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Body position affects performance in untrained cyclists
  1. M C Ashe1,
  2. G C Scroop2,
  3. P I Frisken2,
  4. C A Amery2,
  5. M A Wilkins2,
  6. K M Khan1
  1. 1University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
  2. 2University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia
  1. Correspondence to:
 M C Ashe, Department of Family Practice, Suite 211, 2150 Western Parkway, Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 1V6; 


Objective: To compare cardiovascular and ventilatory variables in upright versus aero cycle ergometry at submaximal and maximal exercise intensities in untrained cyclists.

Method: Ten physically active men (mean (SD) age 19.1 (1.10) years) who were unfamiliar with aerobars underwent maximal exercise testing and steady state cycling at 50, 100, and 150 W.

Results: Participants had significantly greater maxima for oxygen uptake (Vo2), ventilation, heart rate, and workload maximum in the upright position. During steady state cycling at the three workloads, Vo2 (ml/kg/min) and gross mechanical efficiency were significantly greater in the upright position.

Conclusions: In untrained subjects performing with maximal effort, the upright position permits greater Vo2, ventilation, heart rate, and workload maxima. Further, in the steady state, exercise cycling may be less costly in the upright position. For this reason, untrained cyclists need to weigh body position effects against the well known aerodynamic advantages of the aero position.

  • aerobars
  • cycle ergometry
  • exercise
  • ventilation
  • Vo2max, maximal oxygen uptake
  • Ve, minute volume
  • GME, gross mechanical efficiency

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