European Journal of Applied Physiology
Centre for Human Performance / School of Medical and Health Sciences
Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship (S.Connolly) / Western Australian Institute of Sport, High Performance Research Centre Scholarship (S.Connolly)
A cyclist’s rate of force/torque development (RFD/RTD) and peak force/torque can be measured during single-joint or whole-body isometric tests, or during cycling. However, there is limited understanding of the relationship between these measures, and of the mechanisms that contribute to each measure. Therefore, we examined the: (i) relationship between quadriceps central and peripheral neuromuscular function with RFD/RTD in isometric knee extension, isometric mid-thigh pull (IMTP), and sprint cycling; and (ii) relationship among RFD/RTD and peak force/torque between protocols.
Eighteen trained cyclists completed two familiarisation and two experimental sessions. Each session involved an isometric knee extension, IMTP, and sprint cycling protocol, where peak force/torque, average and peak RFD/RTD, and early (0 – 100 ms) and late (0–200 ms) RFD/RTD were measured. Additionally, measures of quadriceps central and peripheral neuromuscular function were assessed during the knee extension.
Strong relationships were observed between quadriceps early EMG activity (EMG50/M) and knee extension RTD (r or ρ = 0.51 – 0.65) and IMTP late RFD (r = 0.51), and between cycling early or late RTD and peak twitch torque (r or ρ = 0.70 – 0.75). Strong-to-very strong relationships were observed between knee extension, IMTP, and sprint cycling for peak force/torque, early and late RFD/RTD, and peak RFD/RTD (r or ρ = 0.59 – 0.80).
In trained cyclists, knee extension RTD or IMTP late RFD are related to measures of quadriceps central neuromuscular function, while cycling RTD is related to measures of quadriceps peripheral neuromuscular function. Further, the strong associations among force/torque measures between tasks indicate a level of transferability across tasks.
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