The effect of crank rate strategy on peak aerobic power and peak physiological responses during arm crank ergometry

Paul M. Smith, Mike Doherty, Michael J. Price

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    22 Citations (Scopus)


    The main aim of this study was to determine whether the use of an imposed or freely chosen crank rate would influence submaximal and peak physiological responses during arm crank ergometry. Fifteen physically active men participated in the study. Their mean age, height, and body mass were 25.9 (s = 6.2) years, 1.80 (s = 0.10) m, and 78.4 (s = 6.1) kg, respectively. The participants performed two incremental peak oxygen consumption (VO2peak) tests using an electronically braked ergometer. One test was performed using an imposed crank rate of 80 rev · min-1, whereas in the other the participants used spontaneously chosen crank rates. The order in which the tests were performed was randomized, and they were separated by at least 2 days. Respiratory data were collected using an on-line gas analysis system, and fingertip capillary blood samples (∼ 20 μl) were collected for the determination of blood lactate concentration. Heart rate was also recorded throughout the tests. Time to exhaustion was measured and peak aerobic power calculated. Submaximal data were analysed using separate two-way repeated-measures analyses of variance, while differences in peak values were analysed using separate paired t-tests. Variations in spontaneously chosen crank rate were assessed using a one-way analysis of variance with repeated measures. Agreement between the crank rate strategies for the assessment of peak values was examined by calculating intra-class correlation coefficients (ICC) and 95% limits of agreement (95% LoA). While considerable between-participant variations in spontaneously chosen crank rate were observed, the mean value was not different (P < 0.05) from the imposed crank rate of 80 rev · min-1 at any point. No differences (P > 0.05) were observed for submaximal data between crank strategies. Furthermore, mean peak minute power [158 (s = 20) vs. 158 (s = 18) W], time to exhaustion [739 (s = 118) vs. 727 (s = 111) s], and VO2peak [3.09 (s = 0.38) vs. 3.04 (s = 0.34) l · min-1] were similar for the imposed and spontaneously chosen crank rates, respectively. However, the agreement for the assessment of VO2peak (ICC = 0.78; 95% LoA = 0.04 ± 0.50 · min-1) between the cranking strategies was considered unacceptable. Our results suggest that either an imposed or spontaneously chosen crank rate strategy can be used to examine physiological responses during arm crank ergometry, although it is recommended that the two crank strategies should not be used interchangeably.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)711-718
    Number of pages8
    JournalJournal of Sports Sciences
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2007


    • Crank rate selection
    • Limits of agreement
    • Peak oxygen consumption

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
    • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


    Dive into the research topics of 'The effect of crank rate strategy on peak aerobic power and peak physiological responses during arm crank ergometry'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this