Cardiovascular and metabolic responses during functional electric stimulation cycling at different cadences

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2008 Apr;89(4):719-25. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2007.09.035.


Objective: To determine the influence of pedaling cadence on cardiorespiratory responses and muscle oxygenation during functional electric stimulation (FES) leg cycling.

Design: Repeated measures.

Setting: Laboratory.

Participants: Nine subjects with T4 through T10 spinal cord injury (SCI) (American Spinal Injury Association grade A).

Interventions: FES cycling was performed at pedaling cadences of 15, 30, and 50 revolutions per minute (rpm).

Main outcome measures: At each cadence, heart rate, oxygen uptake, and cardiac output were recorded during 35 minutes of cycling. Near infrared spectroscopy was used to quantify quadriceps muscle oxygenation.

Results: All pedaling cadences induced similar elevations in cardiorespiratory metabolism, compared with resting values. Higher average power output was produced at 30rpm (8.2+/-0.7W, P<.05) and 50rpm (7.9+/-0.5W, P<.05) compared with 15rpm (6.3+/-0.6W). Gross mechanical efficiency was significantly higher (P<.05) at 30 and 50rpm than at 15rpm. Quadriceps muscle oxygenation did not differ with pedaling cadences.

Conclusions: Cardiorespiratory responses and muscle metabolism adjustments during FES leg cycling were independent of pedal cadence. FES cycling at a cadence of 50rpm may not confer any advantages over 30 or 15rpm for cardiovascular fitness promotion in persons with SCI.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bicycling / physiology*
  • Cardiovascular Physiological Phenomena
  • Electric Stimulation / methods*
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology*
  • Exercise Test
  • Exercise Tolerance / physiology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Fatigue / physiology
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology
  • Paraplegia / diagnosis
  • Paraplegia / rehabilitation
  • Physical Exertion*
  • Probability
  • Reference Values
  • Respiratory Mechanics
  • Spectroscopy, Near-Infrared
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / diagnosis
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / rehabilitation*
  • Stroke Volume
  • Torque