Int J Sports Med 2003; 24(1): 63-70
DOI: 10.1055/s-2003-37201
Training & Testing
Training and Testing
© Georg Thieme Verlag Stuttgart · New York

The Effects of Prior Cycling and a Successive Run on Respiratory Muscle Performance in Triathletes

A.  Boussana1 , O.  Galy1 , O.  Hue2 , S.  Matecki3 , A.  Varray1 , M.  Ramonatxo3 , D.  Le Gallais1
  • 1UPRES EA 2991, Laboratoire Sport Performance Santé, Faculté des Sciences du Sport, France
  • 2Laboratoire ACTE, UFR STAPS Antilles Guyane, France
  • 3Laboratoire de Physiologie des Interactions, CHU Arnaud de Villeneuve, France
Further Information

Publication History

Accepted after revision: May 30, 2002

Publication Date:
12 February 2003 (online)


The aim of the present study was to compare the effects of prior cycling and a successive run on respiratory muscle performance during a cycle-run succession as performed in the triathlon. We hypothesized that despite the moderate intensity of exercise and the absence of exhaustion, the crouched cycling position would induce a decrease in respiratory muscle performance that would be reversed by the successive vertical run position. Ten male triathletes (22.6 ± 1.1 yr) performed a four-trial protocol: 1) an incremental cycle test to assess maximal oxygen uptake (V˙O2max), 2) 20 min of cycling (C), 3) 20 min of running (R), and 4) 20 min of cycling followed by 20 min of running (C-R). Trials 2, 3 and 4 were performed at the same metabolic intensity, i. e., 75 % of V˙O2max. Respiratory muscle force was assessed by measuring maximal expiratory (PEmax) and inspiratory (PImax) pressures from the functional residual capacity (FRC) before and 10 min after C, R, and C-R. Respiratory muscle endurance was assessed one day before and 30 min after C, R, and C-R, by measuring the time limit (Tlim), which corresponds to the length of time a respiratory load can be sustained before the process of fatigue develops sufficiently to cause task failure. The results showed a similar significant decrease in PImax (132.4 ± 4.9 versus 125.7 ± 5.6 cmH2O, p < 0.05) and Tlim (5.22 ± 0.28 versus 3.68 ± 0.32 min, p < 0.05) post-C and post-C-R (133.7 ± 4.0 versus 126.9 ± 5.2 cmH2O, and 5.29 ± 0.18 versus 3.49 ± 0.41 min, respectively, p < 0.05) compared with the pre-trial values. In contrast, PImax and Tlim were not significantly decreased post-R (131.8 ± 6.1 cm H2O versus 129.6 ± 6.4 cmH2O, and 4.90 ± 0.69 versus 4.40 ± 0.56 min, respectively, p > 0.05). We concluded that moderate intensity exercise not performed to exhaustion induced a decrease in respiratory muscle performance. Moreover, the respiratory muscle fatigue induced by prior cycling was maintained, and neither reversed nor worsened, by the successive run.


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