Assessing the rate of torque development in sprint cycling: a methodological study

Shannon Connolly, Peter Peeling, Martyn J. Binnie, Paul S.R. Goods, Anthony J. Blazevich, Wouter P. Timmerman, Chris R. Abbiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

The present study examined (i) the magnitude of the rate of torque development (RTD) and (ii) the between-day reliability of RTD at the start of a cycling sprint when sprint resistance, sprint duration, and the pedal downstroke were altered. Nineteen well-trained cyclists completed one familiarisation and three testing sessions. Each session involved one set of 1-s sprints and one set of 5-s sprints. Each set contained one moderate (0.3 N m kg−1), one heavy (0.6 N m kg−1), and one very heavy (1.0 N m kg−1) resistance sprint. RTD measures (average and peak RTD, RTD 0–100 ms, and RTD 0–200 ms) were calculated for downstroke 1 in the 1-s sprint. For the 5-s sprints, RTD measures were calculated for each of the first three downstrokes, as an average of downstrokes 1 and 2, and as an average of downstrokes 2 and 3. Whilst RTDs were greatest in downstroke 3 at all resistances, the greatest number of reliable RTD measures were obtained using the average of downstrokes 2 and 3 with heavy or very heavy resistances, where average and peak RTD, and RTD 0–200 ms were deemed reliable (ICC ≥ 0.8, CV ≤ 10%). Since only 1–2 downstrokes can be completed within 1 s, the greatest RTD reliability cannot be achieved using a 1-s sprint; therefore, the average of downstrokes 2 and 3 during a >2-s cycling sprint (e.g. 5-s test) with heavy or very heavy resistance is recommended for the assessment of RTD in sprint cyclists. Highlights Whilst RTD measures were greatest in pedal downstroke 3 at all resistances, the greatest number of reliable RTD measures were obtained using the average of pedal downstrokes 2 and 3 with heavy or very heavy resistances, with average and peak RTD, and RTD 0–200 ms having acceptable reliability. RTD 0–100 ms and all RTD measurements for downstroke 1 were not reliable and should not be used. As only 1–2 downstrokes can be performed in 1 s, the greatest RTD reliability cannot be achieved using a 1-s sprint. Instead, RTD may be evaluated using a 5-s sprint.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)964-974
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Journal of Sport Science
Volume23
Issue number6
Early online date13 Jun 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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