What is cycling pedaling frequency?
Pedaling frequency refers to the number of pedal revolutions per minute.
It is expressed in terms of the number of pedal rotations per minute. Optimal pedaling frequency has been extensively studied in academia.
As early as 1929, Hartree and Hill pointed out the existence of an optimal frequency.
When a rider pedals too low, erratic power output and muscle relaxation can waste energy. But when a rider pedals too fast, the body loses energy to overcome internal muscle resistance.
Therefore, there must be an ideal pedaling frequency in between. However, Hartree and Hill were unable to give an exact value.
In other studies, minimal oxygen consumption has been used as a criterion for optimal pedaling frequency.
The study showed that when oxygen consumption was projected from riding without resistance to riding with resistance, the optimal pedaling frequency gradually increased to 100 rpm.
The lowest consumption pedaling frequency was found to be between 90 rpm and 100 rpm. This matches the frequency chosen by the actual cyclists.
In addition, the optimum frequency investigated was between 90 rpm and 100 rpm. It is clear that the tension of the leg muscles is one of the decisive factors in cycling.
How to find the best pedaling frequency for cycling?
① Cycling pedal training
Pedal frequency training is a long-term conscious training process that focuses on keeping the body stable at high pedaling frequencies, without the body swinging from side to side and jumping up and down due to the increase in pedaling frequency.
In other words, let people and bicycles always maintain coordination, always achieve the realm of unity between people and cars. Easier said than done.
How to train pedaling and power is a must for cycling beginners, especially for road bikes.
When you start training, you can put the speed aside for a while and only train the frequency.
After the frequency is raised (for example, reaching a longer time of 100 pedaling frequency or more), then supplement with strength and endurance to reach a certain speed target, and so on gradually.
When frequency and power synchronization have been improved, then become a riding master!
② Training in pedaling frequency and strength while riding
The first argument is that both frequency and power are indispensable, and both need to be improved through training.
Without learning how to pedal efficiently, you can’t really learn how to ride a bike, so usually coaches will ask to start with basic pedaling skills, including frequency training.
Neither pedaling frequency nor power is innate, but needs to be trained diligently afterwards, so training frequency and power can only be trained in the process of riding.
The second argument is that without certain strength, how can we achieve high pedaling frequency?
When observing professional riders, Tour de France riders (road bikes), their pedaling should be 100-120/minute on flat roads (in individual time trials, it will be 120-150/minute) and 80-90/minute on climbs.
This is done to keep lactic acid from building up in excess. Super strong leg muscle strength is the first thing, in strength to a certain level in training high pedal frequency, to have good results.
High pedaling frequency is good, but needs strength as support.
We found it in the cycling process. If it is high, but the strength can not keep up, cycling climbing time is particularly prominent.
So, usually more training leg strength, strength to keep up, and then training pedaling frequency, it will be much easier.
The main thing is to keep riding, keep summing up riding experience, enjoy the fun of riding, get real knowledge in practice, and hone our will in riding.
Maybe we can’t become riding masters, but we participate, we ride, we are healthy, and we are happy.
How can we improve the riding pedaling frequency?
Smooth, high-speed pedaling is the key to riding like a pro.
You can recognize an experienced rider by this. They sit on the seat, their upper body as steady as a mountain, while their legs run like pistons at high speed.
There is no extra movement, no wobble, just like a top performance engine that constantly generates power.
The high RPM of professional riders comes naturally through practice. Use a smaller gear ratio, so your heart rate does not exceed 80% of your maximum heart rate.
① Lower your seat by 2-3mm to reduce your body’s tendency to bounce at high RPM (many of you may have this feeling of your body bouncing up and down at high RPM as if you were sitting in a spring).
Later, you can gradually adjust the seat back to the correct height.
② Focus on pulling the pedal and sliding it past the lowest point to eliminate the pedal dead spot. (using self-locking is more focused on horizontal force, i.e. “drag, pull,” rather than vertical “pedal, lift”)
③ Use a pedaling frequency meter as physiological feedback, gradually increase the speed, each time you want to be able to ride comfortably at this speed for 5 minutes.
④ Spend a few minutes each ride pedaling at high RPM. The last 5 minutes of warm-up is the best time.
Do I still need a pedaling frequency when going uphill?
Generally 90-100 is the pedaling frequency for efficient speed riding or intensity training on flat roads.
It is usually not that high when climbing hills and 70-80 is good when climbing.
When you start going uphill, you can keep the same pedaling frequency at the beginning.
But as the gradient increases, it becomes difficult to keep the same pedaling frequency at the beginning, so you need to change gears (discs usually change to small disc before going uphill) to maintain the original, and the speed decreases.
If you are going up a long hill, you may need to change gears several times to maintain the correct pedaling frequency and make your muscles less fatigued.
If you change gears too early, you will suddenly feel the loss of resistance, not only the feeling of stepping on the ground, but also a sudden decrease in speed, and at the same time the knee joint will increase the chance of injury after a certain support force is suddenly removed.
If you change gears too late, due to the increase of the slope, you will feel the increasing resistance under the foot, and the pedaling frequency can not be maintained at all.
At this time, you need to shake your body to increase the pedaling strength or use stronger strength to barely support the original pedaling frequency.
The knee joint will be injured due to excessive pressure. Therefore, changing gears too early or too late is inappropriate and can cause joint injuries.
When is the best time to change gears? As the slope increases, the speed gradually decreases. Maybe usually you will change gears when feeling that the speed is about to decrease (i.e. the pedaling frequency starts to be a bit difficult to maintain), maintaining the original pedaling strength.
But it is likely that after the gear change will not last long and will be difficult to maintain, then the next time you feel that it will be difficult to maintain the gear change, and so on.
If the slope is particularly steep, and there is no way to change the original frequency even after shifting gears, then don’t force yourself to hold on, just slow down a bit, or at least don’t let yourself get hurt.
Because we are a touring rider, not a professional competition, you don’t have to force yourself to challenge yourself once in a while, it depends on your mood and physical strength.
Myths about high pedaling frequency
High pedaling frequency usually causes an increase in heart rate.
When the pedaling frequency is accelerated, each pedaling effort is reduced, so the burden on the muscular system is reduced, while the burden on the cardiovascular system is increased.
Your breathing will become coarse. And when the it is lower, breathing will be much better, but the thighs will be more tired.
So the key is to find your “optimal” pedaling frequency, which should be the balance between your muscular and cardiovascular system.
Finding your own optimal pedaling frequency is a matter of trial and error.
To practice pedaling frequency is actually to practice correct and reasonable pedaling, which can help to use physical strength more rationally, cycling, if you want to achieve intensity speed, strength is the foundation, it is the king.
Many girls are worried that riding will not make their legs ugly, but otherwise, a high pedal frequency ride that suits you will make your legs thinner and beautiful muscles!