Influence of All-Out and Fast Start on 5-min Cycling Time Trial Performance

Document Type

Journal Article


Lippincott Williams & Wilkins


Faculty of Computing, Health and Science


School of Exercise, Biomedical and Health Science / Centre for Exercise and Sports Science Research




Aisbett, B., Lerossignol, P., McConell, G. K., Abbiss, C. R., & Snow, R. (2009). Influence of all-out and fast start on 5-min cycling time trial performance. Med Sci Sports Exerc, 41(10), 1965-1971. Available here


Purpose: To examine the influence of two different fast-start pacing strategies on performance and oxygen consumption (V·O2) during cycle ergometer time trials lasting ~5 min. Methods: Eight trained male cyclists performed four cycle ergometer time trials whereby the total work completed (113 ± 11.5 kJ; mean ± SD) was identical to the better of two 5-min self-paced familiarization trials. During the performance trials, initial power output was manipulated to induce either an all-out or a fast start. Power output during the first 60 s of the fast-start trial was maintained at 471.0 ± 48.0 W, whereas the all-out start approximated a maximal starting effort for the first 15 s (mean power: 753.6 ± 76.5 W) followed by 45 s at a constant power output (376.8 ± 38.5 W). Irrespective of starting strategy, power output was controlled so that participants would complete the first quarter of the trial (28.3 ± 2.9 kJ) in 60 s. Participants performed two trials using each condition, with their fastest time trial compared. Results: Performance time was significantly faster when cyclists adopted the all-out start (4 min 48 s ± 8 s) compared with the fast start (4 min 51 s ± 8 s; P < 0.05). The first-quarter V·O2 during the all-out start trial (3.4 ± 0.4 L·min-1) was significantly higher than during the fast-start trial (3.1 ± 0.4 L·min-1; P < 0.05). After removal of an outlier, the percentage increase in first-quarter V·O2 was significantly correlated (r = -0.86, P < 0.05) with the relative difference in finishing time. Conclusions: An all-out start produces superior middle distance cycling performance when compared with a fast start. The improvement in performance may be due to a faster V·O2 response rather than time saved due to a rapid acceleration



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