Improving leg power is vital for improving cycling performance. Resistance training improves force production, one component of power, while high intensity interval cycling training has the potential to improve both velocity and force production. PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to compare the effect of two training protocols, pure resistance training and cycling specific high intensity interval training, on the time and speed of a self-paced time trial. METHODS: Six male non-cyclists (aged 25 - 29) who regularly engage in exercise participated in this study. Participants were placed into two groups to train for four weeks, 3 times a week: a resistance training group (RTG) or a cycling training group (CTG). Maximum leg strength was measured for all participants: 1 repetition max (1RM) back squat and straight leg deadlift. Prior to training each participant completed a 3.57 mile semi-hilly course on a stationary cycle ergometer as fast as they could. For training, RTG completed 4 leg resistance exercises at 60% 1RM (3 sets, 10 reps, 1-minute rest: back squats, straight leg deadlift, lunges, and single leg squat) and planks. The CTG rode a stationary bike completing 8 intervals of 4-minutes at 60% of max power output with 1-minute rest period between intervals for each session. Max power output for the CTG was determined using a standard cycling power ergometer test. RESULTS: RTG and CTG times (p = 0.47) and average speed (p = 0.47) before training were not different, and there was no difference in cycling experience between the two groups. After training the participants rode the same 3.57 mile course. Average heart rates were similar between the two trials (pre-average = 174 bpm, post-average = 177 bpm), thus we conclude the intensity was similar in both trials. RTG significantly increased squat 1RM (p = 0.04) and straight leg deadlift 1RM (p = 0.02), but this only resulted in an average 1% time decrease (p = 0.30) and 1% speed increase (p = 0.33). However, CTG greatly improved time (mean decrease = 2.39 min, p = 0.07) and speed (mean increase = 2.33 mph, p = 0.05); an average 15% and 18% improvement in time and speed respectively. CONCLUSION: While the results were not significant, we conclude that cycling specific training improves cycling performance more than resistance training in a non-cycling population. This conclusion is also supported with the large effect sizes of cycling training (time: -1.42, mph: 1.3) compared to resistance training (time: -0.17, mph: 0.16). The relatively large effect of cycling specific training in the non-cycling population in this short time is most likely due to changes in the neuromuscular patterns which improve technique and muscle synchronicity leading to increased power production.

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