Finding the Optimal Cadence for Cycling


Without a doubt, cycling is one of the most efficient and effective ways to exercise. You can engage your fast-twitch muscle fibres as well as your slow-twitch muscle fibres. These different types of muscle fibres are instrumental in producing different outcomes. When you are sprinting, you are engaging your fast-twitch fibres and moving closer towards an anaerobic state of exercise. When you’re distance cycling, you want to keep your heart rate and your breathing rates low. So, finding the optimal cycling cadence depends on what you are attempting to accomplish.

Cycling for Transportation

Many people like to cycle as a means of transportation. It is a low-cost way to get from place to place. It’s much cheaper to cycle than it is to buy a car or to pay for ridesharing services. It also provides you with some exercise on your daily commute. In order to get from place to place most efficiently, you should use your slow-twitch muscle fibres. That will keep your heart rate low and reduce the amount of energy output that you need to get to your destination.

In real terms, that means that you should be pedalling somewhere around 60 revolutions per minute. A road bike in Malaysia should have several different gears that will enable you to maintain different speeds while keeping this pedalling cadence. If you are trying to increase your speed, you can gear down and maintain your 60 revolutions per minute. To climb hills, you can gear up. You’ll move more slowly but you will save a lot of energy.

Cycling for Exercise

If you’re cycling as a form of exercise, you will actually want to be somewhat less efficient. That lack of efficiency will make your muscles and lungs work much harder, giving you the benefits of the exercise. While 60-80 revolutions per minute is still considered the most efficient, you should consider pedalling a little bit faster than that. 80-100 RPMs is often recommended for people who want to raise their heart rates.

That will also give you the option of engaging more kinds of muscle fibres. Even if you are pedalling close to 100 RPMs, you’ll still be able to choose whether you’re engaging slow-twitch or fast-twitch fibres. If you gear down, you’ll greatly increase the resistance and sprint. If you gear up, you’ll have lower resistance that will make you go more slowly but reduce the muscular engagement.

You’ll go much faster with a lower gear but you’ll tire out much more quickly as well. Many people who ride road bikes for exercise tend to employ a mixture. They might sprint for a short amount of time and then gear up during the rest periods. If you’re riding for distance, though, you should keep it to higher gears with a higher cadence.

Knees and Hips

When discussing cycling cadence, it’s important to discuss the impact on knees and hips. A higher cadence will place more stress on your joints. A lower cadence will be much lower impact.

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