Spinning Blog
Cadence and Resistance and the Effectiveness of Your Ride
by Jackie Coxjackie cox

Hello fellow Spinners! I just got done the Cadence, Heart Rate and Class Design Workshop and boy was it an eye opener! Even though I have been teaching Spin for 14 years, I learned a lot of valuable tools to incorporate in class and in my own ride. Meg McNeely was our master Spinning instructor and she did an unbelievable job explaining the relationship between cadence and resistance and how this will dictate your ride and your overall fitness gains.

So what is cadence? Cadence is pedaling speed in revolutions per minute (RPM). What are the correct cadence ranges for an effective and safe ride? 80-110 RPM on flats and 50-80 RPM on hills. These are the numbers we use to tell you how fast you should be going during the class, which can be read on your monitor.

Did you know that if you pedal over 110 RPM, your bike starts to do the work for you? Here are some interesting facts about pedaling over 110 RPM:
PEDALING FASTER THAN 110 RPM IS UNREALISTIC BECAUSE:
*Low power to resistance ratio.
*It’s wasted energy.
PEDALING FASTER THAN 110 RPM IS COUNTERPRODUCTIVE BECAUSE:
*The momentum of the heavy flywheel is turning the crank arms—the flywheel is doing all the work!
*You won’t train the nervous system properly.
*You aren’t as likely to achieve your performance and weight loss goals.
*You won’t build leg strength.
IS IT EVER OK TO PEDAL FASTER THAN 110 RPM?
Students who have a high power-to-resistance ratio may occasionally attain these leg speeds. This means they have the ability to overcome resistance through strength and speed.
*The rare, highly skilled students (often cyclists) who have mastered a smooth pedal stroke and who understand the dynamics of cadence can pedal faster than 110 RPM for limited periods.
*A high-performance sprint, used judiciously in your class profiles (i.e., rarely), may require cadences over 110 RPM for 10–20 seconds.

How does cadence against resistance dictate your ride and your long term fitness goals?
1. If you ride at high RPM with little tension, you will see short term results. Examples of short term results would be maybe a light sweat, a little increase in your heart rate and some calorie burn.
2. 2. If you have too high tension and ride at a very low RPM, you will see negative long term results. The only example of this is injury to the knees or back!
3. If you correlate your cadence with the proper amount of tension, you will see positive long term results! Fat loss, muscle gain, muscle definition, improved resting heart rate, improved lactate threshold, the capability to maintain a higher heart rate for longer periods of time and over all a stronger more effective ride.

At Focus Fitness Main Line, our instructors are trained to put you through a workout that will make you stronger and fitter so when you ride with us, attempt to follow our lead in regards to RPM’s and tension and you will feel and see the difference!