Single-leg cycling: a new training paradigm for improved bilateral cycling performance?

Turner, Rachel Ella Frost (2011). Single-leg cycling: a new training paradigm for improved bilateral cycling performance? University of Birmingham. M.Phil.


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Purpose: a pilot study to examine the potential additive training stimulus of single-leg (SL) cycle training (4wk), upon double-leg (DL) cycling TT performance. Methods: 11 trained cyclists (2 female), with ≥4 yr experience (mean ± SD: 33 ± 10yr, 73 ± 5.6kg, W\(_{max}\) = 335 ± 33 W, VO2\(_{max}\) = 62 ± 5.9mL∙kg \(^{-1}\)∙ min\(^{-1}\)) were recruited. Cyclists performed a SL and DL VO\(_{2max}\)test, plus a \(^~\)30min simulated DL TT, before they were randomly assigned to either the DL or SL training groups. Cyclists incorporated 12 x1h sessions (under laboratory supervision) to their normal training. DL participants performed 6 x 5min at \(^~\)70% W\(_{max}\), with both legs simultaneously (1:1 rest). SL participants performed 12 x 5min at \(^~\)35% W\(_{max}\), alternating training leg every 5min (on modified cycle ergometers- the contralateral pedal loaded with a 10 kg counter-weight). All performance tests were then repeated. Results: Cycling time trial (TT) performance was improved similarly, regardless of the mode of cycle training intervention (both groups improved TT performance by \(^~\)4.1% (p<0.05)). DL VO\(_{2max}\) and W\(_{max}\)were only increased significantly in the DL trained group (both p≤ 0.01), by \(^~\)4.6% and \(^~\)3.0% respectively. No significant improvement in SL VO\(_{2max}\) was observed in either group. Conclusion: 4 wks of SL training did significantly improve DL TT performance in well trained cyclists, perhaps eliciting a differential training stimulus. Regardless, SL training remains to be proven significantly more effective than DL training of a similar duration and intensity.

Type of Work: Thesis (Masters by Research > M.Phil.)
Award Type: Masters by Research > M.Phil.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
School or Department: School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: Q Science > QP Physiology


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