Cadence is an important element of what we teach in the indoor cycling studio. Cadence is how fast the pedals are turning (measured in revolutions per minute, or rpm), so regardless of whether you think you don’t focus on cadence in your class (yes, I’ve had instructors tell me they don’t), if you ask your riders to speed their legs up or slow them down then you are, indeed, focusing on cadence. It’s better to do it intentionally rather than inadvertently.
Cadence is one half of the intensity equation; the other is resistance. You need both resistance (force) and cadence (velocity) to produce power.
To produce a given wattage, how fast your legs are turning has physiological implications on your results. If you turn them faster, you recruit one type of muscle fiber; if you turn them slower, you recruit another.
It’s important for all instructors to know what is happening on a physiological level so they can be better informed as they create their profiles and decide on the objective of their training session.
Today’s Facebook Live video training (part 1) provides a basic understanding of cadence and how it’s measured, and helps you understand the physiological factors that you should consider when designing your profiles.
In part 2, I will cover whether rpm is a valid method of determining intensity (short answer: no, but I’ll give you the important reasons why). I will explain the pros and cons of dictating a specific cadence in your classes. Then, I will jump on the bike and end with some cadence drills and coaching cues to go along with them. As usual, I’ll do a Q&A at the end.
You can download the PDF handout for part 1 of Why Cadence Matters below.
Note: I am currently compiling all the excellent questions from this FB Live into a transcript and will post them separately.