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Paul F.J. Merkes, Paolo Menaspà and Chris R. Abbiss

Cycling power meters typically rely on a measurement of crank arm, chain, pedal, or rear hub torque and angular velocity to calculate power output. 1 There are several models of power meters available on the market, with many validated against the SRM power meter (Schoberer Rad Messtechnik, Jülich

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Michael J. Grey, Charles W. Pierce, Theodore E. Milner and Thomas Sinkjaer

The modulation and strength of the human soleus short latency stretch reflex was investigated by mechanically perturbing the ankle during an unconstrained pedaling task. Eight subjects pedaled at 60 rpm against a preload of 10 Nm. A torque pulse was applied to the crank at various positions during the crank cycle, producing ankle dorsiflexion perturbations of similar trajectory. The stretch reflex was greatest during the power phase of the crank cycle and was decreased to the level of background EMG during recovery. Matched perturbations were induced under static conditions at the same crank angle and background soleus EMG as recorded during the power phase of active pedaling. The magnitude of the stretch reflex during the dynamic condition was not statistically different from that during the static condition throughout the power phase of the movement. The results of this study indicate that the stretch reflex is not depressed during active cycling as has been shown with the H-reflex. This lack of depression may reflect a decreased susceptibility of the stretch reflex to inhibition, possibly originating from presynaptic mechanisms.

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Lucinda E. Bouillon, Douglas K. Sklenka and Amy C. Driver

Context:

Interval cycle training could positively influence dynamic balance in middle-aged women.

Objective:

To compare training effects of a strength ergometer and a standard ergometer on 3 dynamic balance tests.

Design:

Repeated measures.

Setting:

Laboratory.

Participants:

Seventeen women were randomly assigned to standard (n = 10) or strength cycle ergometry (n = 7). A control group consisted of 7 women.

Intervention:

Ergometry interval training (3 sessions/wk for 4 wk).

Main Outcome Measures:

Three balance tests—the Star Excursion Balance Test (SEBT), timed up-and-go (TUG), and four-square step test (FSST)—were performed at pretraining and 4 wk posttraining.

Results:

Four SEBT directions improved and faster scores for FSST and TUG tests for the standard-cycle group were found, whereas the strength-cycle group only improved their TUG scores. No changes posttraining for the control group.

Conclusions:

Stationary cycle training should be included in the dynamic balance-rehabilitation protocol for middle-aged women.

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Graham E. Caldwell, James M. Hagberg, Steve D. McCole and Li Li

Lower extremity joint moments were investigated in three cycling conditions: level seated, uphill seated and uphill standing. Based on a previous study (Caldwell, Li, McCole, & Hagberg, 1998), it was hypothesized that joint moments in the uphill standing condition would be altered in both magnitude and pattern. Eight national caliber cyclists were filmed while riding their own bicycles mounted to a computerized ergometer. Applied forces were measured with an instrumented pedal, and inverse dynamics were used to calculate joint moments. In the uphill seated condition the joint moments were similar in profile to the level seated but with a modest increase in magnitude. In the uphill standing condition the peak ankle plantarflexor moment was much larger and occurred later in the downstroke than in the seated conditions. The extensor knee moment that marked the first portion of the down-stroke for the seated trials was extended much further into the downstroke while standing, and the subsequent knee flexor moment period was of lower magnitude and shorter duration. These moment changes in the standing condition can be explained by a combination of more forward hip and knee positions, increased magnitude of pedal force, and an altered pedal force vector direction. The data support the notion of an altered contribution of both muscular and non-muscular sources to the applied pedal force. Muscle length estimates and muscle activity data from an earlier study (Li & Caldwell, 1996) support the unique roles of mono-articular muscles for energy generation and bi-articular muscles for balancing of adjacent joint moments in the control of pedal force vector direction.

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Jana Hagen, Carl Foster, Jose Rodríguez-Marroyo, Jos J. de Koning, Richard P. Mikat, Charles R. Hendrix and John P. Porcari

Music is widely used as an ergogenic aid in sport, but there is little evidence of its effectiveness during closedloop athletic events. In order to determine the effectiveness of music as an ergogenic aid, well-trained and task-habituated cyclists performed 10-km cycle time trials either while listening to self-selected motivational music or with auditory input blocked. There were no statistically significant differences in performance time or physiological or psychological markers related to music (time-trial duration 17.75 ± 2.10 vs 17.81 ± 2.06 min, mean power output 222 ± 66 vs 220 ± 65 W, peak heart rate 184 ± 9 vs 183 ± 8 beats/min, peak blood lactate 12.1 ± 2.6 vs 11.9 ± 2.1 mmol/L, and final rating of perceived exertion 8.4 ± 1.5 vs 8.5 ± 1.6). It is concluded that during exercise at competitive intensity, there is no meaningful effect of music on either performance or physiology.

