Mastering Cadence Ranges

Cuntitledadence is easy to monitor when riding an indoor bike platform such as the Keiser M3 or Spinner Blade Ion. The computer display provides instant feedback displaying your RPM’s based on your power output and resistance. However, I encounter a rider once in a while who is pedaling too fast, too slow, mashing the pedals, bouncing excessively or appears to have the incorrect rotations needed for the segment being taught. Here are some simple rules to help you understand cadence, its role in building endurance and stamina as well as how to quickly apply corrective measures to achieve proper cadence numbers:

 

What is Cadence?

Cadence is defined as pedaling speed in revolutions per minute (RPM). For example, a cadence of 80 RPM means that one pedal makes a complete revolution 80 times in one minute. If you don’t have a computer that displays cadence, you can measure your cadence with relative accuracy by counting the number of complete revolutions of one foot for 30 seconds and multiply by two.

 

Mistakes to Avoid

According to Spinning.com, a common mistake is to pedal very fast with very little resistance. So how fast is too fast? If your cadence is over 110 RPM, it’s too fast. But even if 9d50a75898a23717d3334b1a2e1d63fcyour cadence is under 110, it still might be too fast, relative to the amount of resistance you’ve applied to the flywheel. If you find yourself bouncing in the saddle, that’s a good indication that you’re not in control of your pedal stroke, (and therefore your cadence is too high relative to the amount of resistance you have on the flywheel). When your cadence is too high with too little resistance, your pedals are turning simply because of the momentum of the weighted flywheel. That’s right—the flywheel is doing all the work! Not only does that create an inefficient workout (since your muscles don’t have to do any of the work), but it can also be unsafe if the pedals get out of your control.

 

Cadence Values

Cadence and resistance work hand-in-hand. Because of the platform you are using, the actual numbers vary based on the bike’s hardware, flywheel weight and its design (front or rear positioning). For example, the cadence range for flat roads is from 80-110rpm (Spinning) and 70-90rpm (Schwinn), and for hills/climbing the cadence range is between 60-80rpm (both Spinning & Schwinn). Keiser recommends an overall lower/upper limits of 60-110rpms. There are other platforms that could offer different ranges. Without getting sidetracked with the selected bike platform and based on common grounds between bike platforms I reviewed (Spinner, Keiser & Schwinn), try to keep these numbers in mind:cadence

 

Workout Intensity

The intensity of the workout is modulated in two ways:

  1. By varying the resistance on a flywheel attached to the pedals.

The resistance is controlled by a knob, wheel or lever that the rider operates, causing the flywheel brake to tighten. Usually riders who can’t pedal at the resistance called out by the instructor are encouraged to ride at a level at which they feel comfortable yet challenged.

 

  1. By changing the cadence (the speed at which the pedals turn).

Pedaling at a higher rate expends more energy than pedaling at a lower rate with the same resistance. Correct cadence is between the range of 80 to 110 RPM for seated flat, standing flat (running) and jumping and 60 to 80 RPM for seated climb, standing climb, running with resistance and jumps on a hill. Sprints are taken under hill resistance building speed up to no more than 110 RPM. Seated sprints are most suitable as the rider maintains full control of posture at all times and will avoid falling due to exhaustion. A correct sprint should last from 10 to 25 seconds, leaving the rider exhausted in the 85 to 92% max heart rate range.

 

Instructor Tips: Evaluating & Correcting Cadence

How can you tell if one of our participants is cycling outside the recommended cadence? And, secondly, how do you correct this issue?

Riding too fast / above 110RPMs:

– Bouncing on the saddle

– Out of control pedal speed / erratic pedal stroke

– Leg speed significantly higher than mine

 

Riding below 60 RPMs

– Using very high gear / rider appears to be struggling

– Pauses or hesitations in pedal stroke / frequent stops

– Excessive arm movement and forward shoulder posture

– Leg speed significantly slower than mine

 

Optimizing Cadence

In this article, http://www.ideafit.com/fitness-library/optimizing-rpm-0, an important question “Is a Higher Cadence Better?” proves difficult to answer. For example, At 60 rpm, it takes 1.0 seconds for the crank to make a complete revolution, while at 90 rpm, it takes only 0.66 seconds. Thus, the contraction time for involved muscles is 34% less at 90 rpm. Since the force of muscular contraction can limit blood flow and oxygen delivery to the muscle fibers, a shorter contraction time would be beneficial in delaying the onset of fatigue. A higher cadence would also require less pedal force. By decreasing both the amount of force and the length of time that force is applied per pedal stroke, a cyclist could potentially ride longer before fatiguing. This could save the muscles for subsequent efforts and faster recovery. But is a higher cadence better in shorter, more intense efforts like a time trial, or in a threshold-type interval in your indoor cycling class? The elusive answer: it depends – on a variety of factors that are unique to the rider’s biomechanics, prevailing conditions and platform.

