To verify the hypothesis that the peak power (PP) of a Wingate test (WT) is an underestimation of maximal power (Pmax) computed from the force–velocity test (FVT), to examine possible fatigue effect on Pmax, and to investigate the effect of load on mean power (MP) and fatigue index (FI) during a WT in trained and recreational men.
Ten recreational (22.9 ± 1.7 y, 1.81 ± 0.06 m, 73.3 ± 10.4 kg) and 10 highly trained subjects (22.7 ± 1.4 y, 1.85 ± 0.05 m, 78.9 ± 6.6 kg) performed 2 WTs with 2 loads (8.7% and 11% of body mass [BM]) and an FVT on the same cycle ergometer, in randomized order.
Optimal load was equal to 10% BM in recreational participants. Given the quadratic relationship between load and power, the underestimation of Pmax was lower than 10% for the average values of trained and recreational participants with both loads. However, PP with a load equal to 8.7% BM was a large underestimation (~30%) of Pmax in the most powerful individuals. In addition, PP was not greater than Pmax of FVT for the same load. FI was independent of the load only if it was expressed relative to PP. The optimal load for MP during WT was close to the optimal load for PP.
The optimal load for WT performance should be approximately equal to 10% BM in recreational subjects. In powerful subjects, the FVT appears to be more appropriate in assessing maximal power, and loads higher than 11% BM should be verified for the WT.