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Robert P. Lamberts

In high-performance cycling, it is important to maintain a healthy balance between training load and recovery. Recently a new submaximal cycle test, known as the Lamberts and Lambert Submaximal Cycle Test (LSCT), has been shown to be able to accurately predict cycling performance in 15 well-trained cyclists. The aim of this study was to determine the predictive value of the LSCT in 102 trained to elite cyclists (82 men and 20 women). All cyclists performed an LSCT test followed by a peak-power-output (PPO) test, which included respiratory-gas analysis for the determination of maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max). They then performed the LSCT test followed by a 40-km time trial (TT) 72 h later. Average power output during the 3 stages of the LSCT increased from 31%, 60%, and 79% of PPO, while the ratings of perceived exertion increased from 8 to 13 to 16. Very good relationships were found between actual and LSCT-predicted PPO (r = .98, 95%CI: .97–.98, P < .0001), VO2max (r = .96, 95%CI: .97–.99, P < .0001) and 40-km-TT time (r = .98, 95%CI: .94–.97, P < .0001). No gender differences were found when predicting cycling performance from the LSCT (P = .95). The findings of this study show that the LSCT is able to accurately predict cycling performance in trained to elite male and female cyclists and potentially can be used to prescribe and fine-tune training prescription in cycling.

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Benoit Capostagno, Michael I. Lambert, and Robert P. Lamberts

Purpose:

To determine whether a submaximal cycling test could be used to monitor and prescribe high-intensity interval training (HIT).

Methods:

Two groups of male cyclists completed 4 HIT sessions over a 2-wk period. The structured-training group (SG; n = 8, VO2max = 58.4 ± 4.2 mL · min−1 · kg−1) followed a predetermined training program while the flexible-training group (FG; n = 7, VO2max = 53.9 ± 5.0 mL · min−1 · kg−1) had the timing of their HIT sessions prescribed based on the data of the Lamberts and Lambert Submaximal Cycle Test (LSCT).

Results:

Effect-size calculations showed large differences in the improvements in 40-km time-trial performance after the HIT training between SG (8 ± 45 s) and FG (48 ± 42 s). Heart-rate recovery, monitored during the study, tended to increase in FG and remain unchanged in SG.

Conclusions:

The results of the current study suggest that the LSCT may be a useful tool for coaches to monitor and prescribe HIT.

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Benoit Capostagno, Michael I. Lambert, and Robert P. Lamberts

Finding the optimal balance between high training loads and recovery is a constant challenge for cyclists and their coaches. Monitoring improvements in performance and levels of fatigue is recommended to correctly adjust training to ensure optimal adaptation. However, many performance tests require a maximal or exhaustive effort, which reduces their real-world application. The purpose of this review was to investigate the development and use of submaximal cycling tests that can be used to predict and monitor cycling performance and training status. Twelve studies met the inclusion criteria, and 3 separate submaximal cycling tests were identified from within those 12. Submaximal variables including gross mechanical efficiency, oxygen uptake (VO2), heart rate, lactate, predicted time to exhaustion (pTE), rating of perceived exertion (RPE), power output, and heart-rate recovery (HRR) were the components of the 3 tests. pTE, submaximal power output, RPE, and HRR appear to have the most value for monitoring improvements in performance and indicate a state of fatigue. This literature review shows that several submaximal cycle tests have been developed over the last decade with the aim to predict, monitor, and optimize cycling performance. To be able to conduct a submaximal test on a regular basis, the test needs to be short in duration and as noninvasive as possible. In addition, a test should capture multiple variables and use multivariate analyses to interpret the submaximal outcomes correctly and alter training prescription if needed.

