A Performance Evaluation Test is a critical part of Track cycling training. Testing has the following uses: predict future performance, indicate weaknesses, measure improvement, enable the coach to assess the success of his training program, place the athlete in appropriate training group and to motivate the athlete. With this in mind, testing is almost a prerequisite among track cyclists.
There are 2 types of Performance Tests:
1) Maximal Type:
Maximal means the athlete works at maximum effort or tested to exhaustion. Examples of maximal anaerobic tests are the 30 metre acceleration test and the Wingate ANaerobic 30 cycle test. Examples of maximal aerobic tests are the Multistage Fitness Test or Bleep test and the Cooper VO2max test.
Disadvantages of maximal tests are: difficulty in ensuring the subject is exerting maximum effort, possible dangers of over exertion and injury, and dependent on the athlete’s level of arousal.
2) Submaximal Type:
Submaximal means the athlete works below maximum effort. In sub maximal tests, extrapolation is used to estimate maximum capacity. Examples of submaximal aerobic test are the PWC-170 test and the Queens College Step Test.
Disadvantages of submaximal tests are: depend on extrapolation being made to unknown maximum, small measurement inaccuracies can result in large discrepancies as a result of the extrapolation.
Based on my experience, the submaximal type was more frequently used as compared to the maximal type however, the two can be used interchangeably depending on the sports med specialist or the coach. With this in mind, a new novel performance evaluation test recently surfaced and studies revealed very promising results. I have not seen this type of test applied yet and I don’t know the specifics of the test, irregardless of that, a study released last July 2009 by Lamberts RP in the British Journal of Sports Medicine with the aim of determining the reliability and predictive value of performance parameters, measured by a new novel submaximal cycle protocol, on peak power and endurance cycling performance in well-trained cyclists. This novel submaximal test was then referred to as the Lamberts and Lambert submaximal cycle test (LSCT).
The methodology are as follows: Seventeen well-trained competitive male road racing cyclists completed four peak power output (PPO) tests and four 40-km time trials (40-km TT). Before each test, all cyclists performed a novel submaximal cycle test (Lamberts and Lambert Submaximal Cycle Test (LSCT)). Parameters associated with performance such as power, speed, cadence and rating of perceived exertion (RPE) were measured during the three stages of the test when cyclists rode at workloads coinciding with fixed predetermined heart rates. Heart rate recovery (HRR) was measured after the last stage of the test.
And the study concluded: The LSCT is a reliable novel test which is able to predict peak and endurance cycling performance from submaximal power, RPE and HRR in well-trained cyclists. As these parameters are able to detect meaningful changes more accurately than VO2max, the LSCT has the potential to monitor cycling performance with more precision than other current existing submaximal cycle protocols.
With that conclusion, I’d love to see this new performance test applied. It will be awhile before I can return to the track as I am finishing my post graduate research while Anna is also doing her postgraduate studies.