your pedal stroke you would have been better. I'm over 50 and can do these sorts of efforts and when doing so my main focus is keeping a good consistent pedalling action.

    Which is sort of the point:

    -- work on improving pedalling > better performance. (cf Bradley Wiggins last year)

    -- closed mind "my pedalling is already perfect" attitude = fail
    Martin S. Newbury RC
  • bahzobbahzob Posts: 2,195

    Go to the Trainerroad thread - half of the posters have FTPs under 200w. Cheers me up no end on those occasions I have a censored ride.

    An FTP of 200W is pretty feeble unless you weigh under 50kg. But that's not my point. Korff's tests were 6 minute intervals. Even your trainerroad posters would find these ridiculously easy.

    Your FTP would need to be around 140W for them to be in anyway meaningful and if its this low I'd suggest the only pedalling you should be doing is to your doctor.
    Martin S. Newbury RC
  • again, to measure efficiency you have to be riding in a steady state manner (i.e., below your FTP).
    Coach to Michael Freiberg - Track World Champion (Omnium) 2011
    Coach to James Hayden - Transcontinental Race winner 2017, and 2018
    Coach to Jeff Jones - 2011 BBAR winner and 12-hour record
    Check out our new website https://www.cyclecoach.com
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,729
    bahzob wrote:
    Which is sort of the point:

    -- work on improving pedalling > better performance. (cf Bradley Wiggins last year)

    -- closed mind "my pedalling is already perfect" attitude = fail

    or there is a third option perhaps...

    -- either way doesn't actually make a huge amount of difference.
  • bahzob wrote:
    -- work on improving pedalling > better performance. (cf Bradley Wiggins last year)

    :lol: Ah, elite cyclist improving pedalling. An excellent test for gullibility.
  • bahzob wrote:
    One measure of someone's proficiency when executing a skill is that they can maintain it at high levels at near maximum effort. Which is why tour riders look smooth doing massive climbs/long TTs compared to average riders, despite putting out much higher absolute and relative power.

    I trust you accept this?
    One minute you're talking about efficiency, the next it's proficiency. You keep changing definitions of things that are already well defined. It might help if perhaps you understood efficiency and how it is determined, and ceased attributing performance to things that you are unable to define and then lay them out like some magic potion.
    bahzob wrote:
    Unlike the Korff study that you and Alex keep rabbiting on about which is just censored , for many reasons including that his test was a feeble [email protected] rendering any results useless. (save as a test of the credibility of anyone who subsequently cites them).
    Can you please show me where Ric or I have been "rabbiting on" about the Korff study?

    I know I've pointed to the data before, not to any specific conclusions. I certainly haven't been rabbiting on.

    So I suppose the data Korff et al produced is a load of censored in your mind and clearly anyone who links to the data is an idiot. OK, fair enough, suggest you tell that to all the scientists and researchers who have subsequently cited the paper, some of whom have concluded similar results and found the same thing.
    bahzob wrote:
    The fact you couldn't do these wattages is quite irrelevant. Perhaps if you had had a more open mind and worked at improving your pedal stroke you would have been better. I'm over 50 and can do these sorts of efforts and when doing so my main focus is keeping a good consistent pedalling action.
    and I'm not far behind you in age terms, had a lower leg amputation 6 years ago while at peak fitness (podium national points race and national team pursuit record - masters obviously), and I physically can't do most of the pedal stroke enhancements you keep rabbiting on about ('cause, ya know, it's kind of hard to do that with a leg made of carbon and metal), yet I still managed to improve my sustainable power output (and funny enough come back to set another national record in teams pursuit but dipped out in the points, only coming 4th but happy enough with that given the field did have two world champions).

    So I lost significant pedal stroke proficiency (your word) yet managed to still improve performance. How could that possibly be?

    My point is not to "rabbit on" about my cycling, but rather simply to point out that your anecdote(s) is (are) as useless as a guide to or evidence of the role of pedalling dynamics as is mine.
    bahzob wrote:
    Which is sort of the point:

    -- work on improving pedalling > better performance. (cf Bradley Wiggins last year)

    -- closed mind "my pedalling is already perfect" attitude = fail
    Seriously?

    Your arguments are so full of logical fallacies it's hard to know where to start. For starters this is a clear case of "the excluded middle", "anecdotes are not evidence", "strawman argument" and is borderline "ad hominem", which isn't bad going for one sentence.

