Author(s): Marsh AP, Martin PE, Foley KO
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Abstract PURPOSE: To examine the influence of cadence, cycling experience, and aerobic power on delta efficiency during cycling and to determine the significance of delta efficiency as a factor underlying the selection of preferred cadence. METHODS: Delta efficiency (DE) was determined for 11 trained experienced cyclists (C), 10 trained runners (R), and 10 less-trained noncyclists (LT) at 50, 65, 80, 95, and 110 rpm. Preferred cadence (PC) was determined at 100, 150, and 200 W for C and R and at 75, 100, and 150 W for LT. Gas exchange at each power output (PO) was measured on a separate day, and the five cadences were randomly ordered on each occasion. It was hypothesized that: a) cyclists are most efficient at the higher cadences at which they are accustomed to training and racing, i.e., there will be a trend for DE to increase with increases in cadence; b) cyclists and runners will exhibit similar DE across the range of cadences tested; and c) DE of less-trained subjects will be lower than that of cyclists and runners. RESULTS: PCs of C and R were similar and did not change appreciably with PO (100 W:C, 95.6 +/- 10.8; R, 92.0 +/- 8.5: 150 W:C, 94.4 +/- 10.3; R, 92.9 +/- 7.8: 200 W:C, 92.2 +/- 7.2; R, 91.8 +/- 7.9 rpm). The PC of LT was significantly lower and decreased with increases in power output (75 W: 80.0 +/- 15.3; 100 W; 77.5 +/- 15.1; 150 W; 69.1 +/- 11.9 rpm). The first hypothesis was rejected because analysis of the cyclists' data alone revealed no systematic increase in DE as cadence was increased [F(4,40) = 0.272, P = 0.894]. Repeated measures ANOVA on all three groups revealed no group x cadence interaction [F(8,112) = 0.589, P = 0.785]. Again there was no systematic effect of cadence on DE [F(4,112) = 1.058, P = 0.381]. The second and third hypotheses were also rejected since there was no group main effect, i.e., DE of cyclists, runners, and less-trained subjects were not significantly different [F(2,28) = 1.397, P = 0.264]. CONCLUSION: Pedaling cadence did not have a dramatic effect on DE in any group. Muscular efficiency, as measured indirectly by delta efficiency, appears to remain relatively constant at approximately 24\%, regardless of cycling experience or fitness level.
This article was published in Med Sci Sports Exerc
and referenced in Journal of Sports Medicine & Doping Studies