The Great Cadence Debate: References

Here is a list of the research I used for my Triathlon Cadence Series in April. While not an exhaustive list, it includes many of the most relevant articles on the topic. Most interesting in a brand new publication by Whitty et al. showing that low cadence interval training improves cycling performance more than high cadence interval training WITHOUT ALTERING preferred cadence. In other words, train low (cadence), but default to a higher cadence (~90 rpm). On a side note, my average cadence for the recent USAT Duathlon National Championships was 97 rpm at an Avg HR of 158; well under my bike threshold HR. While not my best bike split for sure, I posted two solid runs and a 4th in AG finish.


Bertucci W, Grappe F, Girard A, Betik A, Rouillon JD. 2005. Effects on the crank torque profile when changing pedalling cadence in level ground and uphill road cycling. J. Biomech. 38: 1003-1010

Chavarren, J., And J. A. L. Calbet. 1999. Cycling efficiency and ped- aling frequency in road cyclists. Eur. J. Appl. Physiol. 80:555– 563

Coast J. R., and H. G. Welch. 1985. Linear increase in optimal pedalling rate with increased power output in cycle ergometry. Eur. J. Appl. Physiol. 53:339–344

Foss O, Hallen J. 2004. The most economical cadence increases with increasing workload. Eur. J. Appl. Physiol. 92: 443-451

Gottschall J.S., and Palmer B.M. 2002. The acute effects of prior cycling cadence on running performance and kinematics. 34 (9): 1518-1522.

Harnish C., King D., and Swensen T. (2007). Effect of cycling position on oxygen uptake and preferred cadence in trained cyclists during hill climbing at various power outputs. Euro J Appl Physiol. 99(4): 387-391

Lucia A, Hoyos J, Chicharro JL. 2001. Preferred pedalling cadence in professional cycling. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc. 33: 1361-1366

Lucia A, San Juan AF, Montilla M, CaNete S, Santalla A, Earnest C, Perez M. 2004. In professional road cyclists, low pedaling cadences are less efficient. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc. 36: 1048-1054

Marsh AP, Martin PE. 1997. Effect of cycling experience, aerobic power, and power output on preferred and most economical cycling cadences. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc. 29: 1225-1232

Paton CD, Hopkins WG, Cook C. 2009. Effects of low- vs. high-cadence interval training on cycling performance. J. Strength Cond. Res. 23: 1758-1763

Stebbins CL, Moore JL, Casazza GA. 2014. Effects of cadence on aerobic capacity following a prolonged, varied intensity cycling trial. J. Sports Sci. Med. 13: 114-119

Takaishi T, Yasuda Y, Ono T, Moritani T. 1996. Optimal pedaling rate estimated from neuromuscular fatigue for cyclists. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc. 28: 1492-1497

Tew, G. 2005. The effect of cycling cadence on subsequent 10km running performance in well-trained triathletes. Journal of Sports Science and Medicine: 4, 342-353

Vercruyssen F, Brisswalter J. 2010. Which factors determine the freely chosen cadence during submaximal cycling? J. Sci. Med. Sport 13: 225-231

Vercruyssen, F., J. Brisswalter, C. Hausswirth, T. Bernard, O. Bernard, And J-M. Vallier. (2002) Influence of cycling cadence on subsequent running performance in triathletes. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., 34 (3), 530–536

Whitty AG, Murphy AJ, Coutts AJ, Watsford ML. 2016. The effect of low- vs high-cadence interval training on the freely chosen cadence and performance in endurance-trained cyclists. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism. ePub

Whitty AG, Murphy AJ, Coutts AJ, Watsford ML. 2009. Factors associated with the selection of the freely chosen cadence in non-cyclists. Eur. J. Appl. Physiol. 106: 705-712

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