Pedal trajectory alters maximal single-leg cycling power

James C. Martin, Scott M. Lamb, Nicholas A.T. Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Muscular power produced during in vitro cyclic contraction has been reported to vary with muscle-length trajectory. The purpose of this study was to determine whether maximal human single-leg cycling power could be similarly altered by manipulating pedal trajectory. Method: Seven trained cyclists performed maximal single-leg cycle ergometry. Pedal trajectory was manipulated by repositioning the ergometer drive sprocket off-center with respect to the crank axle, such that the leg-extension phase occupied 42, 50, or 58% of the cycle time (LEP42, LEP50, and LEP58, respectively). Results: Maximum instantaneous power was 12% greater for LEP58 (1984 ± 143 W) than LEP50 (1838 ± 126 W), which was 8% greater than that for LEP42 (1645 ± 112 W). Maximum power, averaged over a complete revolution of the crank, was 4% greater for LEP58 (636 ± 59 W) than for LEP50 (613 ± 53 W), which was 18% greater than that for LEP42 (520 ± 43 W). Conclusions: These findings, paralleling those for an in vitro model, confirmed our hypothesis that maximal single-leg cycling power could be altered by manipulating pedal trajectory. Alterations in power were likely due to concomitant effects of muscle-shortening velocity, muscle excitation, and biomechanical constraints. Additional research is needed to determine whether greater leg-extension phase ratios can elicit further increases in power and whether similar results can be obtained during bilateral cycling.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1332-1336
Number of pages5
JournalMedicine and Science in Sports and Exercise
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


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