The effects of changing seat height upon peak power output and fatigue index when performing maximal sprints on a cycle ergometer
University of Wales Institute Cardiff
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The purpose of this study was to discover if a change in seat height affects power output (PPO) and fatigue index (FI) when completing a 10s Wingate test on a cycle ergometer. A group of healthy, active male participants (n=7), with a mean (±SD) age of n=20.86 (±1.35) years, height of 186.21 (±7.66) cm, and body mass of n=83.7 (±13.09) kg, completed one Wingate test per day using a different seat height for 5 consecutive days. The seat heights were determined by adjusting the knee angle starting from a fully extended knee position with the subject sat on the seat with the foot flat at the bottom of the crank cycle. The seat heights related to participant knee angles of 180o, 190o, 200o, 210o and 220o, with 180o being the highest seat height with leg fully extended and 220o being the lowest seat height used. The resistance used for the 10s maximal sprint was a standard torque (0.7N) multiplied by participant body weight. A repeated measures ANOVA showed no significant differences (p>0.05) between PPO or FI when changing seat height. There was a trend however, which suggested the optimal point for both PPO and FI during this study occurred when cycling at a seat height measured at 210o of the knee angle. The original hypotheses were supported and the study outlined a range of other variables that could affect the performance in sprint cycling. To summarise, while the observed mean differences between PPO and FI% for the five knee angles investigated where statistically not significant, an angle of 210o appeared to produced the optimal PPO and FI% values for the present study sample.
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