The influence of cadence and power output on force application and in-shoe pressure distribution during cycling by competitive and recreational cyclists

J Sports Sci. 2000 Mar;18(3):173-81. doi: 10.1080/026404100365072.


The aim of this study was to determine the response of cyclists to manipulations of cadence and power output in terms of force application and plantar pressure distribution. Two groups of cyclists, 17 recreational and 12 competitive, rode at three nominal cadences (60, 80, 100 rev x min(-1)) and four power outputs (100, 200, 300, 400 W) while simultaneous force and in-shoe pressure data were collected. Two piezoelectric triaxial force transducers mounted in the right pedal measured components of the pedal force and orientation, and a discrete transducer system with 12 transducers recorded the in-shoe pressures. Force application was characterized by calculating peak resultant and peak effective pedal forces and positive and negative impulses. In-shoe pressures were analysed as peak pressures and as the percent relative load. The force data showed no significant group effect but there was a cadence and power main effect. The impulse data showed a significant three-way interaction. Increased cadence resulted in a decreased positive impulse, while increased power output resulted in an increased impulse. The competitive group produced less positive impulse but the difference became less at higher cadences. Few between-group differences were found in pressure, notable only in the pressure under the first metatarsal region. This showed a consistent pattern of in-shoe pressure distribution, where the primary loading structures were the first metatarsal and hallux. There was no indication that pressure at specific sites influenced the pedal force application. The absence of group differences indicated that pressure distribution was not the result of training, but reflected the intrinsic relationship between the foot, the shoe and the pedal.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Bicycling / physiology*
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Exercise Test
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pressure*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Shoes
  • Stress, Mechanical