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Medicina dello Sport 2022 March;75(1):5-15

DOI: 10.23736/S0025-7826.22.04028-5


language: English, Italian

Tracking critical power using maximal mean power outputs during short, medium, and long intervals in well-trained cyclists

Miguel Á. GALÁN-RIOJA 1, Fernando GONZÁLEZ-MOHÍNO 1, 2 , Dajo SANDERS 3, James SPRAGG 4, Jose M. GONZÁLEZ-RAVÉ 1

1 Sport Training Lab, University of Castilla-La Mancha, Toledo, Spain; 2 Faculty of Life Sciences, Nebrija University, Madrid, Spain; 3 Department of Human Movement Science, Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, Maastricht University, Maastricht, the Netherlands; 4 Spragg Cycle Coaching, Exeter, UK


BACKGROUND: The determination of critical power (CP) during training is a useful tool monitoring performance progression and to demarcate training intensity zones. The aims of this study were: 1) to compare CP with varied effort short, medium and long intervals (SML-INT) with a field CP test; 2) to assess if SML-INT is an effective way to improve CP.
METHODS: Seven male cyclists completed a 4-week training period. Before and after the training period, an assessment of CP was conducted using a 2 and 3-parameter model. Furthermore, during the training period, mean maximal power (MMP) achieved during 30-s, 1-, 3- and 7-min intervals, were used to calculate CP.
RESULTS: CP was increased by 5% after four weeks. A significant difference in CP and W’ (the finite amount of work which can be performed above CP) in pre-test values and all power outputs analyzed (P<0.05) except to 7-min MMP were found. Then, 7-min MMP was tracked and there were no significant differences between CP pre-test during the first two weeks. Then, 7-min MMP achieved during the interval sessions in the first two weeks, was not significantly different from the CP determined pre-training period. However, 7-min MMP achieved during the interval sessions in the last two weeks was significantly different from the CP determined post-training period.
CONCLUSIONS: Data suggest that SML-INT training can improve CP and the 7-min MMP values achieved within the SML-INT can potentially be used as an indirect indicator of CP progression.

KEY WORDS: Bicycling; Physical fitness; Athletic performance; High-intensity interval training

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