Age difference in efficiency of locomotion and maximal power output in well-trained triathletes

Document Type

Journal Article


Springer Verlag


Faculty of Health, Engineering and Science


Centre for Exercise and Sports Science Research




This article was originally published as: Brisswalter J., Wu S.S.X., Sultana F., Bernard T., Abbiss C.R. (2014). Age difference in efficiency of locomotion and maximal power output in well-trained triathletes. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 114(12), 2579-2586. Original article available here


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.