Assessing the rate of torque development in sprint cycling: A methodological study
European Journal of Sport Science
Taylor & Francis
School of Medical and Health Sciences
Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship Western Australian Institute of Sport
High Performance Research Centre Scholarship
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.