European Journal of Applied Physiology vol:112 issue:3 pages:983-989
The purpose of this study was to compare the peak and submaximal metabolic and cardiorespiratory responses during steady-state arm-powered (AP) and arm-trunk-powered (ATP) handbike ergometry. Twelve male able-bodied participants with no prior experience in handcycling completed a maximal progressive incremental test and a series of 6-minute submaximal tests at 130 W with various cadences in a custom-designed handbike ergometer that allowed a realistic simulation of AP and ATP handcycling. Peak power output, peak oxygen uptake, and peak ventilation were significantly lower, whereas peak blood lactate concentration was significantly higher during AP handcycling. Mean gross mechanical efficiency was significantly higher during AP handcycling (range 16.7 to 20.5%) compared with ATP handcycling (range 15.8 to 17.6%). These results suggest that AP handcycling is advantageous during submaximal steady-state handcycling, whereas ATP handcycling allows for a higher peak power output generation. However, it remains unclear which handbike configuration would be favorable during competition.