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The effects of music tempo on performance, psychological and physiological variables during 20 km cycling in well-trained cyclists.

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Introduction Music is commonly used to accompany exercise and has been viewed as a type of legal performance enhancing drug due to its beneficial effects such as reduced RPE, increased work output, enhanced mood, enhanced motor skill acquisition, and increased performance during a variety of exercise tasks. Despite the fact that athletes report using music before, during and after training to increase performance and self-regulate mood, the majority of evidence available has been based on untrained, non-athletic populations. This highlights the need for further research into the effects of music on well-trained individuals engaging in exercise. Objectives The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of different music tempi on performance, psychological and physiological responses of well-trained, experienced cyclists to time trial cycling. Methods Ten male road cyclists (age:35yrs ± 7, VO2 peak: 5.6 L/min ± 0.4; sum of 7 skinfolds: 58 ± 9.4) performed four 20km time-trials on a Computrainer™ Pro 3D electromagnetically braked indoor cycle trainer over a period of four weeks. The time-trials were spaced a week apart. The music conditions for each trial were randomised between fast-tempo (140 bpm), medium-tempo (120 bpm), slow-tempo (100 bpm), and no-music. Measures recorded during the time-trials included (1) physiological: heart rate, oxygen consumption, breathing frequency, respiratory exchange ratio, (2) psychological: mood states (Profile of Mood States (POMS) pre and post time-trial), (3) Performance: peak and average power output, time to completion, pedal cadence and (4) rating of perceived exertion. Averaged data were compared using one-way analysis of variance. Data for heart rate, oxygen consumption, breathing frequency, RPE, cadence and power output were also collected at three minute intervals during each trial. These were compared using two factor (time x condition) repeated measures analysis of variance. For all data sets, where a significant difference was observed, a Bonferroni post-hoc test was used to determine specific differences. Significance was set at P < 0.05. Results Results revealed no significant changes in physiological variables or performance variables. Total mood disturbance and tension as measured by the POMS were increased significantly in response to the fast-tempo trial. Conclusion Fast tempo music is often perceived as highly motivational and results in increased arousal in the listener. It is likely that prolonged exposure to arousing stimuli such as fast tempo music in conjunction with the intense sensations associated with time-trial exercise could have led to the disturbances in mood state observed during the fast-tempo music trial.


M. Med. Sc. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban 2013.


Cycling--Exercise--Physiological aspects., Cycling--Psychological aspects., Cyclists--Exercise--Physiological aspects., Cyclists--Psychological aspects., Music therapy., Time trials., Theses--Sports science.