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Optimal load for a torque-velocity relationship test during cycling

Authors: Renata L Krüger, Arthur Peyrard, Hervé di Domenico, Thomas Rupp, Guillaume Y Millet, Pierre Samozino.

Published: 20 August 2020 - Eur J Appl Physiol. 


Purpose: Lower limbs' neuromuscular force capabilities can only be determined during single sprints if the test provides a good fit of the data in the torque-velocity (T-V) and power-velocity (P-V) relationships. This study compared the goodness of fit of single sprints performed against traditional (7.5% of the body mass) vs. optimal load (calculated based on the force production capacity and ergometer specificities), and examined if reducing the load in fatigued state enhances T-V and P-V relationship goodness of fit.

Methods: Thirteen individuals performed sprints before (PRE) and after (POST) a fatiguing task against different loads: (1) TRAD: traditional, (2) OPT: optimal, and (3) LOW-OPT: optimal load reduced according to fatigue levels.

Results: At PRE, OPT sprints presented a higher R2 of the T-V relationship (0.92 ± 0.06) and lower time to reach maximal power (Pmax) (48 ± 9%) when compared with TRAD sprints (0.89 ± 0.06 and 66 ± 22%, respectively, p < 0.01). At POST, the range of velocity spectrum was greater in the LOW-OPT (33 ± 4%) vs. TRAD (24 ± 3%) and OPT (26 ± 8%, p < 0.007). Similarly, the time to reach Pmax was lower in the LOW-OPT (46 ± 12%) vs. TRAD (76 ± 24%) and OPT (70 ± 24%, p < 0.006).

Conclusion: Sprints performed against an OPT load and reducing the OPT load after fatigue improve the fit of data in the T-V and P-V curves. Sprints load assignment should consider force production capacities rather than body mass.

Keywords: Braking load; Force–velocity test; Maximal power output; Neuromuscular fatigue.

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