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J Strength Cond Res. 2003 Nov;17(4):785-91.

Effects of short-term training using powercranks on cardiovascular fitness and cycling efficiency.

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  • 1Department of Health, Sport and Exercise Science, University of Kansas, Lawrence 66045, USA.


Powercranks use a specially designed clutch to promote independent pedal work by each leg during cycling. We examined the effects of 6 wk of training on cyclists using Powercranks (n=6) or normal cranks (n=6) on maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max) and anaerobic threshold (AT) during a graded exercise test (GXT), and heart rate (HR), oxygen consumption (VO2), respiratory exchange ration (RER), and gross efficiency (GE) during a 1-hour submaximal ride at a constant load. Subjects trained at 70% of VO2max for 1 h.d(-1), 3 d.wk(-1), for 6 weeks. The GXT and 1-hour submaximal ride were performed using normal cranks pretraining and posttraining. The 1-hour submaximal ride was performed at an intensity equal to approximately 69% of pretraining VO2max with VO2, RER, GE, and HR determined at 15-minute intervals during the ride. No differences were observed between or within groups for VO2max or AT during the GXT. The Powercranks group had significantly higher GE values than the normal cranks group (23.6 +/- 1.3% versus 21.3 +/- 1.7%, and 23.9 +/- 1.4% versus 21.0 +/- 1.9% at 45 and 60 min, respectively), and significantly lower HR at 30, 45, and 60 minutes and VO2 at 45 and 60 minutes during the 1-hour submaximal ride posttraining. It appears that 6 weeks of training with Powercranks induced physiological adaptations that reduced energy expenditure during a 1-hour submaximal ride.

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