A comparison of the physiological demands of two commercially available cycle ergometers in trained cyclists
May, Gregory and Dolan, Eimear and Fitzpatrick, Paula A. and Warrington, Giles D. (2009) A comparison of the physiological demands of two commercially available cycle ergometers in trained cyclists. In: American College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting 2009, 27-30 May 2009, Seattle, Washington, USA.
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Cycling ergometers are routinely used in a laboratory setting to evaluate physiological function and monitor changes in training status. One limitation of many cycle ergometers, in relation to the performance testing, is their inability to replicate the cyclist own specific cycling position thereby bringing the validity of the ergometer used into question. Purpose: The purpose of this study was to compare the aerobic and anaerobic energy demands of two commercially available cycle ergometers in trained cyclists. The first ergometer allowed full adjustment of cycling position and was electromagnetically braked (EB). The second ergometer allowed for saddle height adjustment only and was resistance braked (RB). Methods: Ten trained male cyclists were tested on 2 separate occasions within a 14 day period under the same conditions. Subjects performed a 30 second Wingate maximal sprint test followed 60 minutes later by a continuous maximal incremental step test on either the EB or RB cycle ergometer, in a random order. The Wingate test was performed at 9% of body mass and for 30 seconds with a 5 second speed up period. The incremental test started at 100W and increased in resistance by 50W every 3 minutes until volitional exhaustion. Heart rate, VO2, power output and blood lactate were measured during the maximal incremental test. Results: The results showed a significant difference (p<0.01) for the Wingate test between the RB and EB both in terms of peak power output (POmax) and mean power output (POmean) with subjects generating greater power outputs on the EB. During the maximal incremental test, significant differences (p<0.01) were found between EB and RB for submaximal power output, heart rate, and VO2 at both lactate threshold 1 (1mmol.l-1 rise above baseline, LT1) and onset of blood lactate accumulation (4mmol.l-1 blood lactate reference point, OBLA), as well as peak power output at VO2max (PVO2max). Conclusions: Overall it was shown that significant differences in physiological demands were present between the two ergometers under both anaerobic and aerobic conditions. This is may in part be explained by the different positions that the cyclists adopted on either ergometer. Further research is required to compare the findings of the current study with actual cycling performance.
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