Cadence selection affects metabolic responses during cycling and subsequent running time to fatigue

Br J Sports Med. 2005 May;39(5):267-72. doi: 10.1136/bjsm.2004.011668.


Objectives: To investigate the effect of cadence selection during the final minutes of cycling on metabolic responses, stride pattern, and subsequent running time to fatigue.

Methods: Eight triathletes performed, in a laboratory setting, two incremental tests (running and cycling) to determine peak oxygen uptake (VO2PEAK) and the lactate threshold (LT), and three cycle-run combinations. During the cycle-run sessions, subjects completed a 30 minute cycling bout (90% of LT) at (a) the freely chosen cadence (FCC, 94 (5) rpm), (b) the FCC during the first 20 minutes and FCC-20% during the last 10 minutes (FCC-20%, 74 (3) rpm), or (c) the FCC during the first 20 minutes and FCC+20% during the last 10 minutes (FCC+20%, 109 (5) rpm). After each cycling bout, running time to fatigue (Tmax) was determined at 85% of maximal velocity.

Results: A significant increase in Tmax was found after FCC-20% (894 (199) seconds) compared with FCC and FCC+20% (651 (212) and 624 (214) seconds respectively). VO2, ventilation, heart rate, and blood lactate concentrations were significantly reduced after 30 minutes of cycling at FCC-20% compared with FCC+20%. A significant increase in VO2 was reported between the 3rd and 10th minute of all Tmax sessions, without any significant differences between sessions. Stride pattern and metabolic variables were not significantly different between Tmax sessions.

Conclusions: The increase in Tmax after FCC-20% may be associated with the lower metabolic load during the final minutes of cycling compared with the other sessions. However, the lack of significant differences in metabolic responses and stride pattern between the run sessions suggests that other mechanisms, such as changes in muscular activity, probably contribute to the effects of cadence variation on Tmax

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bicycling / physiology*
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology
  • Exercise Test / methods
  • Fatigue / metabolism*
  • Heart Rate / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle Fatigue / physiology
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology
  • Physical Endurance / physiology
  • Running / physiology*
  • Swimming / physiology
  • Time Factors