Accuracy of estimates of cumulative load during a confined activity: bicycling
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Cumulative load reflects the total accumulated load across a loading exposure. Estimated cumulative load can identify individuals with or at risk for pathology. However, there is no research into the accuracy of the estimated cumulative load. This study determined: (1) which impulses, from a 500 revolution bicycling activity, accurately estimate cumulative pedal reaction force; and (2) how many impulses are required to accurately estimate cumulative pedal reaction force over 500 revolutions. Twenty-four healthy adults (mean 23.4 [SD 3.1] years; 11 men) participated. Participants performed three bicycling bouts of 10-min in duration and were randomized to one of two groups (group 1 = self-selected power and prescribed cadence of 80 revolutions per minute; group 2 = prescribed power of 100 W and self-selected cadence). The first 10 revolutions (2%) of the normal pedal reaction force (PRFN) and resultant pedal reaction force (PRFR), and the first five revolutions (1%) of the anterior-posterior reaction force (PRFAP) over-estimated cumulative load. The PRFN, PRFAP, and PRFR required 80 revolutions (16%), 320 revolutions (64%) and 65 revolutions (13%), respectively, to accurately estimate cumulative load across 500 cycles. These findings highlight that the context and amount of data collected are important in producing accurate estimates of cumulative load.