Ischemic preconditioning enhances critical power during a 3 minute all-out cycling test

This study tested the hypothesis that ischemic preconditioning (IPC) would increase critical power (CP) during a 3 minute all-out cycling test. Twelve males completed two 3 minute all-out cycling tests, in a crossover design, separated by 7 days. These tests were preceded by IPC (4 x 5 minute intervals at 220 mmHg bilateral leg occlusion) or SHAM treatment (4 x 5 minute intervals at 20 mmHg bilateral leg occlusion). CP was calculated as the mean power output during the final 30 s of the 3 minute test with W′ taken as the total work done above CP. Muscle oxygenation was measured throughout the exercise period. There was a 15.3 ± 0.3% decrease in muscle oxygenation (TSI; [Tissue saturation index]) during the IPC stimulus, relative to SHAM. CP was significantly increased (241 ± 65 W vs. 234 ± 67 W), whereas W′ (18.4 ± 3.8 vs 17.9 ± 3.7 kJ) and total work done (TWD) were not different (61.1 ± 12.7 vs 60.8 ± 12.7 kJ), between the IPC and SHAM trials. IPC enhanced CP during a 3 minute all-out cycling test without impacting W′ or TWD. The improved CP after IPC might contribute towards the effect of IPC on endurance performance.