Are Unilateral Devices Valid for Power Output Determination in Cycling? Insights From the Favero Assioma Power Meter

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
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Purpose: Some power meters are available in both bilateral and unilateral versions. However, despite the popularity of the latter, their validity remains unknown. We aimed to analyze the validity of a unilateral pedal power meter for estimating actual (“bilateral”) power output (PO). Methods: Thirty-three male cyclists were assessed at different POs (steady cycling at 100–500 W, as well as all-out sprints), pedaling cadences (70, 85, and 100 repetitions·min−1), and cycling positions (seated and standing). The PO estimated by a left-only power meter (Favero Assioma Uno) was compared with the actual PO computed by a bilateral power meter (Favero Assioma Duo), and the level of bilateral asymmetry (most- vs least-powerful leg) with the latter system was also computed. Results: Nonsignificant differences, high intraclass correlation coefficients (≥.90), and low coefficients of variation (consistently ≤5% except for low PO levels, ie, 5%–7% at 100 W) were found between Favero Assioma Uno and Favero Assioma Duo. However, although a strong intraclass correlation coefficient (.995) was found between both legs, asymmetry values of 4% to 6% were found for all conditions except when pedaling at the lowest PO (100 W), in which asymmetry increased up to 10% to 13%. Conclusions: Although cyclists tend to present some level of bilateral asymmetry during cycling (particularly at low PO), Favero Assioma Uno provides overall valid estimates of actual PO and is, therefore, an economical alternative to bilateral power meters. Caution is needed, however, when interpreting data at the individual level in cyclists with high levels of asymmetry.

The authors are with the Faculty of Sport Sciences, Universidad Europea de Madrid, Madrid, Spain. Alejo and Lucia are also with the Inst de Investigación Hospital 12 de Octubre (imas12), Madrid, Spain.

Alejo (lidia.brea@universidadeuropea.es) is corresponding author.
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