Author(s): McClave SA, LeBlanc M, Hawkins SA
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Abstract Critical power (CP) is a theoretical workload representative of an athlete's maximal sustainable pace. Recent research has validated a 3-minute all-out test on a cycle ergometer for determining CP; however, few studies have investigated the sustainability of CP using this test. The purpose of this study was to determine the sustainability of CP established during the 3-minute test and the determinants of sustainability. A group of elite cyclists (N = 21) performed a VO2max test, 3-minute all-out test, and a time to exhaustion (TTE) trial at CP on 3 different days separated by at least 24 hours. Expired gases were collected during all trials and analyzed for VO2 and VCO2. Heart rate was measured by telemetry. Multiple regression was used to determine predictors of sustainability with significance predetermined at p < 0.05. VO2max was measured at 58.9 ± 5.6 ml·kg(-1)·min(-1), ventilation breakpoint at 44.9 ± 5.7 ml·kg(-1)·min(-1) (75\% VO2max), and maximum heart rate at 179 ± 10 b·min(-1). Peak power (PP) in the 3-minute all-out test was measured at 738 ± 170 W, and CP was determined at 305 ± 32 W or 79\% of VO2max. The VO2 at CP was 55.4 ± 6.9 ml·kg(-1)·min(-1), representing 94\% of measured VO2max. The mean TTE at CP was 14.79 ± 8.38 minutes. The difference score of PP - CP significantly predicted TTE (r = 0.65, p < 0.05). No other measured variables contributed to this prediction. Based on sustainability, these data suggest that the 3-minute all-out test may overestimate CP in elite cyclists, which could lead to overtraining if CP determined with this test is used to identify training intensities.
This article was published in J Strength Cond Res
and referenced in Journal of Sports Medicine & Doping Studies