School of Medical and Health Sciences / Centre for Human Performance
Severe-intensity constant work rate (CWR) cycling tests simulate the high-intensity competition environment and are useful for monitoring training progression and adaptation, yet impose significant physiological and psychological strain, require substantial recovery, and may disrupt athlete training or competition preparation. A brief, minimally fatiguing test providing comparable information is desirable. Purpose To determine whether physiological variables measured during, and functional decline in maximal power output immediately after, a 2-min CWR test can act as a proxy for 4-min test outcomes. Methods Physiological stress (VO _2 kinetics, heart rate, blood lactate concentrations ([La-]b)) was monitored and performance fatigability was estimated (as pre-to-post-CWR changes in 10-s sprint power) during 2- and 4-min CWR tests in 16 high-level cyclists (VO _2peak ¼ 64:4 ± 6:0 ml·kg-1·min-1). The relationship between the 2- and 4-min CWR tests and the physiological variables that best relate to the performance fatigability were investigated. Results The 2-min CWR test evoked a smaller decline in sprint mechanical power (32% vs. 47%, p < 0.001). Both the physiological variables (r = 0.66–0.96) and sprint mechanical power (r = 0.67–0.92) were independently and strongly correlated between 2- and 4-min tests. Differences in VO _2peak and [La-]b in both CWR tests were strongly associated with the decline in sprint mechanical power. Conclusion Strong correlations between 2- and 4-min severe-intensity CWR test outcomes indicated that the shorter test can be used as a proxy for the longer test. A shorter test may be more practical within the elite performance environment due to lower physiological stress and performance fatigability and should have less impact on subsequent training and competition preparation.
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