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A Kinematic Comparison of Alterations to Knee and Ankle Angles from Resting Measures to Active Pedaling During a Graded Exercise Protocol

Peveler, Willard W.; Shew, Brandy; Johnson, Samantha; Palmer, Thomas G.

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: November 2012 - Volume 26 - Issue 11 - p 3004–3009
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e318243fdcb
Original Research

Abstract: Peveler, WW, Shew, B, Johnson, S, and Palmer, TG. A kinematic comparison of alterations to knee and ankle angles from resting measures to active pedaling during a graded exercise protocol. J Strength Cond Res 26(11): 3004–3009, 2012—Saddle height is one of the most researched areas of bike fit. The current accepted method for adjusting saddle height involves the use of a goniometer to adjust saddle height so that a knee angle between 25° and 35° is obtained. This measurement is taken while the cyclist maintains a static position with the pedal at the 6-o′-clock position. However, the act of pedaling is dynamic, and angles may alter during movement. The purpose of this study was to examine the alterations to knee and ankle angle occurring from static measures to active pedaling across intensities experienced by cyclists during a graded exercise protocol. Thirty-four recreational to highly trained cyclists were evaluated using 2D analysis of stationary position and 3 active levels (level 1, respiratory exchange ratio of 1.00, and max). Dependent measures were compared using repeated measures analysis of variance (p = 0.05). When examining the results, it is evident that significant alterations to pedal stroke occur from stationary measures to active pedaling and as intensity increases toward maximal. Plantar flexion increased when moving from stationary measures to active pedaling, which resulted in an increase in knee angle. Although still greater than stationary measures, less plantar flexion occurred at higher intensities when compared with lower intensity cycling. Less plantar flexion at higher intensities is most likely a result of application of a larger downward torque occurring because of greater power requirements at higher intensities. There appeared to be greater variability in angle when examining novice cyclists in relation to more experienced cyclists. Although stationary measures are where a bike fit session will begin, observation during the pedal cycle may be needed to fine-tune the riders' fit.

1Department of Kinesiology and Health, Northern Kentucky University, Highland Heights, Kentucky

2Department of Kinesiology and Health Promotion, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky

Address correspondence to Willard Peveler,

Copyright © 2012 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.