Use of the force-velocity test to determine the optimal braking force for a sprint exercise on a friction-loaded cycle ergometer

  • M. -T. Linossier
  • D. Dormois
  • R. Fouquet
  • A. Geyssant
  • C. Denis
Original Article


A group of 15 untrained male subjects pedalled on a friction-loaded cycle ergometer as fast as possible for 5–7 s to reach the maximal velocity (V{immax}) against different braking forces (FB). Power was averaged during a complete crank rotation by adding the power dissipated againstFB to the power necessary to accelerate the flywheel. For each sprint, determinations were made of peak power output (\(\dot W_{peak}\)) power output attained atVmax (\(\dot W_{vmax}\)) calculated as the product ofVmax andFB and the work performed to reachVmax expressed in mean power output (\(\bar \dot W_{vmax}\)). The relationships between these parameters andFB were examined. A biopsy taken from the vastus lateralis muscle and tomodensitometric radiographs of both thighs were taken at rest to identify muscle metabolic and morphometric properties. The\(\dot W_{peak}\) value was similar for allFB. Therefore, the average of values was defined as corrected maximal power (\(\dot W_{max}\)). This value was 11 higher than the maximal power output uncorrected for the acceleration. Whereas the\(\dot W_{max}\) determination did not require high loads, the highest\(\bar \dot W_{vmax}\) value (\(\bar \dot W_{max}\)) was produced when loading was heavy, as evidenced by the\(\bar \dot W_{vmax}\)-FB parabolic relationship. For each subject, the braking force (\(F_{B,\bar \dot W_{max} }\)) giving\(\bar \dot W_{max}\) was defined as optimal. The\(F_{B,\bar \dot W_{max} }\), equal to 0.844 (SD 0.108) N · kg−1 bodymass, was related to thigh muscle area (r = 0.78,P < 0.05). The maximal velocity (\(\upsilon _{m,\bar \dot W_{\max } }\)) reached against this force seemed to be related more to intrinsic fibre properties (% fast twitch b fibre area and adenylate kinase activity). Thus, from the\(\dot W_{max}\) determination, it is suggested that it should be possible to predict the conditions for optimal exercise on a cycle ergometer.

Key words

Force-velocity test Maximal power Human Muscle fibre Sprint ability 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. -T. Linossier
    • 3
  • D. Dormois
    • 1
  • R. Fouquet
    • 2
  • A. Geyssant
    • 1
  • C. Denis
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratoire de Physiologie, GIP ExerciseFaculté de Médecine Saint-EtienneSaint-Etienne Cedex 2France
  2. 2.Laboratoire Traitement du Signal et Instrumentation, UA-CNRS-842Faculté de Sciences de Saint-EtienneSaint-Etienne Cedex 2France
  3. 3.C.H.U. de Saint-EtienneSaint-Etienne Cedex 2France

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