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Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise:
doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000000159
Applied Sciences

Prior Upper Body Exercise Reduces Cycling Work Capacity but Not Critical Power

Johnson, Michael A.1; Mills, Dean E.1; Brown, Peter I.2; Sharpe, Graham R.1

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Abstract

Purpose: This study examined whether metabolite accumulation, induced by prior upper body exercise, affected the power–duration relationship for leg cycle ergometry.

Methods: Seven males performed, to the limit of tolerance and both without (L) and with (AL) prior severe-intensity arm-cranking exercise, an incremental cycling test and four constant power cycling tests to determine the parameters of the power–duration relationship: critical power (CP) and W′.

Results: At the onset of cycling exercise plasma lactate (L vs AL: 1.2 ± 0.1 vs 11.6 ± 2.9 mEq·L−1) and hydrogen ion (40.4 ± 1.3 vs 53.1 ± 4.3 nEq·L−1), concentrations were higher during AL compared with L, whereas the strong ion difference (37.8 ± 1.8 vs 32.4 ± 2.0 mEq·L−1) and bicarbonate concentration (25.7 ± 0.7 vs 18.3 ± 1.9 mEq·L−1) were lower during AL compared with L (P < 0.01). During incremental exercise, maximum cycling power (358 ± 15 vs 332 ± 21 W) and peak oxygen uptake (V˙O2peak) (4.31 ± 0.36 vs 3.71 ± 0.44 L·min−1) were lower during AL compared with L (P < 0.05). The rate of increase in plasma potassium concentration during constant power cycling was greater during AL compared with L (0.09 ± 0.08 vs 0.14 ± 0.13 mEq·L−1·min−1) (P < 0.05), and exercise duration was 35 ± 15% shorter (P < 0.01). CP was not different between L and AL (267 ± 19 vs 264 ± 20 W), whereas W′ was lower in AL (17.3 ± 5.7 vs 11.8 ± 4.2 kJ) (P < 0.01).

Conclusion: The reduced W′ after prior upper body exercise indicates that the magnitude of W′ is partly dependent on metabolite accumulation.

© 2014 American College of Sports Medicine

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