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Steven J. Elmer, John McDaniel and James C. Martin

One-legged cycling has served as a valuable research tool and as a training and rehabilitation modality. Biomechanics of onelegged cycling are unnatural because the individual must actively lift the leg during flexion, which can be difficult to coordinate and cause premature fatigue. We compared ankle, knee, and hip biomechanics between two-legged, one-legged, and counterweighted (11.64 kg) one-legged cycling. Ten cyclists performed two-legged (240 W), one-legged (120 W), and counterweighted one-legged (120 W) cycling (80 rpm). Pedal forces and limb kinematics were recorded to determine work during extension and flexion. During counterweighted one-legged cycling relative ankle dorsiflexion, knee flexion, and hip flexion work were less than one-legged but greater than two-legged cycling (all P < .05). Relative ankle plantar flexion and hip extension work for counterweighted one-legged cycling were greater than one-legged but less than two-legged cycling (all P < .05). Relative knee extension work did not differ across conditions. Counterweighted one-legged cycling reduced but did not eliminate differences in joint flexion and extension actions between one- and two-legged cycling. Even with these differences, counterweighted one-legged cycling seemed to have advantages over one-legged cycling. These results, along with previous work highlighting physiological characteristics and training adaptations to counterweighted one-legged cycling, demonstrate that this exercise is a viable alternative to one-legged cycling.

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John McDaniel, N. Scott Behjani, Steven J. Elmer, Nicholas A.T. Brown and James C. Martin

Previous authors have reported power-pedaling rate relationships for maximal cycling. However, the joint-specific power-pedaling rate relationships that contribute to pedal power have not been reported. We determined absolute and relative contributions of joint-specific powers to pedal power across a range of pedaling rates during maximal cycling. Ten cyclists performed maximal 3 s cycling trials at 60, 90, 120, 150, and 180 rpm. Joint-specific powers were averaged over complete pedal cycles, and extension and flexion actions. Effects of pedaling rate on relative joint-specific power, velocity, and excursion were assessed with regression analyses and repeated-measures ANOVA. Relative ankle plantar flexion power (25 to 8%; P = .01; R 2 = .90) decreased with increasing pedaling rate, whereas relative hip extension power (41 to 59%; P < .01; R 2 = .92) and knee flexion power (34 to 49%; P < .01; R 2 = .94) increased with increasing pedaling rate. Knee extension powers did not differ across pedaling rates. Ankle joint angular excursion decreased with increasing pedaling rate (48 to 20 deg) whereas hip joint excursion increased (42 to 48 deg). These results demonstrate that the often-reported quadratic power-pedaling rate relationship arises from combined effects of dissimilar joint-specific power-pedaling rate relationships. These dissimilar relationships are likely influenced by musculoskeletal constraints (ie, muscle architecture, morphology) and/or motor control strategies.