 

Final Word: Cadence Variety Ensures Success

As we have discovered, your age, weight, bike platform, ride conditions, resistance and even your state of mind are some of the factors that play into cadence values. Many of these factors vary moment-to-moment based on the instructor’s coaching, routine and music, as well as the level of lactic acid in your muscles. The critical success factor to mastering cadence ranges is simply variety. By training at a broad range of cadence and resistance combinations, you will have greater freedom to choose the most appropriate combination during your workouts.

 

Ride Well…Ride Strong…

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The playlist that made it happen: #HourRecord @thejensie

jvJens Voigt has set a new hour record of 51.115km in Switzerland. Voigt, 43, completed more than 200 laps of the velodrome to better the previous mark of 49.700km by 1.1415km.

“It’s among the biggest highlights of my career,” said Voigt, who will now retire from cycling. I put together the playlist he used:

 

Motivation: Achieve it, Sustain it, Maintain it

Motivation is literally the desire to do things. It’s the difference between waking up before dawn to teach (or attend) a sunrise spinning class or just hanging out around the “Motivation” Road Sign with dramatic clouds and sky.house all day. It’s the crucial element in setting and attaining goals—and research shows you can influence your own levels of motivation and self-control. What motivates me are not just my own health goals and the daily “deposits” I make by teaching cycling classes, but the connection I have made with class attendees.  I enjoy helping others find the same passion in working out as I do. Besides, working out with others is a great stress reliever and gives me unbeatable energy. I am inspired by the participants in my class, from the 70 year old retired veteran, to the young lady who overcame severe injuries from an accident, to the widowed father of three who managed to lose over 50 pounds, quit smoking and lower his blood pressure in less than 6 months. I am uplifted by their perseverance and determination; they are the true heroes – I just show up and play the music.

Therefore the secret to achieve motivation, sustain it and maintain it is to tap into the limitless supply of positive energy from your class participants. Connect with them and together you can make it happen. Below is the motivation quick reference guide, portions of which is available from Spinning.com (click to enlarge):

MOTIVATION

 

What motivates you? What inspires you to attend cycling classes? Send in your comments.

Eat…Sleep…Ride…Repeat..

Sempre Avanti!

Achieving A High Quality Recovery

bikesWhether you are an indoor cycling instructor like me or just someone who enjoys attending indoor cycling classes, understanding exercise recovery is essential to a healthier lifestyle as well as improved performance and efficiency. No matter how many classes you teach or attend per week (or in another target time period), your body requires a specific amount of time to refuel, rebuild and repair. When you train and work out, the complete benefits are only realized after a full recovery has been achieved. What really matters is the quality of the recovery rather than the quantity.

 

  • Quality Sleep

A restful and consistent sleep pattern is essential to recovery. Slow wave sleep, often referred to as deep sleep, is the constructive phase of sleep for sleeprecuperation of the mind-body system in which it rebuilds itself after each day. Growth hormones are secreted to facilitate the healing of muscles as well as repairing damage to any tissues. Lastly, glial cells within the brain are restored with sugars to provide energy for the brain (for more details about the importance of sleep, please refer to this article http://www.hgi.org.uk/archive/sleepanddream1.htm#.VBjpyD9Mv1J).  We are all familiar with restless sleep, tossing and turning, and then waking up feeling sluggish, unmotivated and lethargic. To aid in achieving slow wave sleep, limit your intake of stimulants, heavy meals and alcohol after 6pm.

  • High Quality Nutrition Habits

Speed your recovery by maintaining proper and effective nutrition habits, before, during and after your exercise routines. For example, about an hour before teaching a cycling class, I would eat a banana, a piece of cheese or a boiled egg and intake about 16-32oz of water. During the class, hydration is paramount with another 16-32oz of water to intake as fuel for the ride. After the class ends and for the remainder of the day, I continue hydration and focus on a specific selection of foods that promote recovery, such as:

Low Fat & Protein
Cutting down on all fats from fatty and fried foods, butter, cream, margarine and oils is agreed on by nutritionists as a way of making the modern diet healthier and reducing weight. Cutting down on saturated fat in particular is important for the heart. The job of post-exercise nutrition is to regain hydration status, replenish electrolytes, replace carbohydrate and provide protein for muscle repair and antioxidants to reduce cellular damage (for more details on the role of protein in exercise recovery please refer to this article http://www.active.com/nutrition/articles/the-role-of-protein-in-exercise-recovery)nutrition

High Fiber
Fiber, that largely indigestible part of our food and often the part that really gets us chewing, is responsible for so much good. It helps to lower cholesterol, and keep our weight in check. Wholemeal and grain breads are full of fiber, as are brown rice, barley, lentils, beans and vegetables.

