Influence of cycling cadence on subsequent running performance in triathletes


Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise:
APPLIED SCIENCES: Physical Fitness and Performance

VERCRUYSSEN, F., J. BRISSWALTER, C. HAUSSWIRTH, T. BERNARD, O. BERNARD, and J-M. VALLIER. Influence of cycling cadence on subsequent running performance in triathletes. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol. 34, No. 3, pp. 530–536, 2002.

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to investigate the influence of different cycling cadences on metabolic and kinematic parameters during subsequent running.

Methods: Eight triathletes performed two incremental tests (running and cycling) to determine maximal oxygen uptake (V̇O2max) and ventilatory threshold (VT) values, a cycling test to assess the energetically optimal cadence (EOC), three cycle-run succession sessions (C-R, 30-min cycle + 15-min run), and one 45-min isolated run (IR). EOC, C-R, and IR sessions were realized at an intensity corresponding to VT + 5%. During the cycling bouts of C-R sessions, subjects had to maintain one of the three pedaling cadences corresponding to the EOC (72.5 ± 4.6 rpm), the freely chosen cadence (FCC; 81.2 ± 7.2 rpm), and the theoretical mechanical optimal cadence (MOC, 90 rpm; Neptune and Hull, 1999).

Results: Oxygen uptake (V̇O2) increased during the 30-min cycling only at MOC (+12.0%) and FCC (+10.4%). During the running periods of C-R sessions, V̇O2, minute ventilation, and stride-rate values were significantly higher than during the IR session (respectively, +11.7%, +15.7%, and +7.2%). Furthermore, a significant effect of cycling cadence was found on V̇O2 variability during the 15-min subsequent run only for MOC (+4.1%) and FCC (+3.6%).

Conclusion: The highest cycling cadences (MOC, FCC) contribute to an increase in energy cost during cycling and the appearance of a V̇O2 slow component during subsequent running, whereas cycling at EOC leads to a stability in energy cost of locomotion with exercise duration. Several hypotheses are proposed to explain these results such as changes in fiber recruitment or hemodynamic modifications during prolonged exercise.

Author Information

Université de Toulon-Var, La Garde, FRANCE; Laboratoire de physiologie et biomécanique, INSEP, Paris, FRANCE; and Université de Poitiers, Poitiers, FRANCE

Submitted for publication January 2001.

Accepted for publication June 2001.

©2002The American College of Sports Medicine