Human Muscle Power in Cycling


After a year of hard work as an MRC Fellow attached to McMaster University Medical Centre in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada,Professor Anthony Sargeant introduced and eventually succeeded in building an isokinetic cycle ergometer to measure human muscle power. This publication by the PhD student McCarteney was the result – reproducing though perhaps less elegantly the previous publication of Professor Sargeant – [viz: Anthony J Sargeant, Elizabeth Hoinville, Archie Young.Maximum leg force and power output during short-term dynamic exerciseJ Appl Physiol Respir Environ Exerc Physiol. 1981 Nov;51(5):1175-82 ]

Journal of Applied Physiology
J Appl Physiol Respir Environ Exerc Physiol. 1983 Jul;55(1 Pt 1):212-7

A cycle ergometer has been designed to measure the force exerted on the pedal cranks during maximum effort at a variety of constant velocities. Preset crank velocities of 13-166 rpm are established by a controlled 3-hp motor and cannot be overcome by the subject. Torque is measured by strain gauges bonded to the crank shafts; peak torque, peak power, work, and average power are derived for each pedal cycle.

Studies in 30 healthy male subjects established reproducibility and normal standards. During exercise for 45 s at a constant velocity of 60 rpm, there was a wide intersubject variation in both maximal torque (118-226 N . m) and the percentage decline in torque (27.2-52.0%). The decline in torque was inversely related to maximal O2 intake (r = 0.84). During short (10-s) periods of exercise at six crank velocities between 60-160 rpm, a linear inverse relationship between maximal peak torque and pedal crank velocity was observed. The peak torque-velocity relationship and the percentage decline in peak torque during 30s exercise at 60, 100, and 140 rpm were reproducible within a given subject, the coefficient of variation was less than 10%


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