Comparison of Power Output During Ergometer and Track Cycling in Adolescent Cyclists

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Nimmerichter, A and Williams, CA. Comparison of power output during ergometer and track cycling in adolescent cyclists. J Strength Cond Res 29(4): 1049–1056, 2015—The aim of this study is to establish the level of agreement between test performance of young elite cyclists in a laboratory and a track field–based trial. Fourteen adolescent cyclists (age: 14.8 ± 1.1 years;


: 63.5 ± 5.6 ml·min−1·kg−1) performed 3 tests of 10 seconds, 1 minute, and 3 minutes on an air-braked ergometer (Wattbike) and on a 250-m track using their own bikes mounted with mobile power meters (SRM). The agreement between the maximum and mean power output (Pmax and Pmean) measured on the Wattbike and SRM was assessed with the 95% limits of agreement (LoA). Power output was strongly correlated between Wattbike and SRM for all tests (r = 0.94–0.96; p < 0.001). However, power output was significantly higher on the Wattbike compared with track cycling during all tests. The bias and 95% LoA were 76 ± 78 W (8.8 ± 9.5%; p = 0.003, d = 0.38) for Pmax10s and 82 ± 55 W (10.9 ± 7.9%; p < 0.001, d = 0.46) for Pmean10s. During the 1- and 3-minute test, the bias and 95% LoA were 72 ± 30 W (17.9 ± 7.1%; p < 0.001, d = 0.84) and 28 ± 20 W (9.6 ± 6.1%; p < 0.001, d = 0.51), respectively. Laboratory tests, as assessed using a stationary ergometer, resulted in maximal and mean power output scores that were consistently higher than a track field–based test using a mobile ergometer. These results might be attributed to the technical ability of the riders and their experience to optimize gearing and cadence to maximize performance. Prediction of field-based testing on the track from laboratory tests should be used with caution.

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