In 2007, a study was done and released in the Internal Journal of Sports Medicine examining the relationship between strength level and pedal rate. The purpose of the study was to examine the relationship between strength capacity and preferred and optimal cadence in well trained cyclists.
Eighteen cyclists participated in this study. Each subject completed three sessions. The initial session was to evaluate the maximal isokinetic voluntary contraction level of lower limb. The second session was an incremental test to exhaustion. During the third session subjects performed a constant cycling exercise (20 min) conducted at five randomly cadences (50, 70, 90, 110 rpm) and at the preferred cadence (FCC) at the power reached at ventilatory threshold.
Cardiorespiratory and EMG values were recorded. A metabolic optimum (EOC) was observed at 63.5 +/- 7.8 rpm different from preferred cadence (FCC, 90.6 +/- 9.1 rpm). No difference was found between FCC and the neuromuscular optimal cadence (NOC, 93.5 +/- 4). Significant relationships were found between EOC, NOC and strength capacities (r = – 0.75 and – 0. 63), whereas FCC was only related with VO2max (r = 0.59).
The main finding of this study was that during submaximal cycling energetically optimal cadence or neuromuscular optimum in trained cyclists was significantly related with strength capacity and whereas preferred cadence seems to be related with endurance training status of cyclists.