Have you ever wondered how fast your legs should be spinning on the bike? Stick around as we go through the difference between high and low cadence.
How fast should I be spinning?
It will depend on the person’s stability and comfortability with his bike. Most people will be around 90 to 95. But that does not mean that it is any better or worse to anyone. Here is a measurement to describe which cadence you fall in:
- Very slow: 50 – 70 RPM
- Slow: 70 – 80 RPM
- Moderate: 80 – 90 RPM
- Fast: 90 – 100 RPM
- Very Fast: 100 – 110 RPM
- Extremely Fast: 100+ RPM
If your RPM is anything under 90, you are considered as low cadence, and if it is more than 90, then you are a high cadence.
In this article, you will identify whether you are a masher – low cadence or a spinner – high cadence and the difference between high and low cadence.
High cadence happens when you take the load off of your muscles, and it does not beat them up nearly as much because your legs do not have as much resistance on the pedals.
It puts most of the pressure on your cardiovascular system, your lungs, and your heart. What you will end up happening is probably be breathing more massive, and your heartbeat will be a little bit higher.
Your heart and lungs can take frequent suffering for long periods, while your muscles will fatigue relatively quickly.
This approach is often useful for long endurance events because when your muscles are getting broken down in long endurance events, you are setting yourself up for either a bad run or a bonk later in the bike and a massive drop-off in power.
Spinning fast in a low gear allows you to have high-speed accelerations because you can hit up your cadence even more to boost your speed.
It is not commonly accepted as the best method because there are a lot of great cyclists that have a cadence in the high 80s and the low 90s. These are often referred to as mashers on the pedal or low cadence.
The benefit of having a lower cadence is that you can probably put out a fair bit more power because the pressure on the pedals is in a higher gear. You are pushing harder. You are putting out more with your muscular system.
Your heart rate is going to be lower, and you are not going to be breathing nearly as heavy as you would with a high cadence.
If you are a low cadence riding in a hard gear taxes your skeletal muscles, if your legs are enormous and powerful, this will work for you.
The chances are that you are presumably going to be a little bit faster, but it is going to be at the risk of having a terrible disaster later in the bike if your legs have been beaten up too much on the bike and you are stiff or tired of the run.
The best thing you can make is try both cadences and see what works for you. The only means to do this is by performing a time trial multiple times, using a different cadence each time.
You can also do this by training a lot and see how your body reacts. You need to prepare a lot. You need to go for a long ride for both high and low cadence. You need to make short trips for both high and low cadence. Do brick workouts after a low or high cadence bike.
See where your body reacts better. See if you are ready to run after and see how the run goes when you are doing a brick workout. See how it feels afterward. Because, even if you have tested everything, you might find yourself having a natural rhythm to your cadence that you find better for you.
If there is one thing that makes you feel like you should go up to your cadence or drop it down a little bit to the point where you are taxing your muscles and cardiovascular system in the 90 to 95 cadence range, then you can do it.
You will end up doing that by controlled workouts where you are watching your cadence and accurately hitting the power zones. If you can hit those same power zones, make sure to do it with the specific cadence that you are trying to build.
What is going to happen is, the more you do it, the easier it will feel.
And gradually, if you are at a very high cadence, your cadence will come down and feel a little bit more natural within the range of 90 to 95; or if you have a super low cadence, you can bring it up into the range of 90 to 95 if you strive harder.
Both cadences will vary depending on a person’s stamina, stability, and comfortability with their bike which will make them faster during their race.
The right cadence is different for everyone and will vary depending on the terrain. So, you do not have to freak out about having the same cadence with others.
With that being said, if it will make you feel uncomfortable doing a high cadence, hence you are a low cadence person, or if you are a high cadence person but trying to pursue a low cadence, then do not do it.
It will only make you feel horrible.
As far as cadence goes, I hope that this article will help you to understand where the most of the field in triathlons is and what it means to your body whether you are low and mashing or high and not putting out nearly as much power as you can be.