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Lieselot Decroix, Robert P. Lamberts, and Romain Meeusen

Context: The Lamberts and Lambert Submaximal Cycle Test (LSCT) consists of 3 stages during which cyclists cycle for 6 min at 60%, 6 min at 80%, and 3 min at 90% of their maximal heart rate, followed by 1-min recovery. Purpose: To determine if the LSCT is able to reflect a state of functional overreaching in professional female cyclists during an 8-d training camp and the following recovery days. Methods: Six professional female cyclists performed an LSCT on days 1, 5, and 8 of the training camp and 3 d after the training camp. During each stage of the LSCT, power output and rating of perceived exertion (RPE) were determined. Training diaries and Profile of Mood States (POMS) were also completed. Results: At the middle and the end of the training camp, increased power output during the 2nd and 3rd stages of the LSCT was accompanied with increased RPE during these stages and/or the inability to reach 90% of maximal heart rate. All athletes reported increased feelings of fatigue and muscle soreness, while changes in energy balance, calculated from the POMS, were less indicative of a state of overreaching. After 3 d of recovery, all parameters of the LSCT returned to baseline, indicating a state of functional overreaching during the training camp. Conclusion: The LSCT is able to reflect a state of overreaching in elite professional female cyclists during an 8-d training camp and the following recovery days.

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Teun van Erp, Marcel Kittel, and Robert P. Lamberts

Purpose: To describe the intensity, load, and performance characteristics of a world-class sprinter competing in the Tour de France (TdF). Method: Power output (PO) data were collected from 4 editions of the TdF (2013, 2014, 2016, and 2017) and analyzed. Load, intensity distribution in 5 PO zones, and the maximal mean PO for multiple durations were quantified. Stages were divided in accordance with the 4 different editions of the TdF, as well as the 4 different stage types, that is, flat (FLAT), semimountainous (SMT), mountain (MT), and (team) time trials. In addition, based on their location within the stage, mountain passes were further classified as BEGINNING, MIDDLE, or END of the stage. Results: No differences in load, intensity, and performance characteristics were found when the 4 editions of the TdF were compared. Time trials were associated with higher intensities but a lower load compared to the other stage types. MT showed higher load and intensity values compared to FLAT and SMT stages. FLAT stages were higher in short maximal mean PO (≤1 min), whereas MT stages showed higher longer endurance maximal mean PO values (≥20 min). In addition, mountain passes situated at the BEGINNING of the stage were completed with a higher PO, cadence, and speed compared with mountain passes situated at the END. Conclusions: A world-class sprinter sustains a higher load and spends more time in the high-intensity zones when competing in the TdF than previously reported values suggested. To finish the MT stages as efficiently as possible, sprinters adopt a reverse pacing strategy.

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Teun van Erp, Marcel Kittel, and Robert P. Lamberts

Purpose: To describe the performance and tactical sprint characteristics of a world-class sprinter competing in the Tour de France. In addition, differences in the sprint tactics of 2 teams and won versus lost sprints are highlighted. Method: Power output (PO) and video footage of 21 sprints were analyzed. Position in the peloton and number of teammates supporting the sprinter at different times before the finish line together with PO for different time intervals were determined. Sprints were classified as team Shimano (2013–2014) and team Quick-step (2016–2017), as well as won or lost. Results: The sprinter was highly successful, winning 14 out of the 21 sprints. At time intervals 10 to 5, 3 to 2, and 1.5 to 1 minute, POs were significantly lower in team Quick-step compared with team Shimano, but the sprinter was positioned further away from the front at 10, 2, 1.5, 1, and 0.5 minutes at team Quick-step compared with team Shimano. The PO was higher at time interval 0.5 to 0.25 minutes before the finish line with team Quick-step when compared with team Shimano. The position of the sprinter in the peloton in lost sprints was further away from the front at 0.5 minutes before the finish compared with won sprints, while no differences were noted for PO and the number of teammates between won and lost sprints. Conclusions: Differences in sprint tactics (Shimano vs Quick-step) influence the PO and position in the peloton during the sprint preparation. In addition, the position at 0.5 minutes before the finish line influences the outcome (won or lost) of the sprint.

