Increasing Cadence by 10%

  • 25 Jul, 2021

Increasing Your Cadence By 10%


Increasing your cadence by 10% is one of the most effective ways to alter running biomechanics, reduced injury risk and potentially improve running economy. The minimum change in cadence required to observe biomechanical change is 10%, however, changes can be noted with a 5% increase in step rate.  


Running Biomechanics:

  • Increasing cadence results in an immediate change in running biomechanics. Schubert et al. 2014 found that with increased step frequency foot placement occured closer to a runners center of gravity. This is in turns, reduced overstriding.
  • The authors also found greater ranges of knee flexion at foot contact, as well as the ankle being in a more plantarflexed position (i.e. landing with a more mid-forefoot strike).
  • Additionally, increasing a runners cadence improves biomechanics at the hip, with less peak hip adduction seen (i.e. a cross over step pattern).


Impact Loading / Shock Attenuation:

  • It was also found by Schubert et al. 2014 that increasing cadence reduces ground contact time, stride length, ground reaction force and energy absorbed at the hip, knee and ankle.


Running Injuries:

  • Running injuries may be associated with the magnitude and rate of impact loading as the foot hits the ground during stance phase. Davis et al. 2016 found that injured runners had greater vertical load rates than non-injured runners. Increasing step frequency and thus reducing step length decreases this magnitude of loading.


Running Economy:

  • A 2019 study by Quin et al. found that in well-trained female runners, step frequency retraining improved running economy. This was in contrast to previous research by Hafer et al. 2015 who found no difference. Quin et al. 2019 suggested that their findings may be due to length of training (10 days vs 6 weeks), method of training (treadmill training at 180 steps/min vs uncoached with tools provided to improved step rate), and level of experience (well trained vs. recreational). This suggest that a more structured training program is required for changes in running economy.



1. Schubert, A. G., Kempf, J., & Heiderscheit, B. C. (2014). Influence of stride frequency and length on running mechanics: a systematic review. Sports health, 6(3), 210–217.

2. Davis IS, Bowser BJ, Mullineaux DR. Greater vertical impact loading in female runners with medically diagnosed injuries: a prospective investigation. British Journal of Sports Medicine 2016;50:887-892

3. Quinn, T., Dempsey, S., LaRoche, D., Mackenzie, A. and Cook, S., 2019. Step Frequency Training Improves Running Economy in Well-Trained Female Runners. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, Publish Ahead of Print.