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Avish P. Sharma, Adrian D. Elliott and David J. Bentley

Context:

Road cycle racing is characterized by significant variability in exercise intensity. Existing protocols attempting to model this aspect display inadequate variation in power output. Furthermore, the reliability of protocols representative of road cycle racing is not well known. There are also minimal data regarding the physiological parameters that best predict performance during variable-power cycling.

Purpose:

To determine the reliability of mean power output during a new test of variable-power cycling and establish the relationship between physiological attributes typically measured during an incremental exercise test and performance during the variable-power cycling test (VCT).

Methods:

Fifteen trained male cyclists (mean ± SD age 33 ± 6.5 y, VO2max 57.9 ± 4.8 mL · kg−1 · min−1) performed an incremental exercise test to exhaustion for determination of physiological attributes, 2 VCTs (plus familiarization), and a 30-km time trial. The VCT was modeled on data from elite men’s road racing and included significant variation in power output.

Results:

Mean power output during the VCT showed good reliability (r = .92, CV% = 1.98). Relative power during the self-paced sections of the VCT was most correlated with maximal aerobic power (r = .79) and power at the second ventilatory threshold (r = .69). Blood lactate concentration showed poor reliability between trials (CV% = 13.93%).

Conclusions:

This study has demonstrated a new reliable protocol simulating the stochastic nature of road cycling races. Further research is needed to determine which factors predict performance during variable-power cycling and the validity of the test in monitoring longitudinal changes in cycling performance.

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Gregoire P. Millet, David J. Bentley and Veronica E. Vleck

The relationships between sport sciences and sports are complex and changeable, and it is not clear how they reciprocally influence each other. By looking at the relationship between sport sciences and the “new” (~30-year-old) sport of triathlon, together with changes in scientific fields or topics that have occurred between 1984 and 2006 (278 publications), one observes that the change in the sport itself (eg, distance of the events, wetsuit, and drafting) can influence the specific focus of investigation. The sport-scientific fraternity has successfully used triathlon as a model of prolonged strenuous competition to investigate acute physiological adaptations and trauma, as support for better understanding cross-training effects, and, more recently, as a competitive sport with specific demands and physiological features. This commentary discusses the evolution of the scientific study of triathlon and how the development of the sport has affected the nature of scientific investigation directly related to triathlon and endurance sport in general.

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Ehsan Ghahramanloo, Adrian W. Midgley and David J. Bentley

Background:

There is little information regarding the effects of concurrent training (endurance and resistance training performed in the same overall regimen) on blood lipid profile in sedentary male subjects. This study compared the effects of 3 different 8-wk training programs [endurance training (ET), strength training (ST) and concurrent training (CT)] on blood lipid profile and body composition in untrained young men.

Methods:

A total of 27 subjects were randomly allocated to an ET, ST or CT group which performed either progressive treadmill (ET), free weight (ST) or both the endurance and strength training requirements for 8 weeks.

Results:

High-density lipoprotein and low-density lipoprotein profiles significantly improved in the ET and CT groups (P < .01) but not in the ST group. Triglyceride and total cholesterol profiles significantly improved in all 3 training groups. Total fat mass significantly decreased in the ET and CT groups (P < .001) but not in the ST group, whereas fat free mass significantly increased in the ST and CT groups (P < .01) but not in the ET group.

Conclusions:

These results indicate that CT can be used to simultaneously improve both the serum lipid profile and body composition of previously untrained, apparently health young men.

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Lars R. McNaughton, Steve Kenney, Jason Siegler, Adrian W. Midgley, Ric J. Lovell and David J. Bentley

Context:

Recently, superoxygenated-water beverages have emerged as a new purported ergogenic substance.

Purpose:

This study aimed to determine the effects of superoxygenated water on submaximal endurance performance.

Methods:

Eleven active male subjects, VO2max 52.6 ± 4.8 mL · kg−1 · min−1, height 180.0 ± 2.0 cm, weight 76.0 ± 7.0 kg, age 24 ± 1.0 y (mean ± SD), completed a 45-min cycle-ergometry exercise test at 70% of their previously predicted maximal power output with a 10-min rest period, followed by a 15-min time trial (TT). Thirty minutes before the exercise test subjects consumed 15 mL of either superoxygenated water (E) or placebo (P; water mixed with low-chlorine solution). Subjects then completed the test again a week later for the other condition (double-blind, randomized). The physiological variables measured during exercise were VO2, VCO2, respiratory-exchange ratio (RER), VE, PO2, PCO2, blood lactate (bLa–), and heart rate (HR). Mean distance covered and the average power output for the 15-min TT were also measured as performance indicators.

Results:

There were no significant differences in VO2, VCO2, RER, VE, bLa, PO2, and HR (P > .05) during the exercise tests. Neither were there any significant improvements in the total distance covered (P 9.01 ± 0.74 km vs E 8.96 ± 0.68 km, P > .05) or the average power output (P 186.7 ± 35.8 W vs E 179.0 ± 25.9 W, P > .05) during the 15-min TT.

Conclusion:

Based on these results the authors conclude that consuming 15 mL of superoxygenated water does not enhance submaximal or maximal TT cycling performance.

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Hans Luttikholt, Lars R. McNaughton, Adrian W. Midgley and David J. Bentley

Context:

There is currently no model that predicts peak power output (PPO) thereby allowing comparison between different incremental exercise test (EXT) protocols. In this study we have used the critical power profile to develop a mathematical model for predicting PPO from the results of different EXTs.

Purpose:

The purpose of this study was to examine the level of agreement between actual PPO values and those predicted from the new model.

Methods:

Eleven male athletes (age 25 ± 5 years, VO2max 62 ± 8 mL · kg–1 · min–1) completed 3 laboratory tests on a cycle ergometer. Each test comprised an EXT consisting of 1-minute workload increments of 30 W (EXT30/1) and 3-minute (EXT25/3) and 5-minute workload increments (EXT25/5) of 25 W. The PPO determined from each test was used to predict the PPO from the remaining 2 EXTs.

Results:

The differences between actual and predicted PPO values were statistically insignificant (P > .05). The random error components of the limits of agreement of ≤30 W also indicated acceptable levels of agreement between actual and predicted PPO values.

Conclusions:

Further data collection is necessary to confirm whether the model is able to predict PPO over a wide range of EXT protocols in athletes of different aerobic and anaerobic capacities.

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Milos Mallol, David J. Bentley, Lynda Norton, Kevin Norton, Gaizka Mejuto and Javier Yanci

Purpose: To investigate changes in physiological and performance variables in triathletes following a 4-wk period of reduced training volume and increased training intensity. Methods: Sixteen moderately trained triathletes were randomly allocated to 2 groups: a control (CON) group, which followed their usual training, or a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) group, which completed 2 HIIT sessions per week during 4 wk of reduced training volume Results: Maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max) increased significantly in the HIIT group (P = .03, d = 0.5) but remained unchanged in the CON group. Cycling power at first and second ventilatory thresholds increased significantly in the HIIT subjects (P = .03, d = 1.0) and was unchanged in the CON participants (P = .57). During the simulated triathlon test, pretest–posttest cycling times and average power were unchanged in both groups (P > .05). No significant interactive effects between groups were observed for running time (P = .50). Conclusion: After a 4-wk HIIT program, VO2max and power at first and second ventilatory thresholds were found to have increased significantly while cycling and running performance were unchanged, despite an overall reduction in training time. In the present study, performance was only shown to improve with usual (high-volume) training. Summarizing, in order to improve running or cycling performances, high-volume training programs are highly recommended.