The effect of a decrease in stretch-shortening cycle function after cycling on subsequent running

J Sci Med Sport. 2022 Mar;25(3):261-265. doi: 10.1016/j.jsams.2021.09.004. Epub 2021 Sep 14.


Objectives: Increased cardiorespiratory responses and changes in muscle activity and running kinematics occur in running after cycling compared with isolated running. Nevertheless, little is known about the causes of these changes. Cycling exercise decreases the stretch-shortening cycle (SSC) function, which can influence subsequent running. This study aimed to clarify whether the decrease in SSC function after cycling causes cardiorespiratory and biomechanical changes in subsequent running.

Design: Cross-sectional laboratory study. Participants were divided into two groups based on SSC function: an SSC dec group (those with decreased SSC function after cycling) and an SSC non-dec group (those without decreased SSC function after cycling).

Methods: Eighteen participants (10 triathletes and 8 runners) completed maximal aerobic tests for running and cycling. After these sessions, a submaximal run-cycle-run test was performed to compare between control run (no preceding cycle) and transition run (preceded by cycling). A jump test was administered before and after the submaximal cycling. SSC function was calculated as the ratio of the jump height to the time spent in contact with the ground (reactive strength index). Gas exchange measures, heart rate, and gait parameters were collected throughout the test.

Results: Oxygen uptake and ventilation were increased by cycling in the SSC dec group but not in the SSC non-dec group. In both groups, there were no significant differences in the gait parameters between control and transition runs.

Conclusions: The decrease in SSC function after cycling would increase cardiorespiratory responses in subsequent running.

Keywords: Cardiorespiratory fitness; Cross-training; Endurance; Reactive strength index; Stretch-shortening cycle exercise; Triathlon.

MeSH terms

  • Bicycling / physiology
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Gait
  • Humans
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology
  • Physical Endurance / physiology
  • Running* / physiology