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Hi Joe, did you read some paper about mashers being less economical than spinners? I became curious because for the same individual, I know high cadeces are less economical than low cadences. Maybe this is not the rule for professional top athetes as i read in a paper by Alejando Lucía.

So, thank you!!

Joe Friel

Kanelafreeride--There's quite a bit of research on this. Go to PubMed to find it. Basically, these studies show that newbies are more economical (as measured by gas analysis) at low cadences. Interestingly, veteran athletes tend to be also, but when told to pedal at what feels like a more efficient cadence the vets pedal much faster. So there is some question as to what exactly economy is.


Can you please describe this comment in greater detail - what causes this to be true?

"Interestingly, research reveals that athletes with high aerobic capacities tend to be somewhat less economical than athletes of otherwise similar ability with lower aerobic capacities."


I'm currently reading Asker E. Jeukendrup's High Performance Cycling and the chapter on economy seems to suggest low cadence 50-60RPM is more efficient metabolically.

"During ultra-endurance cycling (i.e. >4h), performance might be improved through the use of a relatively low cadence (70-90rpm), since lower cadences have been shown to improve cycling economy and lower energy demands."



I've always thought of spinning as = less force through the muscle + more load on aerobic system for a given output of watts.

As an older rider and find I cant mash like the young guys up the hills anymore and tend to spin. An elite rider in our club always used to tell me to "spin" more, which helped alot.

look forward to part 2 joe! thanks.

Todd Smiland


You make the statement "For example, in cycling “mashers” are less economical than “spinners.” How rapidly and smoothly you apply torque to the pedals has a significant effect on performance."

Yet, in part II none of your examples given for improving economy reference or support this claim. Researchers such as Coyle, Martin, and Coggan would claim that for cycling, pedaling economically by pedaling circles is a fallacy. Economy is all about fiber type on the bike.

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