European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 92, Issue 1–2, pp 176–181 | Cite as

Power output of the lower limb during variable inertial loading: a comparison between methods using single and repeated contractions

  • S. J. PearsonEmail author
  • M. Cobbold
  • S. D. R. Harridge
Original Article


The power–inertial load relationship of the lower limb muscles was studied during a single leg thrust using the Modified Nottingham Power Rig (mNPR) and during cycling exercise in nine young male subjects. The relationship between peak power and inertial load showed a parabolic-like relationship for mNPR exertions, with a peak [937 (SD 246) W] at 0.158 kg m2, this being significantly (P <0.05) different from the power generated at both the lowest [723 (162) W] and highest [756 (206) W] inertial loads. In contrast, for cycling exercise power output did not differ significantly between inertial loads, except at the lowest inertia where power output was significantly (P<0.05) less compared with all other inertial loads. Maximum peak power output during cycling was 1,620 (336) W, which was significantly (P <0.05) greater than that recorded on the mNPR. However, a close association was observed between the mean power generated by each method (r=0.84, P<0.05). The results suggest that during a single contraction a range of inertial loads is required to allow peak power to be expressed. Above a certain critical value, this is unnecessary during cycling movements where the load can be repeatedly accelerated.


Muscle Power Exercise 



This work was supported by the Wellcome Trust: The technical assistance of Alan Snook, Phil Oliver and Apostolos Galantis is gratefully acknowledged. All work carried out complies with the law of the UK.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. J. Pearson
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • M. Cobbold
    • 1
  • S. D. R. Harridge
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhysiologyRoyal Free & University College Medical SchoolLondonUK
  2. 2.Directorate of Sport, School of Health Care ProfessionsUniversity of SalfordManchesterUK

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