The research study my group and I examined was titled, “Endurance and Strength Training Effects on Physiological and Muscular Parameters during Prolonged Cycling.” This study done by Hausswirth et. all was published in 2010 in the Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology.
When performing in a triathlon, which consists of swimming, cycling, and running in a single continuous event, it is generally accepted throughout the exercise science community, that “over performing” during the cycling stage by increasing ones cadence or aerobic power, could hinder the running portion of the triathlon that follows (Hausswirth). In order to help triathletes in avoiding this potential problem, the researchers set the purpose of the experiment as follows:
“The purpose of this experiment is to compare the effects of a regime of maximal strength training in combination with a usual endurance training programme with an endurance only training programme on the physiological and muscular parameters during a 2-hr constant cycling test in well-trained triathletes.” Their hypothesis was that in a 5 week period of training, the changes in the cycling cadence would be lesser in the endurance and strength training group versus the endurance only training group.
The specific parameters in which the researchers observed in this particular study include: Electromyography (EMG) of the Vastus Lateralis (VL) and Rectus Femoris (RF), isometric voluntary contraction values, and cycling cadence.
EMG is the recording of the electrical activity of the muscle. The most accurate type of EMG is an intramuscular EMG. For this type of EMG, a fine needle is inserted into the muscle. This will recorded the electrical activity of that muscle during rest, which should be short lived as the resting muscle normally doesn’t produce electrical signals at rest. One can test the electrical activity during activity by asking the subject to cause contraction of the muscle by lifting or bending the leg (“Electromyography (EMG)”).
Because this study was measuring this activity during exercise, a surface EMG was used. A surface EMG has the same purpose as an intramuscular EMG, but it uses electrodes on the surface of the skin, rather than ones with a needle (Chriswell). This type of EMG can only be used to test the electrical activity of superficial muscles, which is why the study specifically looked at the RF and VL muscles is the quadriceps rather than all four of the muscles that make up the quadriceps.
The researchers background research lead them to hypothesize that a strength training regime, could improve their cycling cadence by creating stabilization over time, without affecting their VO2max. According to the text book, VO2 is “the rate at which oxygen is used by the body”(Schwartzstein). VO2 max is the maximum amount of oxygen that can be transported and utilized during exercise ().
There were 14 trained, French triathletes in this study. Seven of the...