Cadence vs power

1 month 21 hours ago #35101 by mrcharly
Cadence vs power was created by mrcharly
A little while ago I tried out an app that gave a cadence as well as speed. It showed that my cadence was way up - about 90 for cruising.
My times were stagnating, so I altered my paddling, tried to go back to lower cadence, pulling as hard as I can. Kept paddle length the same.
Hitting big problems with forearms though - they are wearing out well before I'm stressing my aerobic capacity. I have a weak left wrist/forearm from a severe injury, but it is my right arm that is giving out.

This makes me think that I've gone far too far towards to higher power side, and should go back to higher cadence. How do you tell which is best? It is difficult to have the app rigged, since I can't use the setup when running portages. Thinking of trialling speeds on level water for a 5km sections. 

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1 month 19 hours ago #35102 by Wiid
Replied by Wiid on topic Cadence vs power
I had a lot of issues two years ago with severe forearm pump. In difficult and big downwind conditions my right forearm would go rock hard and hurt. This also caused me to lose fine motor function in my right hand. Unable to grip the paddle properly is a recipe for disaster. 

After a lot of talking to biokineticists, fisios, changing paddles and even considering surgery for Myofascial release I ended up adjusting my blade feather down from 60 deg to 55deg. Problem gone.

Get proper data first. 90 strokes a minute sounds like a crazy amount. My stroke rate varies from 40~42 strokes per minute into the wind and on the flat. On downwinds its higher. I also know this is accurate since I wear one of my garmins on my wrist.

See the below picture for stroke rate and stroke distance. Note how the stroke distance drops due to paddling against the current.
Attachments:

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1 month 19 hours ago #35103 by mrcharly
Replied by mrcharly on topic Cadence vs power
I mis-remembered the stroke rate - just checked (it was from 2 months ago).

Average was 66-72 for 10-15km sessions with a high of 85 (probably when briefly sprinting to get past punts). On the best run, I spent 56% of my time just over 11kph and when my stroke rate was over 80 my speed was averaging over 11kph. 

I've dropped my feather from 65 to 60 because I was getting blade flutter and noise - that has settled with the change.

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1 month 15 hours ago #35105 by downwinda
Replied by downwinda on topic Cadence vs power
I've had some issues with my wrists and forearms, and after seeing a sports physiologist that specializes in paddlesports, I was advised to engage my lats more in my stroke.  Wow, what a difference it made!  If you concentrate on using your lats with each stroke, you can immediately feel much less stress on your forearms and wrists.

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1 month 7 hours ago #35108 by RedBack
Replied by RedBack on topic Cadence vs power
Hi guys,
I think you may be talking at cross purposes regarding stroke rate.
Wild's stroke rate sounds like a single-side rate whereas MrCharly is both sides.
Wild's distance per stroke is another indicator.

MrCharly - if you were/are getting blade flutter, then that might cause you to hold the shaft too firmly.
Which is your control hand?  Left or right?  What type of paddle are you using? 
Don't be afraid to play around with feather angles beyond the "accepted range".  (I use 45deg)
Your stroke hand should be relaxed and gripping the shaft only just hard enough to hold it during the stroke.
Are you opening your fingers during the recovery phase of the stroke?
In theory, the blade should find its own path without flutter if your catch is square, your feather angle correct and your body rotation complete.
Good luck.

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4 weeks 1 day ago #35111 by mrcharly
Replied by mrcharly on topic Cadence vs power
Thanks for all of the suggestions.
Since thursday I've made a huge leap in paddling; for a laugh on thursday I climbed into a stability 1 club boat (expecting to fall in immediately). Never managed more than a stab 4 in the past and kept falling out of that. 
I didn't capsize and the boat felt so fast! 
However it is so narrow that my feet completely fill the hull either side of the tiller. 
Today I spent the morning trying out all the club stab 2 and 1 boats (nearly all 2s). No issues with any of them, apart from one that didn't have a pull bar.
Completely changed my paddling, since these boats are so narrow it isn't possible to steer them by shoving the tiller over. Instead it is more like working a white water downriver boat, and using a wide stroke with the blade. Hard to describe: vertical blade, pull back and out hard, but not in an arc like a sweep. The foil lift of the wing and the torque from the pull bar really pulls the bow round.
This has caused a general shift in my paddling style so I will just have to see how much it affects me.

