Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Thesis


Cycling--Physiological aspects; Exercise tests; Work measurement;


Total workload on a bicycle ergometer is determined by the amount of resistance and the pedal frequency. Predicting oxygen consumption on a bicycle ergometer is currently based on total workload being performed, regardless of resistance and pedal frequency. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of pedal frequency and resistance on oxygen consumption at constant workloads during bicycle ergometer work in college-age females. It was hypothesized that changes in pedal frequency and resistance would cause significant differences in oxygen consumption at a constant workload.

Fourteen healthv, untrained females, age 19 to 22, performed maximal oxygen consumption tests on bicycle ergometers. Forty-eight hours later, the subjects performed three submaximal tests on bicycle ergometers at workloads that elicited 75% of their maximal oxygen consumption values. During these submaximal tests, total workload was held constant, while pedal frequency and resistance were varied. The submaximal tests consisted of one slow pedal frequency (50 rpm)/high resistance test, one medium pedal frequency (70 rpm)/medium resistance test, and one fast pedal frequency (90 rpm)/ low resistance test. Oxygen consumption, heart rate, minute ventilation volume, and respiratory exchange ratio were measured each minute of submaximal testing.

Statistical analysis revealed no significant difference in both oxygen consumption and ventilation volume between 50 rpm and 70 rpm, but significant differences were found when comparing values at 50 rpm and 70 rpm to values at 90 rpm (p < . 05). There was a significant difference (p < .05) among heart rates at all pedal frequencies. In multiple comparisons, no significant differences were found (p <.05) in respiratory exchange ratio values. Results of this study indicate that oxygen consumption at a given workload on a bicycle ergometer is dependent on the choice of pedal frequency and resistance, and not merely dependent on total workload.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Arts


School of Health, Physical Education, and Leisure Services

First Advisor

Forrest Dolgener

Second Advisor

N. Kay Covington

Third Advisor

Larry D. Hensley


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Date Original


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