Pushing yourself extra hard over short periods could do ‘more harm than good’

Weekend workout warning: Pushing yourself extra hard over short periods could do ‘more harm than good’ Amateur cyclists who cycle as fast as professionals place their body under strain Experts from King’s College London studied nine cyclists to see physical impact Extra strain from fast pedalling strains heart rate, breathing and energy reserves

By Victoria Allen Science Correspondent For The Daily Mail

Published: 16:14 GMT, 12 February 2019 | Updated: 16:21 GMT, 12 February 2019

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It is bad news for those who pride themselves on their ferocious pedalling rate.

Weekend cyclists dubbed the ‘middle-aged men in lycra’, or MAMILS, should slow down if they don’t want to burn out.

A study has found amateur cyclists who try to cycle as fast as the professionals place their body under significant strain.

Those who try to copy Sir Chris Hoy, pedalling rapidly at 90 times a minute, see their heart rate rise by 15 per cent and starve their muscles of oxygen.  

King's College data: A study has found amateur cyclists who try to cycle as fast as the professionals place their body under significant strain

King's College data: A study has found amateur cyclists who try to cycle as fast as the professionals place their body under significant strain

Elite cyclists can cope with fast spinning of the pedals, as their training may mean they use their muscles more efficiently.

But for the amateurs among us, who may end up using extra muscles to stop falling off the seat, it is an inefficient way to ride a bike which could mean having to stop for a humiliating breather.

Dr Federico Formenti, from King’s College London, led a study of nine cyclists which discovered the extra strain fast pedalling put on their heart rate, breathing and energy reserves.

He said: ‘The main message of this study is for amateur cyclists not to force themselves beyond what feels natural.

‘In most cases the cyclists you see wobbling on the bicycle seat, spinning their legs very rapidly, have reached the level where they are just wasting energy.

‘If they are competing in a road race, or going for a weekend cycle ride and doing this, they could well end up having to give up.’ Researchers asked nine people, ranging from triatheletes to unfit sedentary types, to ride an exercise bike at what was for them a moderate intensity.

As they pedalled between 40 and 90 times a minute, their heart rate was measured, along with the oxygen used by their thigh and buttock muscles and their oxygen uptake.

Amateur: Elite cyclists can cope with fast spinning of the pedals, as their training may mean they use their muscles more efficiently

Amateur: Elite cyclists can cope with fast spinning of

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