European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 96, Issue 1, pp 1–9 | Cite as

Effect of posture on high-intensity constant-load cycling performance in men and women

  • Mikel Egaña
  • Simon Green
  • Eoin J. Garrigan
  • Stuart Warmington
Original Article


The time sustained during a graded cycle exercise is ~10% longer in an upright compared with a supine posture. However, during constant-load cycling this effect is unknown. Therefore, we tested the postural effect on the performance of high-intensity constant-load cycling. Twenty-two active subjects (11 men, 11 women) performed two graded tests (one upright, one supine), and of those 22, 10 subjects (5 men, 5 women) performed three high-intensity constant-load tests (one upright, two supine). To test the postural effect on performance at the same absolute intensity, during the upright and one of the supine constant-load tests subjects cycled at 80% of the peak power output achieved during the upright graded test. To test the postural effect on performance at the same relative intensities, during the second supine test subjects cycled at 80% of the peak power output achieved during the supine graded test. Exercise time on the graded and absolute intensity constant-load tests for all subjects was greater (P<0.05) in the upright compared with supine posture (17.9±3.5 vs. 16.1±3.1 min for graded; 13.2±8.7 vs. 5.2±1.9 min for constant-load). This postural effect at the same absolute intensity was larger in men (19.4±8.5 upright vs. 6.6±1.6 supine, P<0.001) than women (7.1±2 upright vs. 3.9±1.4 supine, P>0.05) and it was correlated (P<0.05) with both the difference in \( \ifmmode\expandafter \dot \else \expandafter\.\fi{V}{\text{O}}_{2} \) between positions during the first minute of exercise (r=0.67) and the height of the subjects (r=0.72). In conclusion, there is a very large postural effect on performance during constant-load cycling exercise and this effect is significantly larger in men than women.


Cycling performance Posture Gender Oxygen consumption Height 



M. Egaña was supported by the Technicon Fellowship, Technicon, Ltd, Ireland.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mikel Egaña
    • 1
  • Simon Green
    • 2
  • Eoin J. Garrigan
    • 1
  • Stuart Warmington
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhysiologyTrinity College DublinDublin 2Ireland
  2. 2.School of Biological, Biomedical and Molecular SciencesUniversity of New England NSWAustralia

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