Using beat frequency in music to adjust running cadence in recreational runners: a randomized multiple baseline design

Review written by Tom Goom info

Key Points

  1. Five recreational runners with a step rate of less than 170 completed this study.
All key points available for members only

BACKGROUND & OBJECTIVE

Step rate during running is the total number of running steps per minute. Runners often call this ‘cadence’. Increasing step rate by approximately 5-10% may reduce load at the hip and knee (1) and improve running economy (2). Recent research suggests that increasing step rate may be effective in reducing pain and improving function in runners with patellofemoral pain, even after just a single session of gait retraining (3).

While there may be a role for manipulating step rate, there is some debate over the best method. Most current studies use a metronome and cue a runner to ‘run to the beat’. This appears to be effective, but it may not be realistic to expect runners to use a metronome for long periods of training. Running with music and adjusting cadence to the rhythm may be a more appealing alternative.

This study sought to determine if such an approach was effective in altering step rate in runners and whether this influenced heart rate or speed.

Increasing step rate by approximately 5-10% may reduce load at the hip and knee and improve running economy.
bulb
Increasing a runner’s cadence using the beat of music may be an effective way to reduce load on sensitive tissues and reduce pain.

METHODS

  • This study used a ‘randomized, concurrent, multiple-baseline’ design, an approach which can help ensure statistical power even with a low number of participants. There were three key phases in the study - baseline, intervention, and post-intervention. The intervention phase was
to unlock full access to this review and 761 more