European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 109, Issue 6, pp 1103–1110 | Cite as

The energetically optimal cadence decreases after prolonged cycling exercise

  • Simon AnnaheimEmail author
  • Urs Boutellier
  • Götz Kohler
Original Article


This study investigated the change in the energetically optimal cadence after prolonged cycling. The energetically optimal cadence (EOC) was determined in 14 experienced cyclists by pulmonary gas exchange at six different cadences (100–50 rpm at 10 rpm intervals). The determination of the EOC was repeated after a prolonged cycling exercise of 55 min duration, where cadence was fixed either at high (>95 rpm) or low (<55 rpm) pedalling rates. The EOC decreased after prolonged cycling exercise at a high as well as at a low fixed cadence (P < 0.01). According to the generalized muscle equations of Hill, this indicates that most likely more type I muscle fibres contribute to muscular power output after fatiguing cycling exercise compared to cycling in the beginning of an exercise bout. We suggest that the determination of EOC might be a potential non-invasive method to detect the qualitative changes in activated muscle fibres, which needs further investigation.


Cycling Pedalling rate Endurance exercise Muscle fibre type 



We thank Dr. Ruth Briggs for commenting and revising the manuscript. The experiments comply with the current laws of Switzerland.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Simon Annaheim
    • 1
    Email author
  • Urs Boutellier
    • 1
    • 2
  • Götz Kohler
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Exercise Physiology, Institute of Human Movement Sciences, ETH ZurichZurichSwitzerland
  2. 2.Institute of Physiology, Zurich Center for Integrative Human Physiology (ZIHP)University of ZurichZurichSwitzerland
  3. 3.Radiation Oncology, University Hospital of BaselBaselSwitzerland
  4. 4.Biophysical Chemistry, BiocenterUniversity of BaselBaselSwitzerland

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