The effects of 6-week-decoupled bi-pedal cycling on submaximal and high intensity performance in competitive cyclists and triathletes

Eur J Appl Physiol. 2011 Aug;111(8):1625-30. doi: 10.1007/s00421-010-1785-z. Epub 2010 Dec 31.


Aim of this work was to examine the effects of decoupled two-legged cycling on (1) submaximal and maximal oxygen uptake, (2) power output at 4 mmol L(-1) blood lactate concentration, (3) mean and peak power output during high intensity cycling (30 s sprint) and (4) isometric and dynamic force production of the knee extensor and flexor muscles. 18 highly trained male competitive male cyclists and triathletes (age 24 ± 3 years; body height 179 ± 11 cm; body mass 78 ± 8 kg; peak oxygen uptake 5,070 ± 680 mL min(-1)) were equally randomized to exercise on a stationary cycle equipped either with decoupled or with traditional crank system. The intervention involved 1 h training sessions, 5 times per week for 6 weeks at a heart rate corresponding to 70% of VO(2peak). VO(2) at 100, 140, 180, 220 and 260 and power output at 4 mmol L(-1) blood lactate were determined during an incremental test. VO(2peak) was recorded during a ramp protocol. Mean and peak power output were assessed during a 30 s cycle sprint. The maximal voluntary isometric strength of the quadriceps and biceps femoris muscles was obtained using a training machine equipped with a force sensor. No differences were observed between the groups for changes in any variable (P = 0.15-0.90; effect size = 0.00-0.30). Our results demonstrate that a 6 week (30 sessions) training block using decoupled crank systems does not result in changes in any physiological or performance variables in highly trained competitive cyclists.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Athletic Performance / physiology*
  • Bicycling / physiology*
  • Competitive Behavior / physiology*
  • Exercise Test / methods
  • Heart Rate / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Physical Endurance / physiology
  • Physical Exertion / physiology
  • Physical Fitness / physiology
  • Running / physiology
  • Sports / physiology*
  • Swimming / physiology
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult