One Reason Why High Resistance Low Cadence Work Is Important.

In reading the Abstract below it is clear that as cadence increases efficiency increases, 22.4 ±1.7% @ 60rpm to 24.2 ± 2.0% @ 100rpm. The cyclists are less efficient at lower cadences so training at a particular wattage will elicit higher demands on the body for that wattage then it would at a higher cadence, say 300W tempo @ 55 rpm ‘V’ 300 W tempo @ 95rpm. The cyclists should burn less matches at the 95rpm. So if one trains at the lower cadences and becomes efficient does one then have a higher efficiency at the higher cadences?

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise (2004)
Volume: 36, Issue: 6, Pages: 1048-1054

Abstract

PURPOSE: To determine the effects of changes in pedaling frequency on the gross efficiency (GE) and other physiological variables (oxygen uptake (VO2), HR, lactate, pH, ventilation, motor unit recruitment estimated by EMG) of professional cyclists while generating high power outputs (PO). METHODS: Following a counterbalanced, cross-over design, eight professional cyclists (age (mean SD): 26 2 yr, VO2max: 74.0 5.7 mL x kg x min) performed three 6-min bouts at a fixed PO (mean of 366 37 W) and at a cadence of 60, 80, and 100 rpm. RESULTS: Values of GE averaged 22.4 1.7, 23.6 1.8 and 24.2 2.0% at 60, 80, and 100 rpm, respectively. Mean GE at 100 rpm was significantly higher than at 60 rpm (P < 0.05). Similarly, mean values of VO2, HR, rates of perceived exertion (RPE), lactate and normalized root-mean square EMG (rms-EMG) in both vastus lateralis and gluteus maximum muscles decreased at increasing cadences. CONCLUSIONS: In professional road cyclists riding at high PO, GE/economy improves at increasing pedaling cadences.

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