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1 week 2 days ago #35196 by mrcharly
Replied by mrcharly on topic Cadence vs power
I've ditched the 'hard pull' technique and focussed on short strokes with lots of body rotation. Always had reasonable rotation, but now I'm driving almost solely from the body.

It is paying off. My timetrial times, that have absolutely stagnated for months, have dropped by a minute. More significantly, the limiting factor is now running out of breath and energy, rather than getting forearm strain. I'm breathing faster, harder.

More significantly, in club interval sessions I can hold my own with people who absolutely smoked me previously. Finish a session pulling level with people who are a couple of divisions above me with hard-worked abdomen and back muscles, but forearms are ok. 
I think that is a sign that I'm getting it right.

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1 week 2 days ago - 1 week 2 days ago #35199 by SpaceSputnik
Replied by SpaceSputnik on topic Cadence vs power
This is excellent! And it's in line with what Kenny Rice told me.
Very relevant to me too. My primary fitness vehicle is weight lifting and I instinctively apply a lot of power as well. Great for a short burst of acceleration but unsustainable.

Current: Think Evo II, Stellar SES 1g.
Past: Epic V7

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1 week 2 days ago #35200 by kwolfe
Replied by kwolfe on topic Cadence vs power
I'm in the same school as mrcharly.  After the fist year or so of paddling skis, I started getting some serious burning pain in my right shoulder.  I was really pulling the paddle with my shoulders only and too far.  After that, I reassessed my stroke and now pull with my lats and torso and when the paddle gets to the point when the arm starts to bend, the blade comes out of the water.

Best part is, it's made me faster and waaaaaay less fatigue. Win win

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1 week 2 days ago #35201 by waverider
Replied by waverider on topic Cadence vs power
Ive just started training on flat water boats and rotation and really pulling with the body seems much more natural, probably due to not being in a bucket and with a hump. This has really improved my ability to go just as fast but at what feels like a leisurely pace.

Practising on flat water and taking environmental stability out has done wonders to helping the symmetry of my stroke As any inbalance is purely due to your style. eg one arm had more bend than the other, this causes potential plop on one side catch and cavitation on the other. Your butt becomes noticeably off centre on the seat. All these inbalances go unnoticed in a ski on the open water. My entire stroke seems far more efficient and "elegant". More power per stroke leads to more control and confidence. More stride and less steps

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1 week 1 day ago #35202 by uk gearmuncher
Replied by uk gearmuncher on topic Cadence vs power

mrcharly wrote: A little while ago I tried out an app that gave a cadence as well as speed. It showed that my cadence was way up - about 90 for cruising.
My times were stagnating, so I altered my paddling, tried to go back to lower cadence, pulling as hard as I can. Kept paddle length the same.
Hitting big problems with forearms though - they are wearing out well before I'm stressing my aerobic capacity. I have a weak left wrist/forearm from a severe injury, but it is my right arm that is giving out.

This makes me think that I've gone far too far towards to higher power side, and should go back to higher cadence. How do you tell which is best? It is difficult to have the app rigged, since I can't use the setup when running portages. Thinking of trialling speeds on level water for a 5km sections. 


It sounds pedantic but just remember we're not talking about 'power' here, we're talking about force. Power is the result of both force and cadence and as you know, one directly influences the other and cannot be isolated.

Previous Boat Journey: Gaisford spec ski, then Fenn Bluefin, then Epic V8 Pro, Now a Epic V10 Sport and a Nelo 550L coming in soon.
Recent Demo's: Epic V10 G3, Nelo 550L, Epic K1t

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1 week 1 day ago #35203 by mrcharly
Replied by mrcharly on topic Cadence vs power

uk gearmuncher wrote:
It sounds pedantic but just remember we're not talking about 'power' here, we're talking about force. Power is the result of both force and cadence and as you know, one directly influences the other and cannot be isolated.

That isn't being a pedant, that is being correct. I actually know better and shouldn't have posted such nonsense!
Thank you for correcting me.

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