The Effects of Traditional Vs. Cycle Based Strength Training on Power Production Capabilities and Performance of Sprint Track Cyclists
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The sport of track cycling is an Olympic disciplined event, commonly classified as a sprint sport due to the high levels of maximal or repeated maximal sprints required during events ranging from 250m to 30km in length. A major determinant of sprint cycling performance is a rider’s ability to produce high levels of sustained power, regardless of event distance. As a result practitioners must ensure that mechanical and physiological components contributing to power are improved. This thesis sought to gain insight into the relationship between muscular strength and power capabilities of well trained sprint cyclists. From the literature review, significant improvements in force generating capability and muscle architecture characteristics were found as a result of externally loaded resistance training. Research had also reported that sport specific resistance training could elicit greater adaptations within trained individuals. Only one study had attempted to analyse the effects of traditional resistance training and cycling specific resistance training on endurance based cyclists, with no reporting of sprint cyclists found. Study One of the thesis showed significant relationships between muscular force and maximal torque production at all tested pedalling velocities (r = 0.890 - 0.925), while muscular force and power production were found to not be significantly related. Study Two was conducted using well trained sprint cyclists and sought greater understanding on optimal training modalities. No substantial differences in the relationship of muscular force and maximal torque were found as a result of traditional gym based resistance training (Effect size (ES) = 0.06) or cycling specific isokinetic resistance training (ES = -0.12). Additionally no worthwhile changes in maximal cycling power were found as a result of either traditional (ES = 0.02) or isokinetic (ES = 0.09) training modalities. It is suggested that the use of traditional and cycling specific strength training should be carried out regardless of training level, in order to elicit muscular adaptations and maintain sprint cycling performance.