Cross-training between cycling and running in untrained females

J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 1996 Dec;36(4):246-54.


Objective: The purpose of the study was to evaluate the cross-training response between running and cycling in untrained females.

Experimental design: The following study involved a pretest, post-test, 3 x 3 factorial design.

Setting: Training (4 days-week-1, 10 weeks, 70-80% heart rate reserve) occurred at the Center for Exercise and Applied Human Physiology. Exercise testing occurred at the Veterans Hospital, Exercise Laboratory.

Patients and participants: Subjects included healthy, untrained females aged 18-25 years, (N = 18).

Intervention: Subjects were assigned to one of three (n = 6) training groups (run = R, cycle = C, both run and cycle = RC) matched on pre-training CE VO2max results.

Measures: Graded treadmill run (TR) and cycle ergometer (CE) tests were performed on each subject to determine a mode specific VO2max and the lactate threshold (LT). Graded arm ergometer (AE) was performed to determine VO2max and heart rate and blood lactate at 20 and 40 Watts (W). Testing occurred prior to (0T), after 5 (5T) and after 10 weeks of training (10T). Body fat testing (hydrodensitometry at residual lung volume) was performed at 0T and 10T.

Results: TR and CE VO2max as well as TR and CE VO2 at the LT improved throughout the 10 weeks, regardless of training group. Although there were no changes in VO2max or blood lactate levels during AE, submaximal heart rates were significantly reduced over the 10 weeks, regardless of training group.

Conclusions: These results indicate that the aerobic benefits of either run, cycle or combined run and cycle training are similar in untrained females. The LT and AE heart rate data demonstrate that improvements in VOmax due to ten weeks of training are a result of pronounced peripheral and moderate central adaptations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / anatomy & histology
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aerobiosis
  • Anaerobic Threshold
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Bicycling / physiology*
  • Body Composition
  • Cooperative Behavior
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Exercise Test
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Lactates / blood
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Physical Education and Training
  • Physical Endurance / physiology
  • Running / physiology*


  • Lactates