If you're a cyclist training for competition or just want to burn more fat during exercise when biking, it's good to know whether you should pedal quickly or at slower cadences. Active.com explains why pedalling at fast rates is more efficient.
Image: Rob Annis.
The article recommends cyclists use fast pedaling rates of 80-85rpm, whether on a flat terrain or on an incline. This is better than slow, high-force pedalling.
The reason is that we rely on carbohydrates or fats in our muscles differently depending on the types of muscle contractions and, thus, muscle cells used:
Athletes broke down the carbohydrate in their muscles at a greater rate when the 50rpm strategy was used, while the 100rpm cadence produced a greater reliance on fat.
If you're interested in the science behind it, check out the article linked below, which explains how different speeds trigger our muscles' fast-twitch fibres versus slow-twitch cells, which turn out to be more efficient at burning fat. But, basically, pedal faster!
Why fast pedaling makes cyclists more efficient [Active.com]