Effects of Two Hours of Heavy-Intensity Exercise on the Power–Duration Relationship

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Changes in the parameters of the power–time relationship (critical power (CP) and W′) during endurance exercise would have important implications for performance. We tested the hypotheses that CP and W′, estimated using the end-test power (EP) and the work done above EP (WEP), respectively, during a the 3-min all-out test (3MT), can be reliably determined, and would be lower, after completing 2 h of heavy-intensity exercise.


In study 1, six cyclists completed a 3MT immediately after 2 h of heavy-intensity exercise on two occasions to establish the reliability of EP and WEP. In study 2, nine cyclists completed a control 3MT, and a fatigued 3MT and constant power output tests to 30 min or the limit of tolerance (Tlim) below and above F-EP after 2 h of heavy-intensity exercise.


In study 1, EP (273 ± 52 vs 276 ± 58 W) and WEP (12.4 ± 4.3 vs 12.8 ± 4.3 kJ) after 2 h of heavy-intensity exercise were not different (P > 0.05) and were highly correlated (r = 0.99; P < 0.001). In study 2, both EP (F-EP: 282 ± 52 vs C-EP: 306 ± 56 W; P < 0.01) and WEP (F-WEP: 14.7 ± 4.9 vs C-WEP: 18.3 ± 4.1 kJ; P < 0.05) were lower after 2-h heavy-intensity exercise. However, maximum O2 uptake was not achieved during exercise >F-EP and Tlim was shorter than 30 min during exercise Conclusions

The EP and WEP may be reliably determined after 2-h heavy-intensity exercise. The 8% and 20% reductions in EP and WEP, respectively, have important implications for performance during endurance exercise. The physiological characterization of EP (and, by extension, CP) may differ in a fatigued compared with a rested state.

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