Sylvester, J. L., Burdette, S. D., & Hill, D. W. (2011). The effect of pedaling cadence on the kinetics of oxygen uptake during severe intensity exercise. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 43(5). Supplement abstract 1667.

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"During exhaustive severe intensity exercise, the oxygen uptake (VO2) increases exponentially, with a time constant of -30 seconds. After ~1 to 2 min, a slow-component emerges and drives the VO2 to its maximum. Pedaling cadence contributes to the metabolic demand at a given work rate and affects several responses to cycling exercise."

This study determined the effect of pedaling cadence on parameters of the two-component VO2 response profile during severe intensity exercise. Ss (M = 10; F = 8) performed exhaustive constant-power cycle ergometer tests using pedaling cadences of 60, 80, and 100 rpm.

Times to exhaustion were shorter at higher cadences whereas VO2 values were the same at all cadences. The mean response time of the primary response was faster at higher pedaling cadences and the time delay before the slow-component was shorter at higher cadences. The higher cadences speed the primary or fundamental response and hasten the emergence of the slow-component.

Implication. Pedaling cadence affects the VO2 response profile. This has implications for sports where varying rates of cyclic movements occur (rowing, running, swimming, kayaking, cycling, etc.). When considering higher rates of movements, the cost of the change has to be considered because the relationship is exponential between rates and VO2. A small change in rate could demand a much greater change in oxygen uptake.

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