Professional cyclists pedal at a very high cadence, often over 100 revolutions per minute, for an improved efficiency. They can sustain very high exercise intensity for a longer period of time. Do you find pedaling like Chris Froome or other a Tour de France winners appealing? But research suggests that you should not try it as scientists have found that pedaling like a professional cyclist may actually reduce rather than improve your performance.
The research team looked at a common measure of aerobic fitness called VO2 max. Federico Formenti from University of Oxford said, "Pedaling faster might work for Tour de France winners but it probably won't work for the rest of us. At low exercise intensity, increasing cadence (rate of pedaling) mostly results in a less effective stroke, reducing efficiency."
The researchers found that this was less effective for recreational cyclists. Formenti said, "We used mathematical models to show the degree to which energy required to spin the legs increases with cadence."
The study said, "At a low exercise intensity of 50 Watts, a recreational cyclist trying to pedal like a professional at 110 revolutions per minute will use more than 60% of their power just to spin their legs. Only 40% is going into overcoming the cycling resistance. To translate that to cycling on the road - only 40% of the energy you burn would be going into moving the bike forward."
The findings appeared in Physiological Reports.