Fatigue during cycling is related to pedalling rate

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Research carried out by Anita Beelen under the direction of Anthony Sargeant extended his interest in short-term muscle power output (sometimes referred to as anaerobic power). In cycling it can be seen that the degree of fatigue from prior exercise is greater when measured at higher pedalling rates. This is consistent with fatigue inducing prior exercise reducing the power generation of the faster of the most fatigue sensitive muscle fibres in the mixed human leg muscles.
European Journal of Applied Physiology
Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol. 1993;66(2):102-107

The effect of prior submaximal exercise performed at two different pedalling frequencies, 60 and 120 rev.min-1, on maximal short-term power output (STPO) was investigated in seven male subjects during cycling exercise on an isokinetic cycle ergometer. Exercise of 6-min duration at a power output equivalent to 92 (SD 5)% maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max), whether performed at a pedalling frequency of 60 or 120 rev.min-1, reduced maximal STPO generated at 120 rev.min-1 to a much greater extent than maximal STPO at 60 rev.min-1. After 6-min submaximal exercise at 60 rev.min-1 mean reductions in maximal STPO measured at 120 and 60 rev.min-1 were 27 (SD 11)% and 15 (SD 9)% respectively, and were not significantly different from the reductions after exercise at 120 rev.min-1, 20 (SD 13)% and 5 (SD 9)%, respectively. In addition, we measured the effect of prior exercise performed at the same absolute external mechanical power output [236 (SD 30)W] with pedalling frequencies of 60 and 120 rev.min-1. Although the external power output was the same, the leg forces required (absolute as well as expressed as a proportion of the maximal leg force available at the same velocity) were much higher in prior exercise performed at 60 rev.min-1. Nevertheless, maximal STPO generated at 120 rev.min-1 was reduced after exercise at 120 rev.min-1 [20 (SD 13)%, P < 0.05] whereas no significant reduction in maximal STPO was found after prior exercise at 60 rev.min-1.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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