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Andrew N. Bosch, Kirsten C. Flanagan, Maaike M. Eken, Adrian Withers, Jana Burger, and Robert P. Lamberts

Elliptical trainers and steppers are proposed as useful exercise modalities in the rehabilitation of injured runners due to the reduced stress on muscles and joints when compared to running. This study compared the physiological responses to submaximal running (treadmill) with exercise on the elliptical trainer and stepper devices at three submaximal but identical workloads. Authors had 18 trained runners (male/female: N = 9/9, age: mean ± SD = 23 ± 3 years) complete randomized maximal oxygen consumption tests on all three modalities. Submaximal tests of 3 min were performed at 60%, 70%, and 80% of peak workload individually established for each modality. Breath-by-breath oxygen consumption, heart rate, fuel utilization, and energy expenditure were determined. The value of maximal oxygen consumption was not different between treadmill, elliptical, and stepper (49.3 ± 5.3, 48.0 ± 6.6, and 46.7 ± 6.2 ml·min−1·kg−1, respectively). Both physiological measures (oxygen consumption and heart rate) as well as carbohydrate and fat oxidation differed significantly between the different exercise intensities (60%, 70%, and 80%) but did not differ between the treadmill, elliptical trainer, and stepper. Therefore, the elliptical trainer and stepper are suitable substitutes for running during periods when a reduced running load is required, such as during rehabilitation from running-induced injury.

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Michael I. Lambert, Janet A. Hefer, Robert P. Millar, and Peter W. Macfarlane

Amino acids are commonly ingested as ergogenic aids in the belief that they enhance protein synthesis and stimulate growth hormone release. The aim of this study was to determine the acute effect that amino acid supplements have on serum growth hormone (GH) concentration. Seven male bodybuilders reported to the laboratory on four occasions after an 8-hr fast and ingested, in random order, either a placebo, a 2.4-g arginine/lysine supplement, a 1.85-g ornithine/tyrosine supplement, or a 20-g BovrilR drink. Blood was collected before each treatment and again every 30 minutes for 3 hours for the measurement of serum GH concentration. On a separate occasion, subjects had an intravenous infusion of 0.5 fig GH-releasing hormone-kg ' body weight to confirm that GH secretory response was normal. The main finding was that serum GH concentrations were not altered consistently in healthy young males following the ingestion of the amino acid supplements in the quantities recommended by the manufacturers.

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Nicholas Tam, Ross Tucker, Jordan Santos-Concejero, Danielle Prins, and Robert P. Lamberts

Context: It is debated whether running biomechanics make good predictors of running economy, with little known about the neuromuscular and joint-stiffness contributions to economical running gait. Purpose: To understand the relationship between certain neuromuscular and spatiotemporal biomechanical factors associated with running economy. Methods: Thirty trained runners performed a 6-min constant-speed running set at 3.3 m·s−1, where oxygen consumption was assessed. Overground running trials were also performed at 3.3 m·s−1 to assess kinematics, kinetics, and muscle activity. Spatiotemporal gait variables, joint stiffness, preactivation, and stance-phase muscle activity (gluteus medius, rectus femoris, biceps femoris, peroneus longus, tibialis anterior, and gastrocnemius lateralis and medius) were variables of specific interest and thus determined. In addition, preactivation and ground contact of agonist–antagonist coactivation were calculated. Results: More economical runners presented with short ground-contact times (r = .639, P < .001) and greater stride frequencies (r = −.630, P < .001). Lower ankle and greater knee stiffness were associated with lower oxygen consumption (r = .527, P = .007 and r = .384, P = .043, respectively). Only  lateral gastrocnemius–tibialis anterior coactivation during stance was associated with lower oxygen cost of transport (r = .672, P < .0001). Conclusions: Greater muscle preactivation and biarticular muscle activity during stance were associated with more economical runners. Consequently, trained runners who exhibit greater neuromuscular activation prior to and during ground contact, in turn optimizing spatiotemporal variables and joint stiffness, will be the most economical runners.