I like to do some more loud thinking on the subject on power meter.
Why Are Power Meters Preferred to Heart Rate Monitors?
Power meters are fast gaining popularity over the traditional heart rate monitors as they become more widely available for all types of cyclists. The reason is simple: power meters provide athletes with an instant and accurate measure of how hard the cyclist is working, whereas a heart rate monitor simply shows the response to physical activity, and there is often a time lag between exertion and heart response.
Heart rate can be affected by a variety of external factors including temperature, altitude, terrain, and wind resistance as well as the cyclist's hydration and nutrition. This can result in a significant difference between workouts that is not due to how hard the athlete is working. Power meters, however, always measure the impact of the activity itself.
What are the Benefits of Power Training with Indoor Cycling?
1. Power training is possibly the best way to improve your hill climbing ability as well as improving the speed of your climb. As factors such as VO2 max and threshold heart rate actually limit your power ability
Now look carefully at this statements ( in red)
It is exactly where we all sound smart but really have very little ideas on what we really base this statement.
More and more people accept the fact, that VO2 max has to be discussed to say the least . Because of this problem more and more use the name VO2 peak. Even worse is the idea to talk about a heart rate threshold with all what even in this article is discussed on what can influence HR .
But here the question.
Why would a VO2 max limit power.
Let's take some simple example.
A runner with a VO2 max of 85 Lets' take the always used example of Paul Tergat and Lance Armstrong an the new york Marathon,.
. Both same VO2 max. Why is the cyclist nearly one hour slower than the runner and why would the runner not have enough " Power" if they would have done a cycling race.
Same VO2 not the same performance .
Power can perhaps be somewhat limited with the VO2 sport specific peak, but it is mainly a question of some many more factors and delivery of energy to this specific muscles with or with oxygen dependent energy sources.
If the actual strength produced recruits a certain amount of motor units the "power' May be limited due to an occlusion occurring in the working muscles.
Look at our discussion on " what does that mean and look at the great example from Carson's workout on the 2 x 10 and than the shorter intervals.
Same VO2 max in this workout but different ability to sustain "Power " wattage due to different set ups on the loads.
This really shows that a power meter only gives you a good result toward understanding changes in performance, when combined with the opportunity to get some info's on the energy demand or supply.
To have that immediately with the power number you need a MOXY. Now lets' make a very interesting statement here:
How about the opposite. it is not VO2 which limits the power but it is the ability of the power you can produce , which limits the VO2 needed or used.
look at this form the old 1967 discussion, where critical thinker already at that time where sure, that there is only a specific VO2 peak tested but no such thing like a VO2 max based on a hopefully plateau somewhere down the road. Here again the famous work by Dal Monte on VO2 peak and power dependent VO2 values.
And I like to add a result sent to us by Carson as he used MOXY and combined it with VO2 ( max ) testing ) look at the graph and the VO2 max trends you have every where a VO2 peak plateau to the load accordingly to the O2 need , but exactly there, at the end of the test where you would expect a VO2 plateau there is none. This data collection show another very intriguing question.
a) remember that I argued , that the 3 min step test forces the result due to the lack of sufficient times for the systems to adjust. Well that is true for any test, where we design a fixed protocol. we make the decision and not the physiological possible reactions.
Now this graph shows you in red the trend in VO2 max. The load was high and for sure hard for this athlete.
Blue shows you the RER. In many centers we use RER and say it is equal RQ and therefore give our client a very nice looking and very intelligent sounding idea on the metabolic needs on Fat and Carbs.
In simple terms a RER of 0.7 suggests a manly FFA involved energy supply. A RER of 1.0 would suggest a mainly " carb" involved energy supply. So logically half way in 0.85 it is a mixed energy supply.
So what is when it is as so often above 1.0 ???
Now look at this test. during his 1 min rest he has a much higher RER indicating, that when he is doing nothing he uses much more " Carbs" than when he is doing something. Question? perhaps RER =- RQ at rest in a time frame of 8 plus minutes in doing nothing or nearly nothing.
Could it be when looking at this reactions, that RER is mainly and indicator of releasing more or less CO2 over the respiratory system and as such the values may depend mainly on the respiration and its ability in a for sure 3 min steps test rather than any indication of accurate % of energy substrate use ?
Just a question I have in may mind ? Now , when we look at the " real " energy which is used in the way on the question, whether he uses O2 or not than we could look at the trend in SmO2 rather than the trend in RER So let's look at the SmO2 in the same athletes in the same test. see pic.
Now question :
Could it be , that the CO2 he blows out in the one minute may reflect the accumulation of CO2 during the load and as the load is increasing he has a problem to keep the CO2 normocapnic and as such can use the 1 min break to try now to get rid of CO2 ( and indirectly H + ) to try to balance out this pH and H + situation. The " peak " of VO2 at each 1 min break indicates the amount of O2 which is delivered over HR and respiration. Due to the sudden stop of leg activity, but the lag of the cardiac system and respiratory system , at that stop we see approximately how much O2 cardiac and respiration delivered . This because the muscle needed this O2 and it is still delivered but not used at the current time.
The still increase blood flow helps to remove and push the CO2 to the lungs and out to the flow meter in your VO2 equipment and the values are not what happens but what may have happened somewhere before.
Last but not least. As more VE an athlete can move without pushing the respiration to its limit as faster he will have the CO2 balanced and is ready for the next load.
Important in game sports.
An average ice hockey player in the junior a and top league in Canada , if he is not respiratory trained can move all out appr 15 - 200 L / min. ( Average of a tested NHL 2011)
A respiratory trained ice hockey player can move 250 - 300 L /min.
Who will be able to remove more CO2 in what time ?
Look at the next short ideas in the follow up replay just for the interesting reader , to show how MOXY may be able to give you an RQ trend rather than a RER speculation.