The effect of training volume and intensity on competitive cyclists' efficiency

Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2010 Feb;35(1):17-22. doi: 10.1139/H09-124.


The impact of different intensity training on cycling efficiency in competitive cyclists is unknown. Twenty-nine endurance-trained competitive male cyclists completed 3 laboratory visits during a 12-week training period. At each visit, their cycling efficiency and maximal oxygen uptake were determined. After the first visit, cyclists were randomly split into 2 groups (A and B). Over the first 6 weeks, between tests 1 and 2, group A was prescribed specific high-intensity training sessions, whereas group B was restricted in the amount of intensive work undertaken. After test 2 and for the second 6-week period, group B was allowed to conduct high-intensity training. Gross efficiency (GE) increased in group A (+1.6 +/- 1.4%; p < 0.05) following the high-intensity training, whereas no significant change was seen in group B (+0.1 +/- 0.7%; p > 0.05). Group B cyclists increased their GE between tests 2 and 3 (+1.4 +/- 0.8%; p < 0.05) but no changes in GE were observed in group A over this period (+0.4 +/- 0.4%; p > 0.05). Delta efficiency (DE) did not change significantly in either group across the study period. This study demonstrates that GE is increased following high-intensity training in competitive male cyclists after 12 weeks.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Athletic Performance / physiology
  • Athletic Performance / statistics & numerical data*
  • Bicycling / physiology
  • Bicycling / statistics & numerical data*
  • Competitive Behavior / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology
  • Physical Endurance / physiology*
  • Physical Exertion / physiology*
  • Physical Fitness / physiology*