Effects of vibration on mechanical efficiency during cycling

Adam Hawkey, Daniel Robbins

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    While efficiency has been identified as a key determinant of endurance cycling performance, there is limited research investigating how vibration may influence this factor. Therefore, this feasibility study aimed to assess the effects of vibration on mechanical efficiency during cycling performance. Following institutional ethics approval, 20 undergraduate students (Mean ± SD Age = 22.35 ± 2.78 yrs.; Height = 1.77 ± 0.08 m; Mass = 87.02 ±16.63 Kg) cycled for 15 minutes on a stationary Power Plate powerBIKETM ergometer in both vibration and non-vibration conditions. During each condition, the gross mechanical efficiency (GE) was calculated. A Wilcoxon signed rank statistical test reported a significant increase (P < 0.001) in oxygen consumption during the vibration condition (24.5 ± 3.8 ml.kg.min-1) compared to the non-vibration condition (16.9 ± 2.7 ml.kg.min-1). Subsequently, there was a significant reduction (P < 0.001) in GE during the vibration condition (15.77 ± 2.8%) compared to the non-vibration condition (23.1 ± 3.5%). Findings therefore suggest that being exposed to vibration during cycling has the potential to significantly increase energy demand, and negatively affect an individual’s efficiency. This has implications for the cyclist as increased oxygen consumption, without increased cadence or resistance, will negatively affect performance. Further investigation is now required to ascertain how vibration affects efficiency during cycling, to evaluate methods designed to dampen vibration transmission, and to better prepare cyclists for such exposure.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages12
    JournalAsian Exercise and Sport Science Journal
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 30 Jul 2020


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