Joint-Specific Power-Pedaling Rate Relationships During Maximal Cycling

in Journal of Applied Biomechanics
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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; R2 = .90) decreased with increasing pedaling rate, whereas relative hip extension power (41 to 59%; P < .01; R2 = .92) and knee flexion power (34 to 49%; P < .01; R2 = .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.

John McDaniel is with the Department of Exercise Science, Kent State University, Kent, Ohio, and with the Louis Stokes Cleveland Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Cleveland, Ohio. N. Scott Behjani is with the Department of Exercise and Sport Science, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah. Steven J. Elmer is with the Department of Exercise Science and STEM Education and with the Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Maine, Orono, Maine. Nicholas A.T. Brown is with Movement Science, Australian Institute of Sport, Canberra, ACT, Australia. James C. Martin is with the Department of Exercise and Sport Science, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah. Address author correspondence to James C. Martin at