In 2017 authors Duggan, Donne and Fleming sought to further investigate the effect that changing seat tube angle (STA) had on muscle activity patterns particularly when coupled with exercise intensity. In the literature review that they performed they found that increasing STA decreased the amount of work that the cardiovascular system had to perform at the same work rates. This was shown with reduced heartrate (HR) and amount of oxygen consumed by the body (VO2). When looking at efficiency at submaximal intensities a lower VO2 is preferable as it indicates that the body isn’t working as ‘hard’ to produce the same power. It has also been proven that increasing STA has a positive effect on subsequent 10 km running time (Garside and Doran, 2000). The authors note that although several studies have found that STA can influence muscle recruitment patterns, the muscles which are affected by changing STA are not always the same.
This study took 11 competitive cyclists and looked at they responded when exercising at 160W and an individualised workload (IWL); determined by some maximal exercise testing, with STA’s of 70°, 75°, 80°.
They measured VO2 giving them the ability to look at the economy of each position with the goal being to find the lowest VO2 for a given workload. Also measured were: blood lactate, heart rate, EMG thigh muscle data.
Retrieved from Duggan, W., Donne, B., & Fleming, N. (2017). Effect of Seat Tube Angle and Exercise Intensity on Muscle Activity Patterns in Cyclists. International journal of exercise science, 10(8), 1145-1156.