Effects of Combined Strength and Sprint Training on Lean Mass, Strength, Power and Sprint Performance in Masters Road Cyclists

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Abstract

Strength and sprint training exercises are integral part of training in many younger endurance cyclists to improve cycling efficiency and sprinting ability. This study was undertaken to examine whether muscle and performance characteristics could be improved in endurance-trained masters cyclist by adding strength and sprint training stimuli into their training regimen. Twenty five masters road cyclists were assigned to a combined strength and sprint training group (CT; n=9, 53.5 ± 9.3 years), a sprint training group (ST, n=7, 49.4 ± 4.8 years) or a control group (CG, n=9, 56.9 ± 8.6 years). Before and after the 12 week intervention, whole body lean mass (WBLM), total lower limb lean mass (LLLM), countermovement jump height (CMJ), peak isometric torque of quadriceps (QPT) and hamstring (HPT) muscles were examined. For evaluation of sport-specific performance, 10 second sprint cycling peak power (PP10), total 30 second work (TW), peak power output (PPO) and flying 200 meter time trial performance (TT) were assessed. No pre-training differences were observed between CT, ST and CG groups for any of the dependant variables. After training, a significant (p<0.05) between group difference was observed in TW between CT and CG groups. A significant effect of time (p<0.05) was observed for LLLM in CT and ST groups, and for TT in the CT group. These results suggest including strength and sprint exercises in training can increase lower limb lean mass and sprint performance in endurance trained masters road cyclists. Further research is warranted to find out an ideal pattern of training to maintain aerobic capabilities along with sprint performance in aging road cyclists.

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