Oxygenation, local muscle oxygen consumption and joint specific power in cycling: the effect of cadence at a constant external work rate

Eur J Appl Physiol. 2016 Jun;116(6):1207-17. doi: 10.1007/s00421-016-3379-x. Epub 2016 Apr 28.


Purpose: The present study investigates the effect of cadence on joint specific power and oxygenation and local muscle oxygen consumption in the vastus lateralis and vastus medialis in addition to the relationship between joint specific power and local muscle oxygen consumption (mVO2).

Methods: Seventeen recreationally active cyclists performed 6 stages of constant load cycling using cadences of 60, 70, 80, 90, 100 and 110 rpm. Joint specific power was calculated using inverse dynamics and mVO2 and oxygenation were measured using near-infrared spectroscopy.

Results: Increasing cadence led to increased knee joint power and decreased hip joint power while the ankle joint was unaffected. Increasing cadence also led to an increased deoxygenation in both the vastus lateralis and vastus medialis. Vastus lateralis mVO2 increased when cadence was increased. No effect of cadence was found for vastus medialis mVO2.

Conclusion: This study demonstrates a different effect of cadence on the mVO2 of the vastus lateralis and vastus medialis. The combined mVO2 of the vastus lateralis and medialis showed a linear increase with increasing knee joint specific power, demonstrating that the muscles combined related to power generated over the joint.

Keywords: Cadence; Cycling; Joint specific power; Muscle VO2; Near-infrared spectroscopy.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bicycling / physiology*
  • Energy Transfer / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Knee Joint / physiology*
  • Male
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Oxygen / physiology*
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology*
  • Physical Exertion / physiology*
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology


  • Oxygen