Age difference in efficiency of locomotion and maximal power output in well-trained triathletes
Faculty of Health, Engineering and Science
Centre for Exercise and Sports Science Research
Purpose The aim of this study was to examine the influence of age on cycling efficiency and sprint power output in well-trained endurance masters athletes. Methods The investigation was conducted on 60 healthy well-trained triathletes separated into six separate groups (n = 10) depending on age: 20-29 years old; 30-39 years old; 40-49 years old; 50-59 years old; 60-69 years old; 70 years old. Each participant attended the laboratory on three separate occasions to perform (1) an incremental cycling test, (2) maximal peak sprint power test, involving three 5-s sprint efforts (3) and a 10-min sub-maximal cycling test for determination of cycling efficiency. Results Cycling efficiency decreased beyond 50 years (50-59 years compared with 20-29 years: -7.3 ± 1.8 %; p < 0.05) and continued to decrease beyond 60 years (60-69 years compared with 50-59 years: -10.7 ± 2.4 %; p < 0.05), no further decrease was observed after 70 years. A continuous impairment in maximal sprint power output was observed after the age of 50 years leading to an overall decrease of 36 % between 20-29 years and >70 years. Significant positive relationships were observed between maximal sprint power output and both cycling efficiency (r2 = 0.64, p < 0.05) and maximal aerobic power (r2 = 0.42 and p < 0.05). Conclusion The present data indicates a significant effect of ageing on cycling efficiency and maximal sprint power output after 50 years and a significant relationship was found between these two parameters.