Comparison of Physiological Variables Between the Elliptical Bicycle and Run Training in Experienced Runners

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Klein, IE, White, JB, and Rana, SR. Comparison of physiological variables between the elliptical bicycle and run training in experienced runners. J Strength Cond Res 30(11): 2998–3006, 2016—A novel outdoor elliptical bicycle (EBIKE) has been designed to elicit running-similar physiological adaptations while reducing the impact forces that commonly lead to injury. Various cross-training methods have been used to reduce injury risk, restore or maintain fitness, and prevent detraining. The purpose of this study was to compare 4 weeks of EBIKE-only training to run-only training on maximal oxygen consumption, ventilatory threshold, respiratory compensation point, running economy, and 5,000 m time trial times. Twelve experienced runners (age, 22.33 ± 3.33 years; running experience, 9.25 ± 4.53 years) completed 4 weeks of randomly assigned EBIKE or run training. Physiological and performance testing procedures were repeated, and subjects then performed a second matched 4-week training period in a crossover design. Ventilatory threshold was significantly greater after EBIKE (p ≤ 0.05; 41.60 ± 6.15 ml·kg−1·min−1) and run training (p ≤ 0.05; 42.33 ± 6.96 ml·kg−1·min−1) compared with the initial time point (40.17 ± 6.47 ml·kg−1·min−1). There were no significant group differences (p > 0.05) for these variables at any time point. In conclusion, EBIKE-only training yielded similar physiological and performance maintenance or improvements compared with run-only training. These results suggest that EBIKE training can be an effective cross-training method to maintain and improve certain physiological and performance variables in experienced runners over a 4-week period.

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