Endurance and strength training effects on physiological and muscular parameters during prolonged cycling

C Hausswirth, S Argentin, F Bieuzen, Y Le Meur, A Couturier, J Brisswalter
Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology 2010, 20 (2): 330-9

PURPOSE: This study investigated the effects of a combined endurance and strength training on the physiological and neuromuscular parameters during a 2-h cycling test.

METHODS: Fourteen triathletes were assigned to an endurance-strength training group and an endurance-only training group. They performed three experimental trials before and after training: an incremental cycling test to exhaustion, a maximal concentric lower-limbs strength measurement and a 2-h cycling exercise. Physiological parameters, free cycling chosen cadence and the EMG of Vastus Lateralis (VL) and Rectus Femoris (RF) were analysed during the 2-h cycling task before and after a strength training programme of 5 weeks (three times per week).

RESULTS: The results showed that the maximum strength and the isometric maximal voluntary contraction (isoMVC) after training were significantly higher (P<0.01) and lower (P<0.01) than those before training, respectively, in endurance-strength training group and endurance-only group. The physiological variables measured during the cycling tests and the progressive increase (P<0.01) in EMGi(VL) and EMGi(RF) throughout the 2-h cycling test did not differ between the two groups before and after training, except for the variation of EMGi(VL) over the cycle time which was stabilized during the second hour of the 2-h cycling test due to training in endurance-strength training group. The decrease in free cycling chosen cadence observed in pre-training (P<0.01) was also replaced by a steady free cycling chosen cadence for the endurance-strength training group during the second hour of exercise.

CONCLUSION: This study confirmed the decrease in the free cycling chosen cadence with exercise duration and demonstrated that a specific combined endurance and strength training can prevent this decrease during a 2-h constant cycling exercise.

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