Purpose: To compare the effectiveness of optimum power load training (OPT, training with an individualized load and repetitions that maximize power output) and traditional resistance training (TRT, same number of repetitions and relative load for all individuals) in professional cyclists. Methods: Participants (19  y, peak oxygen uptake 75.5  mL/kg/min) were randomly assigned to 8 weeks (2 sessions per week) of TRT (n = 11) or OPT (n = 9), during which they maintained their usual cycle training schedule. Training loads were continuously registered, and measures of muscle strength/power (1-repetition maximum and maximum mean propulsive power on the squat, hip thrust, and lunge exercises), body composition (assessed by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry), and endurance performance (assessed on both an incremental test and an 8-min time trial) were collected before and at the end of the intervention. Results: OPT resulted in a lower average intensity (percentage of 1-repetition maximum) during resistance training sessions for all exercises (P < .01), but no differences were found for overall training loads during resistance or cycling sessions (P > .05). Both programs led to significant improvements in all strength/power-related parameters, muscle mass (with no changes in total body mass but a decreased fat mass), and time-trial performance (all Ps < .05). A trend toward increased power output at the respiratory compensation point was also found (P = .056 and .066 for TRT and OPT, respectively). No between-groups differences were noted for any outcome (P > .05). Conclusion: The addition of either TRT or OPT to an endurance training regimen of elite cyclists results in similar improvements of body composition, muscle strength/power, and endurance performance.
Jaime Gil-Cabrera, Pedro L. Valenzuela, Lidia B. Alejo, Eduardo Talavera, Almudena Montalvo-Pérez, Alejandro Lucia, and David Barranco-Gil
Pedro L. Valenzuela, Jaime Gil-Cabrera, Eduardo Talavera, Lidia B. Alejo, Almudena Montalvo-Pérez, Cecilia Rincón-Castanedo, Iván Rodríguez-Hernández, Alejandro Lucia, and David Barranco-Gil
Purpose: To compare the effectiveness of resistance power training (RPT, training with the individualized load and repetitions that maximize power output) and cycling power training (CPT, short sprint training) in professional cyclists. Methods: The participants (20  y, peak oxygen uptake 78.0 [4.4] mL·kg−1·min−1) were randomly assigned to perform CPT (n = 8) or RPT (n = 10) in addition to their usual training regime for 7 weeks (2 sessions/wk). The training loads were continuously registered using the session rating of perceived exertion. The outcomes included endurance performance (8-min time trial and incremental test), as well as measures of muscle strength/power (1-repetition maximum and mean maximum propulsive power on the squat, hip thrust, and lunge exercises) and body composition (assessed by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry). Results: No between-group differences were found for training loads or for any outcome (P > .05). Both interventions resulted in increased time-trial performance, as well as in improvements in other endurance-related outcomes (ie, ventilatory threshold, respiratory compensation point; P < .05). A significant or quasi-significant increase (P = .068 and .047 for CPT and RPT, respectively) in bone mineral content was observed after both interventions. A significant reduction in fat mass (P = .017), along with a trend (P = .059) toward a reduced body mass, was observed after RPT, but not CPT (P = .076 for the group × time interaction effect). Significant benefits (P < .05) were also observed for most strength-related outcomes after RPT, but not CPT. Conclusion: CPT and RPT are both effective strategies for the improvement of endurance performance and bone health in professional cyclists, although the latter tends to result in greater improvements in body composition and muscle strength/power.
David Barranco-Gil, Jaime Gil-Cabrera, Pedro L. Valenzuela, Lidia B. Alejo, Almudena Montalvo-Pérez, Eduardo Talavera, Susana Moral-González, and Alejandro Lucia
Purpose: The functional threshold power (FTP), which demarcates the transition from steady state to non-steady-state oxidative metabolism, is usually determined with a 20-minute cycling time trial that follows a standard ∼45-minute warm-up. This study aimed to determine if the standard warm-up inherent to FTP determination is actually necessary and how its modification or removal affects the relationship between FTP and the respiratory compensation point (RCP). Methods: A total of 15 male cyclists (age 35  y, maximum oxygen uptake 66.4 [6.8] mL·kg−1·min−1) participated in this randomized, crossover study. Participants performed a ramp test for determination of RCP and maximum oxygen uptake. During subsequent visits, they performed a 20-minute time trial preceded by the “standard” warm-up that is typically performed before an FTP test (S-WU), a 10-minute warm-up at the power output (PO) corresponding to 60% of maximum oxygen uptake (60%-WU), or no warm-up (No-WU). FTP was computed as 95% of the mean PO attained during the time trial. Results: Although the FTP was correlated with the RCP independently of the warm-up (r = .89, .93, and .86 for No-WU, 60%-WU, and S-WU, respectively; all Ps < .001), the PO at RCP was higher than the FTP in all cases (bias ± 95% limits of agreement = 57 , 60 , and 57  W for No-WU, 60%-WU, and S-WU, respectively; all Ps < .001 and effect size > 1.70). Conclusions: The FTP is highly correlated with the RCP but corresponds to a significantly lower PO, being these results independent of the warm-up performed (or even with no warm-up).
David Barranco-Gil, Lidia B. Alejo, Pedro L. Valenzuela, Jaime Gil-Cabrera, Almudena Montalvo-Pérez, Eduardo Talavera, Susana Moral-González, Vicente J. Clemente-Suárez, and Alejandro Lucia
Purpose: To analyze the effects of different warm-up protocols on endurance-cycling performance from an integrative perspective (by assessing perceptual, neuromuscular, physiological, and metabolic variables). Methods: Following a randomized crossover design, 15 male cyclists (35  y; peak oxygen uptake [VO2peak] 66.4 [6.8] mL·kg−1·min−1) performed a 20-minute cycling time trial (TT) preceded by no warm-up, a standard warm-up (10 min at 60% of VO2peak), or a warm-up that was intended to induce potentiation postactivation (PAP warm-up; 5 min at 60% of VO2peak followed by three 10-s all-out sprints). Study outcomes were jumping ability and heart-rate variability (both assessed at baseline and before the TT), TT performance (mean power output), and perceptual (rating of perceived exertion) and physiological (oxygen uptake, muscle oxygenation, heart-rate variability, blood lactate, and thigh skin temperature) responses during and after the TT. Results: Both standard and PAP warm-up (9.7% [4.7%] and 12.9% [6.5%], respectively, P < .001), but not no warm-up (−0.9% [4.8%], P = .074), increased jumping ability and decreased heart-rate variability (−7.9% [14.2%], P = .027; −20.3% [24.7%], P = .006; and −1.7% [10.5%], P = .366). Participants started the TT (minutes 0–3) at a higher power output and oxygen uptake after PAP warm-up compared with the other 2 protocols (P < .05), but no between-conditions differences were found overall for the remainder of outcomes (P > .05). Conclusions: Compared with no warm-up, warming up enhanced jumping performance and sympathetic modulation before the TT, and the inclusion of brief sprints resulted in a higher initial power output during the TT. However, no warm-up benefits were found for overall TT performance or for perceptual or physiological responses during the TT.
Pedro L. Valenzuela, Almudena Montalvo-Perez, Lidia B. Alejo, Mario Castellanos, Jaime Gil-Cabrera, Eduardo Talavera, Alejandro Lucia, and David Barranco-Gil
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.