It is unknown if higher antagonist muscle coactivation is a factor contributing to greater energy expenditure of cycling in older adults. We determined how age, power output, and cadence affect energy expenditure and lower limb antagonist muscle coactivation during submaximal cycling. Thirteen younger and 12 older male participants completed 6-min trials at four power output-cadence conditions (75 W-60 rpm, 75 W-90 rpm, 125 W-60 rpm, and 125 W-90 rpm) while electromyographic and metabolic energy consumption data were collected. Knee and ankle coactivation indices were calculated using vastus lateralis, biceps femoris, gastrocnemius, and tibialis anterior electromyography data. Energy expenditure of cycling was greater in older compared with younger participants at 125 W (p = .002) and at 90 rpm (p = .026). No age-related differences were observed in the magnitude or duration of coactivation about the knee or ankle (p > .05). Our results indicated that the knee and ankle coactivation is not a substantive factor contributing to greater energy expenditure of cycling in older adults.
Harsh H. Buddhadev and Philip E. Martin
Harsh H. Buddhadev, Daniel L. Crisafulli, David N. Suprak and Jun G. San Juan
Cycling is commonly prescribed for physical rehabilitation of individuals with knee osteoarthritis (OA). Despite the known therapeutic benefits, no research has examined interlimb symmetry of power output during cycling in these individuals. We investigated the effects of external workload and cadence on interlimb symmetry of crank power output in individuals with knee OA versus healthy controls. A total of 12 older participants with knee OA and 12 healthy sex- and age-matched controls were recruited. Participants performed 2-minute bouts of stationary cycling at 4 workload-cadence conditions (75 W at 60 rpm, 75 W at 90 rpm, 100 W at 60 rpm, and 100 W at 90 rpm). Power output contribution of each limb toward total crank power output was computed over 60 crank cycles from the effective component of pedal force, which was perpendicular to the crank arm. Across the workload-cadence conditions, the knee OA group generated significantly higher power output with the severely affected leg compared with the less affected leg (10% difference; P = .02). Healthy controls did not show interlimb asymmetry in power output (0.1% difference; P > .99). For both groups, interlimb asymmetry was unaffected by external workload and cadence. Our results indicate that individuals with knee OA demonstrate interlimb asymmetry in crank power output during stationary cycling.