It is generally reported that cycle crank length affects maximal cycling power of adults and that optimal crank length is related to leg length. This suggests that the use of standard length cycle cranks may provide non-optimal test conditions for children. The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of cycle-crank length on maximal cycling power and optimal pedaling rate of 17 boys aged 8–11 years. The boys performed maximal cycle ergometry with standard (170 mm) cycle cranks and with a crank length that was 20% of estimated leg length (LL20). Power produced when using the 170 mm cranks [mean (SEM)] [364 (18) W] did not differ from that produced with the LL20 cranks [366 (19)]. Optimal pedaling rate was significantly greater for the LL20 cranks [129 (4) rpm] than for the 170 mm cranks [114 (4) rpm]. These data suggest that standard 170 mm cranks do not compromise maximal power measurements in boys aged 8–11 years so that the test apparatus does not bias physiological or developmental inferences made from tests of maximal cycling power.
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Martin, J., Malina, R. & Spirduso, W. Effects of crank length on maximal cycling power and optimal pedaling rate of boys aged 8–11 years. Eur J Appl Physiol 86, 215–217 (2002). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-001-0525-9