• Biomechanical measures of short-term maximal cycling on an ergometer: a test-retest study

      Burnie, Louise; Barratt, Paul; Davids, Keith; Worsfold, Paul; Wheat, Jon; Swansea University, Sheffield Hallam University, University of Chester, English Institute of Sport, Team INEOS, Manchester, UK (Taylor & Francis, 2020-08-11)
      An understanding of test-retest reliability is important for biomechanists, such as when assessing the longitudinal effect of training or equipment interventions. Our aim was to quantify the test-retest reliability of biomechanical variables measured during short-term maximal cycling. Fourteen track sprint cyclists performed 3 x 4 s seated sprints at 135 rpm on an isokinetic ergometer, repeating the session 7.6 ± 2.5 days later. Joint moments were calculated via inverse dynamics, using pedal forces and limb kinematics. EMG activity was measured for 9 lower limb muscles. Reliability was explored by quantifying systematic and random differences within- and between-session. Within-session reliability was better than between-sessions reliability. The test-retest reliability level was typically moderate to excellent for the biomechanical variables that describe maximal cycling. However, some variables, such as peak knee flexion moment and maximum hip joint power, demonstrated lower reliability, indicating that care needs to be taken when using these variables to evaluate biomechanical changes. Although measurement error (instrumentation error, anatomical marker misplacement, soft tissue artefacts) can explain some of our reliability observations, we speculate that biological variability may also be a contributor to the lower repeatability observed in several variables including ineffective crank force, ankle kinematics and hamstring muscles’ activation patterns.
    • Effects of strength training on the biomechanics and coordination of short-term maximal cycling.

      Burnie, Louise; Barratt, Paul; Davids, Keith; orcid: 0000-0003-1398-6123; Worsfold, Paul; Wheat, Jonathan Stephen; orcid: 0000-0002-1107-6452 (2022-06-28)
      The aim was to investigate the effects of a gym-based strength training intervention on biomechanics and intermuscular coordination patterns during short-term maximal cycling. Twelve track sprint cyclists performed 3 × 4 s seated sprints at 135 rpm, interspersed with 2 × 4 s seated sprints at 60 rpm on an isokinetic ergometer, repeating the session 11.6 ± 1.4 weeks later following a training programme that included two gym-based strength training sessions per week. Joint moments were calculated via inverse dynamics, using pedal forces and limb kinematics. EMG activity was measured for 9 lower limb muscles. Track cyclists 'leg strength" increased (7.6 ± 11.9 kg, = 0.050 and ES = 0.26) following the strength training intervention. This was accompanied by a significant increase in crank power over a complete revolution for sprints at 135 rpm (26.5 ± 36.2 W, = 0.028 and ES = 0.29). The increase in leg strength and average crank power was associated with a change in biceps femoris muscle activity, indicating that the riders successfully adapted their intermuscular coordination patterns to accommodate the changes in personal constraints to increase crank power.
    • Quantifying the hip-ankle synergy in short-term maximal cycling

      Burnie, Louise; Barratt, Paul; Davids, Keith; Worsfold, Paul; Wheat, Jon; Northumbria University; Sheffield Hallam University; English Institute of Sport; BAE Systems Digital; University of Chester (Elsevier, 2022-08-24)
      Simulation studies have demonstrated that the hip and ankle joints form a task-specific synergy during the downstroke in maximal cycling to enable the power produced by the hip extensor muscles to be transferred to the crank. The existence of the hip-ankle synergy has not been investigated experimentally. Therefore, we sought to apply a modified vector coding technique to quantify the strength of the hip-ankle moment synergy in the downstroke during short-term maximal cycling at a pedalling rate of 135 rpm. Twelve track sprint cyclists performed 3 × 4 s seated sprints at 135 rpm, interspersed with 2 × 4 s seated sprints at 60 rpm on an isokinetic ergometer. Data from the 60 rpm sprints were not analysed in this study. Joint moments were calculated via inverse dynamics, using pedal forces and limb kinematics. The hip-ankle moment synergy was quantified using a modified vector coding method. Results showed, for 28.8% of the downstroke the hip and ankle moments were in-phase, demonstrating the hip and ankle joints tend to work in synergy in the downstroke, providing some support findings from simulation studies of cycling. At a pedalling rate of 135 rpm the hip-phase was most frequent (42.5%) significantly differing from the in- (P = 0.044), anti- (P < 0.001), and ankle-phases (P = 0.004), demonstrating hip-dominant action. We believe this method shows promise to answer research questions on the relative strength of the hip-ankle synergy between different cycling conditions (e.g., power output and pedalling rates).