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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Why fast pedaling makes cyclists more efficient | Active

Recently we reported that cyclists are usually more efficient on both hills and flat terrain when they pedal quickly (at about 80-85 rpm) rather than at slower cadences.
Now, a new study suggests that the greater efficiency may be related to the rapid rate at which glycogen is depleted in fast-twitch muscle fibers during slow, high-force pedaling.
To determine the actual effects of slow and fast pedaling on leg-muscle cells, scientists at the University of Wisconsin and the University of Wyoming asked eight experienced cyclists to cycle at an intensity of 85% V02max for 30 minutes under two different conditions.
In one case the cyclists pedaled their bikes at 50 revolutions per minute (rpm) while using a high gear. In the second case, the athletes pedaled in a low gear at 100 rpm. The athletes were traveling at identical speeds in the two instances, so their leg-muscle contractions were quite forceful at 50 rpm and moderate -- but more frequent -- at 100 rpm.
As it turned out, the athletes' oxygen consumption rates were nearly identical in the two cases, and heart and breathing rates, total rate of power production, and blood lactate levels were also similar.

[Keep reading at Active]

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