    I really think you need to have a chat with Noel and Frank. There's a great thread on the role of pedalling technique and performance over at Bike Radar's sister site cyclingnews.com forum. It's a cracker and is well over 100 pages long. Why not go and join in the fun?
    http://forum.cyclingnews.com/showthread.php?t=12930
  • ChrisSAChrisSA Posts: 455
    Trev - thanks for the doc, I shall read it later. I tend to TT or Tri bike at about 100ish anyhow.
    bahzob wrote:

    Go to the Trainerroad thread - half of the posters have FTPs under 200w. Cheers me up no end on those occasions I have a censored ride.

    An FTP of 200W is pretty feeble unless you weigh under 50kg. But that's not my point.

    I think we're all aware that FTPs from TR could be in units of bananas or whats. Accuracy doesn't matter - so long as it's repeatable workout to workout.
  • bahzobbahzob Posts: 2,195
    edited February 2013
    [email protected] Alex.

    Fairly typical if sad response. Ignore the point and nitpick over some imagined contradictions accompanied by some random Roman cliches. As for rabbiting, well every time this subject comes up you link the long J Martin presentation including his and Korffs failed studies as if were the word of God.

    And you continue to be in denial. My point here is that the study cited by OP is far more relevant to this topic than that of Korff since it used meaningful tests relevant to the area of study. (For the record there are lots of other issues with Korff's study which I have previously told you about but you ignored. The fact it continues to be cited says much about the poor state of research and those who work in this area.)

    As for your injury. Clearly that is very sad and I feel sorry for you. However I remind you the subject of individual performance was raised by Ric. I was simply pointing out to him this is totally irrelevant, I presume you will tell him the same.

    I also pointed out to him that he may have been better if he had worked on improving his pedalling and would offer this same advice to anyone with an open mind.
    Martin S. Newbury RC
  • bahzobbahzob Posts: 2,195
    bahzob wrote:
    -- work on improving pedalling > better performance. (cf Bradley Wiggins last year)

    :lol: Ah, elite cyclist improving pedalling. An excellent test for gullibility.

    Cynically spurning the advice from those way better at something than you are. The test of a fool.
    Martin S. Newbury RC
  • bahzobbahzob Posts: 2,195
    Imposter wrote:
    bahzob wrote:
    Which is sort of the point:

    -- work on improving pedalling > better performance. (cf Bradley Wiggins last year)

    -- closed mind "my pedalling is already perfect" attitude = fail

    or there is a third option perhaps...

    -- either way doesn't actually make a huge amount of difference.

    Er your option is just the second and just as stupid. But please continue, if you don't want to get better I couldn't really care less. But please keep your cynicism to yourself, the fact you choose to fail doensn't have to be catching.
    Martin S. Newbury RC
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,729
    You really really don't like it when people disagree with you, do you ?
  • bahzobbahzob Posts: 2,195
    Imposter wrote:
    You really really don't like it when people disagree with you, do you ?

    Me? I don't mind.

    My concern here is that I spent many years cycling without really thinking about how I actually pedalled. When I started paying some attention to this I was pleased with the improvements and so would recommend to anyone else. It was a nice coincidence that I was not alone, Bradley Wiggins says much the same in his recent book.

    My issue with Alex/Ric and the rest of the closed minds is that some people may think they actually know what they are talking about, the more so because they keep referring to flawed studies as if they provided a definitive last word on the topic.

    It would be a shame if their cynicism put off anyone from improving that's what I don't like.
    Martin S. Newbury RC
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,729
    bahzob wrote:
    Imposter wrote:
    You really really don't like it when people disagree with you, do you ?

    Me? I don't mind.

    My concern here is that I spent many years cycling without really thinking about how I actually pedalled. When I started paying some attention to this I was pleased with the improvements and so would recommend to anyone else. It was a nice coincidence that I was not alone, Bradley Wiggins says much the same in his recent book.

    My issue with Alex/Ric and the rest of the closed minds is that some people may think they actually know what they are talking about, the more so because they keep referring to flawed studies as if they provided a definitive last word on the topic.

    It would be a shame if their cynicism put off anyone from improving that's what I don't like.

    But as far as I'm aware, all that Alex/Ric have asked you to do is provide evidence for your claims, while linking to published studies which suggest that your anecdotes (for that is all that they are - just anecdotes) don't really mean much in a scientific world.

    That's not the same a having a closed mind - it's just sensible.
  • bahzobbahzob Posts: 2,195
    again, to measure efficiency you have to be riding in a steady state manner (i.e., below your FTP).

