If you’re a cyclist training for competition or just want to burn more fat during exercise when biking, it’s good to know whether you should pedal quickly or at slower cadences. Active.com explains why pedaling at fast rates is more efficient.
The article recommends cyclists use fast pedaling rates of 80-85 rpm (revolutions per minute), whether on a flat terrain or on an incline. This is better than slow, high-force pedaling.
The reason is that we rely on carbohydrates or fats in our muscles differently depending on the types of muscle contractions and, thus, muscle cells used:
Athletes broke down the carbohydrate in their muscles at a greater rate when the 50 rpm strategy was used, while the 100 rpm cadence produced a greater reliance on fat
If you’re interested in the science behind it, check out the article, which explains how different speeds trigger our muscles’ fast-twitch fibers versus slow-twitch cells, which turn out to be more efficient at burning fat. But, basically, pedal faster!