The effect of high intensity resisted cycling with and without explosive resistance training on performance in competitive cyclists
Training studies involving competitive runners and road cyclists have shown substantial gains in sprint and endurance performance when sessions of high-intensity interval training were added to their usual training in the competitive phase of a season. Further research has shown large performance benefits in sprint and endurance power (7 - 9%) when cyclists combined explosive single-leg jumps with cycling-specific high-intensity interval training during a competitive season. The aim of the present study was to assess the contribution of the jumps to the gains in performance in competitive cyclists in a randomized control trial.The training protocol for the control group was based on previous experimental work in which the control group (n=8) completed cycle specific interval training followed by a series of explosive single-leg jumps. The experimental group (n=7) carried out the same cycle specific interval training but did not participate in the explosive single-leg jumps. While the current study did not use a true control group, the investigation was carried out in the knowledge that a combination of high intensity interval cycling and explosive single-leg jumps causes changes positive changes in performance. Participants took part in 10 x 30-min sessions consisting four sets of high intensity intermittent cycling (4 x 30-s maximum efforts at 50 - 60 min-1 alternating with 30-s recovery). Between each set of 4 x 30 s sprints the control (ballistic) group carried out one set of explosive single-leg jumps (20 for each leg), while the experimental (continuous) group cycled for 20 s at 50 - 60 min-1.Before and after the training period all cyclists completed an incremental peak power test for assessment of VO2max, lactate threshold, exercise economy and peak power, a 30 s Wingate sprint test and a 20 km time-trial. Relative to the control group the percent mean changes (±90% confidence limits) in the experimental group were: power at 4-mM lactate, -4.2 (±6.3); VO2max, -3.1 (±3.7); mean time-trial power, -0.7 (± 4.7); peak incremental power, -1.7; (±5.0); power at 80% max heart rate, -2.8; (±5.6); Wingate peak power, -4.2; (±7.8). We conclude that high-intensity training may improve performance but the combination of high-intensity training and explosive resistance training in the competitive phase is likely to produce greater gains in trained cyclists than high intensity cycling alone.