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Differences in efficiency between trained and recreational cyclists

By James G. Hopker, Damian A Coleman and Jonathan Wiles


Controversy still exists in the literature as to whether cycling experience affects gross mechanical efficiency\ud (GME). The aim of this study was to identify differences in efficiency between trained and untrained cyclists. Thirty-two participants, 16 trained (mean ± SD: age, 33 ± 4 y; height, 1.76 ± 0.05 m; mass 75 ± 10 kg; Wmax, 421 ± 38 W; maximal oxygen uptake, 62.6 ± 7.30 mLkg–1min–1) and 16 untrained (22 ± 3 y, 175 ± 0.06 m, 76 ± 10 kg, 292 ± 34 W, 42.6 ± 7.80 mLkg–1min–1), performed two tests of cycling efficiency. One was at the relative workloads of 50% and 60% Wmax and the other was at a fixed workload of 150 W using an electrically braked cycle ergometer. Cadence was maintained at the cyclist’s preferred rate throughout. All workloads lasted 10 min with data sampling in the final 3 min. GME was calculated from the gas data. GME was found to be significantly higher in the trained cyclists across all workloads (+1.4%; p = 0.03). At workloads of 60% Wmax GME was significantly lower than work at 150 W (–0.8%; p = 0.04), but not significantly different from 50%Wmax. These results show that differences do exist between trained and untrained cyclists, illustrating that training experience is a factor that warrants further investigation

Topics: RC1200
Year: 2007
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