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How to effectively improve our pedaling frequency?
As early as 1929, Hartree and Hill pointed out the existence of an optimal pedaling 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 not able 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 the optimal pedaling frequency gradually increased to 100 rpm when projecting the oxygen consumption from riding without resistance to riding with resistance, and the lowest consumption pedaling frequency was found to be between 90 rpm and 100 rpm. This matches the pedaling frequency chosen by actual cyclists. Furthermore, the investigated optimal frequency was found to be between 90rpm and 100rpm. It is clear that leg muscle tone is one of the determining factors in cycling.
So, where do we start with pedaling frequency training and how do we improve our pedaling frequency?
Smooth, high-speed pedaling is the key to riding like a professional rider. You can recognize an experienced rider by this. They are sitting on the seat, their upper body as steady as a mountain, while their legs are running like pistons at high speed. There is no extra movement, no wobble, just like a top-performance engine that generates power constantly.
The high revs of professional riders come naturally through practice. Use smaller gear ratios so your heart rate doesn't exceed 80% of your maximum heart rate.
1. Lower your seat by 2-3mm to reduce the tendency of your body 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 are sitting on a spring). Later, you can gradually adjust the car seat back to the correct height.
2. Focus your attention on pulling the pedal to slide over the lowest point to eliminate pedal dead spot. (My personal feeling is that using self-locking is more focused on horizontal force, i.e. "drag, pull", rather than vertical "pedal, lift")
3. Use a meter with pedaling frequency as a 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 per ride pedaling at high RPM, the last 5 minutes during warm-up is the best time.