Cycling Experience and Efficiency

18 Aug

A lot of people ask, does cycling experience lead to a more efficient performance in the track? As I have noted in a previous post, performance can be measured in a number of ways including Gross mechanical efficiency.

Controversy still exists in the literature as to whether cycling experience affects gross mechanical efficiency (GME). A study last 2007 sought to identify differences in efficiency by way of the gross mechanical efficiency between trained and untrained cyclists.

Thirty-two participants, 16 trained (mean+/-SD: age, 33+/-4 y; height, 1.76+/-0.05 m; mass 75+/-10 kg; Wmax, 421+/-38 W; maximal oxygen uptake, 62.6+/-7.30 and 16 untrained (22+/-3 y, 175+/-0.06 m, 76+/-10 kg, 292+/-34 W, 42.6+/-7.80, performed two tests of cycling efficiency.

One was at the relative workloads of 50% and 60% Wmax and the other was at a fixed workload of 150 W using an electrically braked cycle ergometer. Cadence was maintained at the cyclist’s preferred rate throughout. All workloads lasted 10 min with data sampling in the final 3 min. GME was calculated from the gas data.

GME was found to be significantly higher in the trained cyclists across all workloads (+1.4%; p=0.03). At workloads of 60% Wmax GME was significantly lower than work at 150 W (-0.8%; p=0.04), but not significantly different from 50% Wmax.

These results show that differences do exist between trained and untrained cyclists, illustrating that training experience is a factor that warrants further investigation.


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