The effects of an increasing versus constant crank rate on peak physiological responses during incremental arm crank ergometry

Mike J Price, Lindsay Bottoms, Paul M Smith, Andrew Nicholettos
Journal of Sports Sciences 2011, 29 (3): 263-9
We examined the effects of concomitant increases in crank rate and power output on incremental arm crank ergometry. Ten healthy males undertook three incremental upper body exercise tests to volitional exhaustion. The first test determined peak minute power. The subsequent tests involved arm cranking at an initial workload of 40% peak minute power with further increases of 10% peak minute power every 2 min. One involved a constant crank rate of 70 rev · min(-1), the other an initial crank rate of 50 rev · min(-1) increasing by 10 rev · min(-1) every 2 min. Fingertip capillary blood samples were analysed for blood lactate at rest and exhaustion. Local (working muscles) and cardiorespiratory ratings of perceived exertion (RPE) were recorded at the end of each exercise stage. Heart rate and expired gas were monitored continuously. No differences were observed in peak physiological responses or peak minute power achieved during either protocol. Blood lactate concentration tended to be greater for the constant crank rate protocol (P = 0.06). Test duration was shorter for the increasing than for the constant crank rate protocol. The relationship between local RPE and heart rate differed between tests. The results of this study show that increasing cadence during incremental arm crank ergometry provides a valid assessment of peak responses over a shorter duration but alters the heart rate-local RPE relationship.

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