A comparative analysis of physiological responses at submaximal workloads during different laboratory simulations of field cycling

Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol. 1995;71(5):409-15. doi: 10.1007/BF00635874.


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the relationships between heart rate (fc), oxygen consumption (VO2), peak force and average force developed at the crank in response to submaximal exercise employing a racing bicycle which was attached to an ergometer (RE), ridden on a treadmill (TC) and ridden on a 400-m track (FC). Eight male trained competitive cyclists rode at three pre-determined work intensities set at a proportion of their maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max): (1) below lactate threshold [work load that produces a VO2 which is 10% less than the lactate threshold VO2 (sub-LT)], (2) lactate threshold VO2 (LT), and (3) above lactate threshold [workload that produces a VO2 which is 10% greater than lactate threshold VO2 (supra-LT)], and equated across exercise modes on the basis of fc. Voltage signals from the crank arm were recorded as FM signals for subsequent representation of peak and average force. Open circuit VO2 measurements were done in the field by Douglas bag gas collection and in the laboratory by automated gas collection and analysis. fc was recorded with a telemeter (Polar Electro Sport Tester, PE3000). Significant differences (P < 0.05) were observed: (1) in VO2 between FC and both laboratory conditions at sub-LT intensity and LT intensities, (2) in peak force between FC and TC at sub-LT intensity, (3) in average force between FC and RE at sub-LT. No significant differences were demonstrated at supra-LT intensity for VO2. Similarly no significant differences were observed in peak and average force for either LT or supra-LT intensities. These data indicate that equating work intensities on the basis of fc measured in laboratory conditions would overestimate the VO2 which would be generated in the field and conversely, that using fc measured in the laboratory to establish field work intensity would underestimate mechanical workload experienced in the field.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bicycling*
  • Heart Rate / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Lactates / metabolism
  • Lactic Acid
  • Male
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology*
  • Physical Exertion / physiology*


  • Lactates
  • Lactic Acid