The effect of training specificity on maximal and submaximal physiological responses to treadmill and cycle ergometry

Fernhall, B.; Kohrt, W.

Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 30(3): 268-275


The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of training specificity during maximal and submaximal treadmill (TM) and bicycle ergometer (BE) exercise. A group of trained runners (RG, no. 7) and trained bikers (BG, no. 7) underwent graded exercise testing on both TM and BE, utilizing the same testing protocol within each exercise mode for both groups. Data for VO2 HR and BP were collected during each 3 min stage. Group by trial ANOVAs followed by Tukey's post hoc analysis, showed no group difference in VO2max, HRmax or BPmax during TM exercise. However, during each of the first four submaximal 3 min stages, VO2 and HR were significantly less (p less than .05) in RG vs BC, with no significant difference in BP. During BE exercise, VO2max was significantly less for both groups compared with TM (RG-59.6 vs 50.1 BS-59.4 vs 55.1 (p less than .05), with BG exhibiting the greater BEmax (p less than .05). RG also had a reduced HRmax during BE exercise (p less than .05). Both groups showed greater BPmax during BE vs TM exercise (p less than .05). Although submaximal VO2 was slightly less during BE for each stage in RG than BG, these differences were not significant as measured either by or l.min-1. Both submaximal HR and BP mirrored the VO2 response, with no significant differences between RG and BG. These data agree with previous studies, showing a greater effect of training specificity during maximal BE than during maximal TM exercise. However, during submaximal exercise, training specificity appear to have a greater effect during TM than BE exercise.