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Steven J. Elmer and James C. Martin

Eccentric cycling serves a useful exercise modality in clinical, research, and sport training settings. However, several constraints can make it difficult to use commercially available eccentric cycle ergometers. In this technical note, we describe the process by which we built an isokinetic eccentric cycle ergometer using exercise equipment modified with commonly available industrial parts. Specifically, we started with a used recumbent cycle ergometer and removed all the original parts leaving only the frame and seat. A 2.2 kW electric motor was attached to a transmission system that was then joined with the ergometer. The motor was controlled using a variable frequency drive, which allowed for control of a wide range of pedaling rates. The ergometer was also equipped with a power measurement device that quantified work, power, and pedaling rate and provided feedback to the individual performing the exercise. With these parts along with some custom fabrication, we were able to construct an isokinetic eccentric cycle ergometer suitable for research and training. This paper offers a guide for those individuals who plan to use eccentric cycle ergometry as an exercise modality and wish to construct their own ergometer.

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Matthew W. Driller, Christos K. Argus, Jason C. Bartram, Jacinta Bonaventura, David T. Martin, Nicholas P. West and Shona L. Halson

Purpose:

To determine the intraday and interday reliability of a 2 × 4-min performance test on a cycle ergometer (Wattbike) separated by 30 min of passive recovery (2 × 4MMP).

Methods:

Twelve highly trained cyclists (mean ± SD; age = 20 ± 2 y, predicted VO2max = 59.0 ± 3.6 mL · kg−1 · min−1) completed six 2 × 4MMP cycling tests on a Wattbike ergometer separated by 7 d. Mean power was measured to determine intraday (test 1 [T1] to test 2 [T2]) and interday reliability (weeks 1–6) over the repeated trials.

Results:

The mean intraday reliabilities of the 2 × 4MMP test, as expressed by the typical error of measurement (TEM, W) and coefficient of variation (CV, %) over the 6 wk, were 10.0 W (95% confidence limits [CL] 8.2–11.8), and 2.6% (95%CL 2.1–3.1), respectively. The mean interday reliability TEM and CV for T1 over the 6 wk were 10.4 W (95%CL 8.7–13.3) and 2.7% (95%CL 2.3–3.5), respectively, and 11.7 W (95%CL 9.8–15.1) and 3.0% (95%CL 2.5–3.9) for T2.

Conclusion:

The testing protocol performed on a Wattbike cycle ergometer in the current study is reproducible in highly trained cyclists. The high intraday and interday reliability make it a reliable method for monitoring cycling performance and for investigating factors that affect performance in cycling events.

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José R. Lillo-Bevia and Jesús G. Pallarés

One of the biggest advances in cycling physiology during the last decades has been the commercial availability of power-measuring tools, allowing the direct measurement of power output (PO) produced at the bicycle during cycling training, competition, and laboratory testing. A cycle trainer is a

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Jeremiah J. Peiffer and Chris R. Abbiss

The use of elliptical chainrings (also called chainwheels or sprockets) has gained considerable interest in the amateur and professional cycling community. Nevertheless, we are unaware of any scientific studies that have examined the performance benefits of using elliptical chainrings during an actual performance trial. Therefore, this study examined the influence of elliptical chainring use on physiological and performance parameters during a 10 km cycling time trial. Nine male cyclists completed, in a counterbalanced order, three 10 km cycling time trials using either a standard chainring or an elliptical chainring at two distinct settings. An attempt was made to blind the cyclists to the type of chainring used until the completion of the study. During the 10 km time trial, power output and heart rate were recorded at a frequency of 1 Hz and RPE was measured at 3, 6, and 8.5 km. Total power output was not different (P = .40) between the circular (340 ± 30 W) or either elliptical chainring condition (342 ± 29 W and 341 ± 31 W). Similarly, no differences (P = .73) in 2 km mean power output were observed between conditions. Further, no differences in RPE were observed between conditions measured at 3, 6, and 8.5 km. Heart rate was significantly greater (P = .02) using the less aggressive elliptical setting (174 ± 10 bpm) compared with the circular setting (171 ± 9 bpm). Elliptical chainrings do not appear to provide a performance benefit over traditional circular chainrings during a mid-distance time trial.

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James C. Martin, Steven J. Elmer, Robert D. Horscroft, Nicholas A.T. Brown and Barry B. Shultz

The purpose of this study was to develop and evaluate an alternative method for determining the position of the anterior superior iliac spine (ASIS) during cycling. The approach used in this study employed an instrumented spatial linkage (ISL) system to determine the position of the ASIS in the parasagittal plane. A two-segment ISL constructed using aluminum segments, bearings, and digital encoders was tested statically against a calibration plate and dynamically against a video-based motion capture system. Four well-trained cyclists provided data at three pedaling rates. Statically, the ISL had a mean horizontal error of 0.03 ± 0.21 mm and a mean vertical error of −0.13 ± 0.59 mm. Compared with the video-based motion capture system, the agreement of the location of the ASIS had a mean error of 0.30 ± 0.55 mm for the horizontal dimension and −0.27 ± 0.60 mm for the vertical dimension. The ISL system is a cost-effective, accurate, and valid measure for two-dimensional kinematic data within a range of motion typical for cycling.