Experienced cyclists typically pedal with a 5-20% bilateral asymmetry in regards to power output. The aim of this study was to determine if visual feedback via the Wattbike cycle ergometer is an effective tool in reducing bilateral pedaling asymmetry in trained cyclists. Twelve subjects completed three 10-minute cycling trials on the Wattbike at a power output consistent with 60% VO2 peak. The three trials consisted of a baseline (BASE) trial in which cyclists pedaled without instruction, a conscious control (CC) trial during which cyclists attempted to pedal symmetrically, and another trial in which cyclists attempted to pedal symmetrically while utilizing visual feedback (VF) of their bilateral power outputs (%) via the Wattbike. While the BASE trial was always performed first, the order of the CC and VF trials were counterbalanced to minimize the influence of order effect. For the primary analysis, the Asymmetry Index (AI%) for the three trials were not significantly different (p > 0.05). However, secondary analysis of subjects who had baseline AI%s within the normal, reported range showed significantly decreased AI%s during the VF trial as compared to BASE (p < 0.05). These results suggest that cyclists with normal AI%s can pedal more symmetrically while using visual feedback of their asymmetry as opposed to merely attempting conscious correction without feedback. It is currently unknown whether adopting a more bilaterally symmetrical pedaling style will improve cycling performance or decrease injury rates in cyclists.
Kell, D.T. & Greer, B.K. (2017). Use of the Wattbike cycle ergometer for attenuation of bilateral pedaling asymmetry in trained cyclists. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 31(2), 468–473. doi:10.1519/JSC.0000000000001495