Open-ended laboratory tests for cyclists could help athletes train better

September 25, 2017 by Sandy Fleming, University of Kent
Credit: Newble Pix

Scientists at the University's School of Sport and Exercise Sciences (SSES) have discovered that cyclists can perform better when they do not have to pace their efforts.

Using 17 experienced male cyclists in a series of tests, they compared open-ended Time-To-Exhaustion (TTE) trials that are often used in laboratories with race-like Time-Trials to measure . All of the cyclists were blinded to elapsed , , cadence and .

In an article published in the Journal of Sports Sciences Professor Louis Passfield and Dr Sarah Coakley say that they were surprised to discover that, despite being experienced, the cyclists could not pace their effort effectively in the Time-Trial.

They expect that their findings will help to better understand the role of feedback in how people choose when to stop exercising because they imply we are not good at keeping track of time when we exercise hard.

For the SSES study the cyclists were told to maintain their target power for as long as possible and were given verbal encouragement to continue as long as possible. Their was compared with separate Time-Trials where they had to "race" for a set period of time. They were not told during any of the trials how much time had passed.

The cyclists performed better in the open-ended TTE than in the trials where they knew beforehand how long they had to "race". This finding has implications for how athletes plan their training as these types of tests are frequently used for this purpose, as well as to predict their race performances.

Previously TTE tests were considered by many as less useful but the research by Professor Passfield and Dr Coakley indicates TTE should still be regarded as a useful measure of performance in the laboratory.

Explore further: Elite cyclists are more resilient to mental fatigue

More information: Sarah L. Coakley et al. Cycling performance is superior for time-to-exhaustion versus time-trial in endurance laboratory tests, Journal of Sports Sciences (2017). DOI: 10.1080/02640414.2017.1368691 Sarah L. Coakley et al. Cycling performance is superior for time-to-exhaustion versus time-trial in endurance laboratory tests, Journal of Sports Sciences (2017). DOI: 10.1080/02640414.2017.1368691

Related Stories

Elite cyclists are more resilient to mental fatigue

July 26, 2016
As British cyclist Chris Froome celebrates his third Tour de France victory, research from the University of Kent and Australian collaborators shows for the first time that elite endurance athletes have superior ability to ...

Blood doping doesn't work, at least not in amateurs: study

June 30, 2017
Use of the EPO hormone to boost athletic performance did nothing for amateur cyclists in a road-race trial, according to a study Friday that questioned whether blood doping is worth the risk.

Performance improved even after athletes learned of deception

May 29, 2014
Indiana University researchers say a little deception caused cyclists in their 4-kilometer time trial to up their performance even after they realized they had been tricked.

Runners suffer more inflammation and muscle damage than cyclists

October 15, 2013
New scientific findings give endurance runners a reason to consider varying their training regime to include other sports.

Football boosts bone development in boys

July 12, 2017
Playing football can improve bone development in adolescent boys, new research shows.

New study could radically improve the way cyclists train

March 30, 2017
Eager for the next phase, ready to dedicate himself wholly, the youngster could not wait. Soon he would get his hands on the blueprint for the yellow jersey, those scientifically grounded steps to cycling glory.

Recommended for you

It's not just for kids—even adults appear to benefit from a regular bedtime

September 21, 2018
Sufficient sleep has been proven to help keep the body healthy and the mind sharp. But it's not just an issue of logging at least seven hours of Z's.

Most nations falling short of UN targets to cut premature deaths from chronic diseases

September 21, 2018
People in the UK, US and China have a higher risk of dying early from conditions like cancer, heart disease and stroke than people in Italy, France, South Korea and Australia.

Patient-centered visual aid helps physicians discuss risks, treatments with parents

September 21, 2018
A series of illustrations and charts designed as decision aids for parents of children with minor head injuries helped them communicate with emergency medicine physicians and make informed decisions about their child's care, ...

Alcohol responsible for one in 20 deaths worldwide: WHO

September 21, 2018
Alcohol kills three million people worldwide each year—more than AIDS, violence and road accidents combined, the World Health Organization said Friday, adding that men are particularly at risk.

Smart pills dumb down medical care, experts warn

September 21, 2018
Enthusiasm for an emerging digital health tool, the smart pill, is on the rise but researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago have published a paper in the American Journal of Bioethics that cautions health care ...

China's doctor shortage prompts rush for AI health care

September 20, 2018
Qu Jianguo, 64, had a futuristic medical visit in Shanghai as he put his wrist through an automated pulse-taking machine and received the result within two minutes on a mobile phone—without a doctor present.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.