Vitamins, Minerals, and Anti-oxidants
Vegetables, fruit and grains carry an abundance of vitamins, minerals and numerous other natural substances (called phytochemicals). Phytochemicals function as anti-oxidants, which fight off free radicals that could otherwise damage our cells, membranes and DNA. Numerous studies show that people who eat lots of vegies and fruit have lower rates of heart disease and cancer.

Moderate Sugar & Salt
In excess, sugar adds unwanted kilojoules and can displace other more important foods. Limiting your sugar intake is a challenge, especially if you love chocolate like me. However, dark chocolate is known for its antioxidant properties and, in moderation can aid recovery. In addition,  75% of our total salt intake comes from everyday commercial foods, so it is imperative to monitor your salt intake from such sources.

  • Stress Reductionyoga

During recovery days, I take advantage of yoga classes where stretching and meditation have been shown to enhance recovery. Swimming and using the therapy pool can also accelerate recovery. Moreover, scheduling a deep-tissue or regular massage will help increase circulation, reduce stress and promote relaxation.

 

In conclusion, the goal of achieving a high quality recovery depends on the choices you make every day. Establishing a framework for your body to recuperate is essential.

Sleep well, eat well, be well.

Our Wish List as Participants

A fellow instructor had asked me to post this article about cycling instructors’ pet peeves. I received a lot of feedback from instructors as well as class participants. Theseindoor-cycling participants chimed in with their own set of pet peeves directed mostly at instructors. It turns out that we are not perfect either :-). So using this feedback, the following post brings in the participants’ point of view.

Don’t Break Our Eardrums

Yes, sometimes you play the music way way loud. Please do a quick walk through in the studio to assess the acceptable volume levels.

Don’t play the same playlist six weeks in a row

It gets boring after a while. With the abundance of music resources, please consider using the same playlist no more than twice in a row. Also, please be aware of the class demographics and music preferences. Ask us!! We will tell you. Share with us your Twitter/Facebook info so that we can forward you some music suggestions.

Ask us how we are doing & please make eye contact

We do not want to be ignored for the whole ride. Make eye contact and at least once or twice ask if everyone is doing OK and encourage us to be vocal about how the workout is going. We also like it when you call us by our first names and encourage us or congratulate us after a tough challenge. We like compliments! It’s ok if you want to walk around and high five us!

Please start on time and finish a bit early

We all have things to do and places to be. Please start on time and do not worry about the late comers. We also would appreciate it if you could finish the workout a few minutes early so that we can get our stuff and make it to the next class on time or catch the train. But please do not run the class later than the scheduled end time and please do not start late either.

Stop yapping

We hear you. You do not have to talk the whole time.

Don’t pick on me

We appreciate your suggestions and corrections. But please, do not use open mic to target me specifically in front of the whole class. May we suggest that you talk to us off mic (dismount and come over if we are doing something stupid or dangerous).

Please keep it clean

Please do not use profanity or music that includes explicit lyrics. Yes, we know there are uber studios that see no problem with that. However, for the most part we would appreciate it if you could stay away from such playlists.

No bragging, criticizing other instructors or TMI

We honestly would prefer if you do not berate other instructors, staff or management. We simply don’t care. But it shows bad taste. We also don’t care where you’ve been, how many classes you have taught this week and how many likes you have on Facebook. Just keep things focused on the workout. Less is more.

Own the room

Arrive early and please have the music playing before the class starts so that when we walk in, it wouldn’t take too much to get into the groove. Also, let the music play even after the workout has concluded. Please stay for a few minutes at the end in case we have any questions.

Let me be!

Some of us get in the groove and we want to climb when the rest are seated. Sometimes, there is a personal connection to a specific soundtrack that makes us want to go 1000%. Other times, it has been a long day and we are not 100%. Some of us are new to cycling and feel a bit intimidated. Unless we are doing something stupid or dangerous, let us rock it out or just stay seated.

 

Now we have heard from both sides. Please share any comments or insights with me. Thanks!!