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Optimal velocity for maximal power production in non-isokinetic cycling is related to muscle fibre type composition

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European Journal of Applied Physiology and Occupational Physiology Aims and scope Submit manuscript


To determine whether power-velocity relationships obtained on a nonisokinetic cycle ergometer could be related to muscle fibre type composition, ten healthy specifically trained subjects (eight men and two women) performed brief periods of maximal cycling on a friction loaded cycle ergometer. Frictional force and flywheel velocity were recorded at a sampling frequency of 200 Hz. Power output was computed as the product of velocity and inertial plus frictional forces. Force, velocity and power were averaged over each down stroke. Muscle fibre content was determined by biopsy of the vastus lateralis muscle. Maximal down stroke power [14.36 (SD 2.37)W·kg−1] and velocity at maximal power [120 (SD 8) rpm] were in accordance with previous results obtained on an isokinetic cycle ergometer. The proportion of fast twitch fibres expressed in terms of cross sectional area was related to optimal velocity (r = 0.88, P < 0.001), to squat jump performance (r = 0.78, P < 0.01) and tended to be related to maximal power expressed per kilogram of body mass (r = 0.60, P = 0.06). Squat jump performance was also related to cycling maximal power expressed per kilogram of body mass (r = 0.87, P < 0.01) and to optimal velocity (r = 0.86, P < 0.01). All these data suggest that the nonisokinetic cycle ergometer is a good tool with which to evaluate the relative contribution of type II fibres to maximal power output. Furthermore, the strong correlation obtained demonstrated that optimal velocity, when related to training status, would appear to be the most accurate parameter to explore the fibre composition of the knee extensor muscle.

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Hautier, C.A., Linossier, M.T., Belli, A. et al. Optimal velocity for maximal power production in non-isokinetic cycling is related to muscle fibre type composition. Europ. J. Appl. Physiol. 74, 114–118 (1996).

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