Determining optimal load for a constant-load cycle ergometer test relative to isotonic leg strength

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Virginia Tech

This study investigated the determination of an optimal resistive force for use during a short-term, high-intensity cycling power test. Twenty-four college females [age (yrs) x̄=22.0 ± 0.50; weight (kg) x̄=60.3 ± 1.46] gave consent and participated in a 1 repetition maximum (RM) test of the leg extensors and 5 maximal 15 s cycling tests using a modified Monark cycle ergometer. The 1 RM test was performed using a Nautilus leg extensor machine. Even increments between six to ten % 1RM test were utilized to determine the resistive force applied to the flywheel. The 5 tests were divided into a 2 testing sessions occurring at least 48 h apart. Each subject warmed-up at 50 - 60 rpms for 2 - 5 minutes without resistance prior to testing. Each test consisted of a maximal cycling bout of 15 s with 20 minutes rest between tests. The variables measured included peak power (PP), time to peak power (TTPP), power fatigue rate (PFR), power fatigue index (PFI), and average power (AP). These values were collected by a microcomputer interfaced with the cycle ergometer. In general, PP decreased at a resistance greater than 9 % 1RM. The average reported PP values were 363±15, 413±19, 465±19, 520±21, and 460±41 for loads 6 to 10 % 1RM respectively. Similar results were reported for AP. The differences in PP for loads between 8 and 10 % 1RM were statistically different. Results show that PP varies based on loads of % 1RM and the optimal range is between 8 and 10% 1RM.