Maximal oxygen uptake, ventilatory thresholds and mechanical power during cycling in Tropical climate in Guadeloupean elite cyclists

Abstract : The Tropical climate imposes a high level of physiological stress, which could modify the target heart rate in training load prescription, as the recommendations are often determined by maximal oxygen uptake testing in temperature-neutral laboratories. To test this hypothesis, 7 highlevel cyclists performed two randomised maximal tests in neutral (19.2±0.9 ◦C; 51.7±1.3% RH) and Tropical environment (25.8±1.1 ◦C; 63.7±2.3% RH). Neither maximal oxygen uptake nor ventilatory threshold was influenced by the environmental conditions. However, ventilation (p < 0.005) and the respiratory equivalent in O2 (p < 0.05) were significantly higher in the Tropical environment, whereas maximal power output and the time to attain maximal oxygen uptake were significantly lower (p < 0.05 for both). Moreover, the ventilatory cost of cycling (expressed in LW−1) was significantly greater in the Tropical condition (0.40±0.03 LW−1 vs. 0.32±0.05 LW−1, in Tropical vs. Neutral; condition effect: p < 0.005; condition×time: p < 0.001). Rectal temperature was influenced by neither the environmental conditions nor exercise (36.7±0.1 and 37.0±0.1 ◦Cvs. 36.8±0.1 and 37.1±0.2 ◦C, in Tropical vs. Neutral, before and after exercise) but was influenced by condition×time (p < 0.05). The heart rate (HR) values usually used for training prescription were not significantly different (154±5 bpm vs. 156±4 bpm and 172±4 bpm vs. 167±4 bpm in Tropical vs. Neutral climate, for the first and second thresholds, respectively). We concluded that the usual parameters measured during maximal exercise to establish training programs are not impaired in moderate Tropical environment. Nevertheless, the thermal stress attested by the increased ventilatory cost of cycling could have prevented the cyclists from performing a true maximal test in Tropical conditions.
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Olivier Hue, Sophie Antoine-Jonville, Olivier Galy, Stephen Blonc. Maximal oxygen uptake, ventilatory thresholds and mechanical power during cycling in Tropical climate in Guadeloupean elite cyclists. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, Elsevier, 2010, 13 (6), pp.607-612. ⟨10.1016/j.jsams.2009.11.004⟩. ⟨hal-00703461⟩

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