Muscle activation during cycling at different cadences: Effect of maximal strength capacity

Abstract : The purpose of this study was to examine the influence of maximal strength capacity on muscle activation, during cycling, at three selected cadences: a low cadence (50 rpm), a high cadence (110 rpm) and the freely chosen cadence (FCC). Two groups of trained cyclists were selected on the basis of the different maximal isokinetic voluntary contraction values (MVCi) of their lower extremity muscles as follow: Fmin (lower MVCi group) and Fmax (higher MVCi group). All subjects performed three 4-min cycling exercises at a power output corresponding to 80 % of the ventilatory threshold under the three cadences. Neuromuscular activity of vastus lateralis (VL), rectus femoris (RF) and biceps femoris (BF) was studied quantitatively (integrated electromyography, IEMG) and qualitatively (timing of muscle bursts during crank cycle). Cadence effects were observed on the EMG activity of VL muscle and on the burst onset of the BF, VL and RF muscles. A greater normalized EMG activity of VL muscle was observed for the Fmin group than the Fmax group at all cadences (respectively Fmin vs. Fmax at 50 rpm: 17% ± 5 vs. 38% ± 6, FCC: 22% ± 7 vs. 44% ± 5 and 110 rpm: 21% ± 6 vs. 45% ± 6). At FCC and 110 rpm, the burst onset of BF and RF muscles of the Fmax group started earlier in the crank cycle than the Fmin group These results indicate that in addition to the cadence, the maximal strength capacity influences the lower extremity muscular activity during cycling.
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François Bieuzen, Romuald Lepers, Fabrice Vercruyssen, Christophe Hausswirth, Jeanick Brisswalter. Muscle activation during cycling at different cadences: Effect of maximal strength capacity. Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology, Elsevier, 2007, 17 (6), pp.731-738. ⟨10.1016/j.jelekin.2006.07.007⟩. ⟨hal-01708179⟩

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