    Again. Pedalling is a skill. The proficiency of skills varies with effort and this will affect dependant variables like efficiency (in all its various forms).

    So to measure anything useful about them you have to conduct tests at a realistic effort.

    The fact you and Alex don't seem to see this may explain your confusion. Do you really think someone will pedal exactly the same way regardless of effort?
    Martin S. Newbury RC
  • bahzobbahzob Posts: 2,195
    edited February 2013
    Imposter wrote:
    But as far as I'm aware, all that Alex/Ric have asked you to do is provide evidence for your claims, while linking to published studies which suggest that your anecdotes (for that is all that they are - just anecdotes) don't really mean much in a scientific world.

    That's not the same a having a closed mind - it's just sensible.

    In a scientific world what matters are theories.

    The theory that Alex/Ric have seems to boil down to the following (it' hard to pin them down on this, they are very willing to contradict but not as willing to advance theories of their own on this subject)

    "It is not possible to improve your cycling performance by changing the way you pedal and you are wasting your time by trying to do so. This makes pedalling a unique skill in that all other similar skills in other areas can be improved through training and adaptation."

    My view is this is not true.

    The way science then progresses is to put theories to the test.
    - Alex et al put huge reliance on Korff's study which is seriously flawed.
    - The study cited here shows that for a key area that affects real performance changing the way you pedal may have an impact.
    - Looking at the real world it is clear that professional cyclists look quite different from amateur cyclists in the way they pedal. This is not anecdote, it is observation, a perfectly valid scientific method that underpins many areas of science.
    - In his recent book Bradley Wiggins describes a casebook example of how someone who was already at the peak of the sport was able to improve through a focussed change to the way he pedalled.
    - Much of our disagreement over this subject stems from the use of the Wattbike. This provides direct feedback on pedalling style and there is a lot of data that shows how this is directly linked to performance both in the sense that elite cyclists have a quite different style from average cyclists and that changing the style results in performance improvement.
    - On a personal level I find Alex/Ric theory hard to believe, the more so since by adapting the way I pedal I have improved my performance (this is anecdote I accept).

    The best you could say for the Alex/Ric theory then is I would suggest "not proven".

    The "sensible" upshot then for those who wish to improve would be to disregard the views of Alex/Ric and work on improving their pedalling, since doing this will need have no impact on other areas of training.

    If Alex/Ric are proved wrong (as they will be once power sensors come along that can provide on-road data similar to what the Wattbike can provide) then you will have not have missed an opportunity to get better.

    If Alex/Ric are proved correct I will be amazed but nothing will have been sacrificed in terms of training gain,
    Martin S. Newbury RC
  • Tom DeanTom Dean Posts: 1,723
    What do your ideas about pedalling 'skill' have to do with the topic, i.e. cadence vs efficiency?
  • Interesting stuff, and I am very much on the fence with this one.

    Bahzob - how do you suggest improving pedaling technique? What are the best exercises to do?
  • Tom Dean wrote:
    What do your ideas about pedalling 'skill' have to do with the topic, i.e. cadence vs efficiency?
    Given that the guy who started the thread is now banned, does it really matter?
  • Tom DeanTom Dean Posts: 1,723
    Bahzob - how do you suggest improving pedaling technique? What are the best exercises to do?
    Jesus :lol: may I suggest you do a search.

    I think the OP is interesting but seems to contradict the previous evidence as I understand it, and as Ric has said, the measurement of efficiency they use is questionable.
  • bahzobbahzob Posts: 2,195
    Tom Dean wrote:
    What do your ideas about pedalling 'skill' have to do with the topic, i.e. cadence vs efficiency?

    Most riders will not be able to just make an instant switch from pedalling at 70rpm to 100rpm, especially at high power output like that in the original study.

    They are very likely to become uncoordinated with the end result that their actual output is no better or worse which may be the root of some of the confusion here.

    So they will need to improve their pedalling "skill" which is basically
    - timing the application of torque to the pedals by all muscles involved in an optimum manner regardless of cadence
    - maintaining the consistency of this application through increasing effort levels

    If you happen to have access to a Wattbike this will be a help in doing this since it provides instant feedback on how you are pedalling so what your "skill" level is.
    Martin S. Newbury RC
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,729
    bahzob wrote:
    - In his recent book Bradley Wiggins describes a casebook example of how someone who was already at the peak of the sport was able to improve through a focussed change to the way he pedalled.

    Good point. Apparently, Lance's improvements were all down to his cadence.
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