Time constraint is the biggest challenge for the public to maintain and improve their health and fitness through exercise. Strength and endurance exercises are recommended to counteract age related sarcopenia, which is a decrease in muscle mass of strength, and to prevent cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, but exercising both regularly is not easy for most people. Eccentric cycling has potential for simultaneous improvements in strength and endurance. Eccentric cycling has been shown to effectively improve muscles strength and size at a low cardiovascular and metabolic intensity. Although the lower metabolic demand is an advantage of eccentric cycling, it may not be vigorous enough to improve endurance. It is possible to increase the intensity of eccentric cycling by implementing high-intensity interval protocols, but no studies have investigated acute and chronic physiological effects of “high-intensity interval eccentric cycling”.
Thus, the aims of this project are: 1) to develop a feasible and effective interval eccentric cycling protocol that elicits high cardiovascular and metabolic loads (Study 1); 2) to examine acute transcriptional up-streams of protein synthesis and mitochondrial biogenesis after one bout of interval eccentric cycling in comparison to continuous eccentric cycling, as well as interval and continuous concentric cycling (Study 2), and 3) to investigate chronic changes in the transcriptional up-stream targets of protein synthesis and mitochondrial biogenesis and its effect on functional outcomes of cardiopulmonary, muscle strength, muscle size and metabolic blood profile after interval eccentric cycling training in comparison to the modalities from Study 2 (Study 3). Each study will be completed in a randomised and crossover design with participants being healthy middle-aged men and women. Study 1 will provide a best interval protocol to compare with the other modalities in the next two studies (Study 2, Study 3).
Understanding the acute and chronic physiological effects of interval eccentric cycling will give further insight into how to design eccentric cycling training with maximal outcomes.
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