Cycling-specific isometric resistance training improves peak power output in elite sprint cyclists
Folland, Jonathan P.
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Introduction This study aimed to assess the efficacy of a 6‐week cycling‐specific, isometric resistance training program on peak power output (PPO) in elite cyclists. Methods Twenty‐four elite track sprint cyclists were allocated to EXP (n = 13, PPO, 1537 ± 307 W) and CON (n = 11, PPO, 1541 ± 389 W) groups. All participants completed a 6‐week training program; training content was identical except participants in the EXP group replaced their usual compound lower body resistance training exercise with a cycling‐specific, isometric resistance training stimulus. Cycling PPO, knee extensor and cycling‐specific isometric strength, and measures of muscle architecture were assessed pre‐ and post‐training. Results In EXP, absolute and relative PPO increased (46 ± 62 W and 0.8 ± 0.7 W/kg, P < .05), and the change in relative PPO was different to CON (−0.1 ± 1.0 W/kg, group × time interaction P = .02). The increase in PPO was concurrent with an increase in extrapolated maximal torque in EXP (7.1 ± 6.5 Nm, P = .007), but the effect was not different from the change in CON (2.4 ± 9.7 Nm, group × time P = .14). Cycling‐specific isometric strength also increased more in EXP (group × time P = .002). There were no other between‐group differences in response to training. Conclusion A 6‐week novel, cycling‐specific isometric resistance training period improved PPO in a group of elite sprint cyclists by 3%‐4%. These data support the use of a cycling‐specific isometric resistance training stimulus in the preparation programs of world‐class cyclists