Physiological effects of variations in spontaneously chosen crank rate during sub-maximal and supra-maximal upper body exercises

Int J Sports Med. 1999 May;20(4):239-45. doi: 10.1055/s-2007-971124.


The aim of the present study was to compare the physiological responses when the crank rate was chosen spontaneously (Ts) or set at +/- 10% (T-10%, T+10%) of the freely chosen rate, during two upper body exercises: i) a sub-maximal test (T(SUB)) in which intensities ranged from 50 to 80% (118.4 +/- 10.2 to 189.5 +/- 16.3 watts) of maximal power (MP) and ii) a supramaximal test (T(SUPRA)) in which power output was set at 110 and 120% (260.5 +/- 22.4 and 284.2 +/- 24.4 watts) of MP. Eight nationally and internationally ranked kayakers, aged 20 +/- 2 years, performed these tests in which power outputs were normalised in relation to the maximal power output determined during T(MP). In T(SUB+10%), oxygen uptake and ventilation were significantly (P< 0.05) higher than during T(SUBxS). In T(SUB+10%) and T(SUB-10%), energy expenditure was significantly (P<0.05) higher and gross and net efficiencies lower than during T(SUBxS). During T(SUPRA-10%) when the power output was set at 110% of MP, time to exhaustion was significantly higher (P<0.05) than during T(SUPRAxS). The findings of the present study suggest that upper body exercise performed on an ergocycle should be conducted using the freely and spontaneously chosen crank rate.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arm
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Exercise Test
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Physical Endurance / physiology*
  • Ships
  • Weight-Bearing