We have estimated the reliability of performance in a commonly employed exercise test consisting of repeated sprints on a cycle ergometer. Eight recreationally active young men completed a practice trial and three more trials at 3- to 6-day intervals. Each trial consisted of two bouts of 30-s maximal-effort cycling on an electromagnetically braked cycle ergometer; the bouts were separated by 4 min of rest. The typical (standard) errors of measurement for peak and mean power between trials 2 to 4 were 2.5 and 1.7% respectively for the first bout and 1.9 and 1.8% for the second bout. These errors are substantially less than those in previous reliability studies of single 30-s sprint tests, probably because of differences in quality of ergometer. The typical errors for the difference between bouts (i.e., fatigue) for peak power and mean power were 3.0 and 2.5%, respectively. Typical errors for the average of the two bouts were 1.6 and 1.2% for peak and mean power respectively, which are small enough to give adequate precision for moderate treatment effects in studies with modest sample sizes.
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