Critical Power: An Important Fatigue Threshold in Exercise Physiology.


The hyperbolic form of the power-duration relationship is rigorous and highly conserved across species, forms of exercise and individual muscles/muscle groups. For modalities such as cycling, the relationship resolves to two parameters, the asymptote for power (critical power, CP) and the so-called W' (work doable above CP), which together predict the tolerable duration of exercise above CP. Crucially, the CP concept integrates sentinel physiological profiles - respiratory, metabolic and contractile - within a coherent framework that has great scientific and practical utility. Rather than calibrating equivalent exercise intensities relative to metabolically distant parameters such as the lactate threshold or V[spacing dot above]O2 max, setting the exercise intensity relative to CP unifies the profile of systemic and intramuscular responses and, if greater than CP, predicts the tolerable duration of exercise until W' is expended, V[spacing dot above]O2 max is attained, and intolerance is manifested. CP may be regarded as a 'fatigue threshold' in the sense that it separates exercise intensity domains within which the physiological responses to exercise can (<CP) or cannot (>CP) be stabilized. The CP concept therefore enables important insights into 1) the principal loci of fatigue development (central vs. peripheral) at different intensities of exercise, and 2) mechanisms of cardiovascular and metabolic control and their modulation by factors such as O2 delivery. Practically, the CP concept has great potential application in optimizing athletic training programs and performance as well as improving the life quality for individuals enduring chronic disease.

(C) 2016 American College of Sports Medicine 

Autor / Fonte:David C Poole, Mark Burnley, Anni Vanhatalo, Harry B Rossiter, Andrew M Jones Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 2016 March 31