Skip to main content
Log in

Linear increase in optimal pedal rate with increased power output in cycle ergometry

  • Published:
European Journal of Applied Physiology and Occupational Physiology Aims and scope Submit manuscript

Summary

This experiment was designed to estimate the optimum pedal rates at various power outputs on the cycle ergometer. Five trained bicycle racers performed five progressive maximal tests on the ergometer. Each rode at pedal rates of 40, 60, 80, 100, and 120 rev·min−1. Oxygen uptake and heart rate were determined from each test and plotted against pedal rate for power outputs of 100, 150, 200, 250, and 300 W. Both \(\dot V_{{\text{O}}_{\text{2}} }\)and heart rate differed significantly among pedal rates at equivalent power outputs, the variation following a parabolic curve. The low point in the curve was taken as the optimal pedal rate; i.e., the pedal rate which elicited the lowest heart rate or \(\dot V_{{\text{O}}_{\text{2}} }\)for a given power output. When the optimum was plotted against power output the variation was linear. These results indicate that an optimum pedal rate exists in this group of cyclists. This optimum pedal rate increases with power output, and when our study is compared to studies in which elite racers, or non-racers were used, the optimum seems to increase with the skill of the rider.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Similar content being viewed by others

References

  • åstrand PO, Rodahl K (1977) Textbook of work physiology. 2 ed. McGraw Hill Book Co, New York, p 341

    Google Scholar 

  • Dickinson S (1928) The dynamics of bicycle pedalling. Proc Roy Soc B 103: 225–233

    Google Scholar 

  • Dickinson S (1929) The efficiency of bicycle-pedalling as affected by speed and load. J Physiol [Lond] 67: 242–255

    Google Scholar 

  • Eckermann P, Millahn HP (1967) Der Einflu\ der Drehzahl auf die Herzfrequenz und die Sauerstoffaufnahme bei konstanter Leistung am Fahrradergometer. Int Z Angew Physiol [einschl Arbeitsphysiol] 23: 340–344

    Google Scholar 

  • Garry RC, Wishart GM (1931) On the existence of a most efficient speed in bicycle pedalling, and the problem of determining human muscular efficiency. J Physiol [Lond] 72: 425–437

    Google Scholar 

  • Hagberg JM, Mullin JP, Giese MD, Spitznagel E (1981) Effect of pedalling rate on submaximal exercise responses of competitive cyclists. J Appl Physiol 51: 447–451

    Google Scholar 

  • Hess P, Seusing J (1963) Der Einflu\ der Tretfrequenz und des Pedaldruckes auf die Sauerstoffaufnahme bei Untersuchungen am Ergometer. Int Z Angew Physiol [einschl Arbeitsphysiol] 19: 468–475

    Google Scholar 

  • McKay GA, Banister EW (1976) A comparison of maximum oxygen uptake determination by bicycle ergometry at various pedalling frequencies and by treadmill running at various speeds. Eur J Appl Physiol 35: 191–200

    Google Scholar 

  • Michielli DW, Stricevic M (1977) Various pedalling frequencies at equivalent power outputs. NY State J Med 77: 744–746

    Google Scholar 

  • Powers SK, Beadle RE, Mangum M (1984) Exercies efficiency during arm ergometry: effects of speed and work rate. J Appl Physiol 56: 495–499

    Google Scholar 

  • Saltin B, åstrand PO (1967) Maximal oxygen uptake in athletes. J Appl Physiol 23: 353–358

    Google Scholar 

  • Seabury JJ, Adams WC, Ramey MR (1977) Influence of pedalling rate and power output on energy expenditure during bicycle ergometry. Ergonomics 20: 491–498

    Google Scholar 

  • Whitt FR, Wilson DG (1974) Bicycling science. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, pp 32–34

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Coast, J.R., Welch, H.G. Linear increase in optimal pedal rate with increased power output in cycle ergometry. Europ. J. Appl. Physiol. 53, 339–342 (1985). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00422850

Download citation

  • Accepted:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00422850

Key words

Navigation