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Carl D. Paton

Purpose:

Aerobic economy is an important factor that affects the performance of competitive cyclists. It has been suggested that placing the foot more anteriorly on the bicycle pedals may improve economy over the traditional foot position by improving pedaling efficiency. The current study examines the effects of changing the anterior-posterior pedal foot position on the physiology and performance of well-trained cyclists.

Methods:

In a crossover study, 10 competitive cyclists completed two maximal incremental and two submaximal tests in either their preferred (control) or a forward (arch) foot position. Maximum oxygen consumption and peak power output were determined from the incremental tests for both foot positions. On two further occasions, cyclists also completed a two-part 60-min submaximal test that required them to maintain a constant power output (equivalent to 60% of their incremental peak power) for 30 min, during which respiratory and blood lactate samples were taken at predetermined intervals. Thereafter, subjects completed a 30-min self-paced maximal effort time trial.

Results:

Relative to the control, the mean changes (±90% confidence limits) in the arch condition were as follows: maximum oxygen consumption, -0.5% (±2.0%); incremental peak power output, -0.8% (±1.3%); steady-state oxygen consumption at 60%, -2.4% (±1.1%); steady-state heart rate 60%, 0.4% (±1.7%); lactate concentration 60%, 8.7% (±14.4%); and mean time trial power, -1.5% (±2.9%).

Conclusions:

We conclude that there was no substantial physiological or performance advantage in this group using an arch-cleat shoe position in comparison with a cyclist’s normal preferred condition.

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Peter J. Whalley, Chey G. Dearing and Carl D. Paton

Purpose: Caffeine is frequently used by athletes as an ergogenic aid. Various alternate forms of caffeine administration are available, which may produce different effects. This investigation compares the effects of different forms of caffeine supplementation on 5-km running performance, and the relationship between athlete ability and degree of enhancement attained. Methods: Fourteen amateur runners completed a series of self-paced outdoor time trials following unknown ingestion of a placebo (P) or one of 3 alternate forms of caffeine supplement. Trials were randomized in a crossover design with caffeine (approximately 3–4.5 mg·kg−1) administered 15 minutes before each trial via chewing gum (CG), dissolvable mouth strips (CS), or tablet (CT). Results: Compared with P, all caffeine supplements led to worthwhile enhancements in running performance with a mean (±95% confidence limit) overall effect across all supplements of 1.4% ± 0.9%. Individual caffeine treatment effects (CG = 0.9% ± 1.4%, CS = 1.2% ± 1.0%, and CT = 2.0% ± 1.1%) were not significantly different (P > .05) from each other; however, CT trials produced the largest gain and was significantly different (P = .02) compared with P. There was no significant difference in heart rate or rate of perceived exertion across the performance trials. The magnitude of caffeine enhancement was also strongly correlated (r = .87) with no-treatment performance time. Conclusions: The findings showed that irrespective of delivery form, moderate dose of caffeine supplementation produces worthwhile gains in 5-km running performance compared with a P. Furthermore, the magnitude of caffeine enhancement is highly individualized, but it appears related to athlete performance ability.

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Ryan J. Hamilton, Carl D. Paton and William G. Hopkins

In a recent study competitive road cyclists experienced substantial gains in sprint and endurance performance when sessions of high-intensity interval training were added to their usual training in the competitive phase of a season. The current study reports the effect of this type of training on performance of 20 distance runners randomized to an experimental or control group for 5 to 7 weeks of training. The experimental group replaced part of their usual competitive-phase training with 10 × 30-minute sessions consisting of 3 sets of explosive single-leg jumps (20 for each leg) alternating with 3 sets of resisted treadmill sprints (5 × 30-second efforts alternating with 30-second recovery). Before and after the training period all runners completed an incremental treadmill test for assessment of lactate threshold and maximum running speed, 2 treadmill runs to exhaustion for prediction of 800- and 1500-m times, and a 5-km outdoor time trial. Relative to the control group, the mean changes (±90% confidence limits) in the experimental group were: maximum running speed, 1.8% (± 1.1%); lactate-threshold speed, 3.5% (±3.4%); predicted 800-m speed, 3.6% (± 1.8%); predicted 1500-m speed, 3.7% (± 3.0%); and 5-km time-trial speed, 1.2% (± 1.1%). We conclude that high-intensity resistance training in the competitive phase is likely to produce beneficial gains in performance for most distance runners.

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Mathias T. Vangsoe, Jonas K. Nielsen and Carl D. Paton

Purpose: Ischemic preconditioning (IPC) and postactivation potentiation (PAP) are warm-up strategies proposed to improve high-intensity sporting performance. However, only few studies have investigated the benefits of these strategies compared with an appropriate control (CON) or an athlete-selected (SELF) warm-up protocol. Therefore, this study examined the effects of 4 different warm-up routines on 1-km time-trial (TT) performance with competitive cyclists. Methods: In a randomized crossover study, 12 well-trained cyclists (age 32 [10] y, mass 77.7 [4.6] kg, peak power output 1141 [61] W) performed 4 different warm-up strategies—(CON) 17 minutes CON only, (SELF) a self-determined warm-up, (IPC) IPC + CON, or (PAP) CON + PAP—prior to completing a maximal-effort 1-km TT. Performance time and power, quadriceps electromyograms, muscle oxygen saturation (SmO2), and blood lactate were measured to determine differences between trials. Results: There were no significant differences (P > .05) in 1-km performance time between CON (76.9 [5.2] s), SELF (77.3 [6.0] s), IPC (77.0 [5.5] s), or PAP (77.3 [5.9] s) protocols. Furthermore, there were no significant differences in mean or peak power output between trials. Finally, electromyogram activity, SmO2, and recovery blood lactate concentration were not different between conditions. Conclusions: Adding IPC or PAP protocols to a short CON warm-up appears to provide no additional benefit to 1-km TT performance with well-trained cyclists and is therefore not recommended. Furthermore, additional IPC and PAP protocols had no effect on electromyograms and SmO2 values during the TT or peak lactate concentration during recovery.