The effect of cleat position on cycling performance in competitive cyclists

Marsh, CE ORCID: and Harrison, N 2014, The effect of cleat position on cycling performance in competitive cyclists , in: British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES) Conference 2013, 3rd-5th September 2013, University of Central Lancashire, United Kingdom.

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Optimising bicycle set-up is important with respect to cycling performance and includes variables such as seat height, seat tube angle, stem length and frame proportions. Another potential factor for consideration is foot position on the pedal. Whilst greater muscle activation can be achieved with the use of cleats compared to flat pedals, which may subsequently influence power output achieved and oxygen uptake, very few studies have assessed whether posterior or anterior attachment point of foot to pedal affects performance. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of anterior–posterior cleat position on parameters of cycling performance. Seven participants (mean ± s: age 31.4 ± 7.7 years, weight 76.3 ± 8.56 kg, height 178.2 ± 9.23 cm) participated in the study. The experimental protocol was granted approval by the local ethics committee. Participants completed two incremental exercise tests (ramp – 1 W every 2 s) on a Lode cycle ergometer to determine maximal oxygen uptake (O2max ) (l · min–1 ), and power output (PO) at ventilatory threshold (VT) (using V-slope and ventilatory equivalent dual criteria) and PO at O2max . Tests were performed once using an anterior cleat (AC) position and once using a posterior cleat (PC) position in a randomised order. Participants wore a respiratory mask while expired gases were collected and analysed using breath-by-breath on-line gas analysis, and data was examined utilising paired sample t-tests. Result showed that mean O2max was greater for AC than for PC (4.45 ± 0.44 vs. 4.20 ± 0.40 l · min–1, P = 0.018; effect size 0.55), but mean PO at O2max (AC 401.43 ± 4.88 vs. PC 400.00 ± 36.97 W, P = 0.871; effect size 0.03) and PO at VT (AC 287.86 ± 45.99 vs. PC 272.14 ± 23.25 W, P = 0.359; effect size 0.40) were not different. The results indicate that cleat position does not affect power output at VT or O2max and corroborates previous research that shoe position does not affect cycling performance (Paton, 2009). However, AC position appears to have a positive effect on absolute O2max , contrasting earlier research regarding any physiological benefit. Conclusion: The results suggest that AC–PC position is not a significant factor for consideration in bicycle set up with respect to power output that can be achieved, but that there may be some physiological advantage for AC position with respect to maximal aerobic capacity that can be attained. It is possible that this is attributed to an AC position achieving greater activation of the ankle plantarflexor muscles.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)
Themes: Health and Wellbeing
Schools: Schools > School of Health Sciences
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Sports Sciences (Supplement : BASES Conference 2013 – Programme and Abstracts)
Publisher: Routledge
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 0264-0414
Related URLs:
Funders: Non funded research
Depositing User: CE Marsh
Date Deposited: 12 Jun 2015 09:03
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2022 19:21

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