Comparison of asynchronous versus synchronous arm crank ergometry

K. Mossberg, C. Willman, M. A. Topor, H. Crook, S. Patak

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    42 Scopus citations


    Study Design: A direct comparison of synchronous versus asynchronous arm crank ergometry has not been carried out previously. Therefore, a comparative research design was employed. Objective: To assess the physiological responses of arm cranking when performed asynchronously (arms moving opposite to each other) versus synchronously (both arms moving in the same direction simultaneously). Setting: A university hospital setting in Galveston, Texas, USA. Methods: Seventeen individuals between the ages of 19 and 53 years were studied, 11 with paraplegia and six with no apparent disability. Two maximal arm crank graded exercise tests were performed with the subject seated in a wheelchair. Testing consisted of both arms (1) asynchronously (reciprocally) pushing and pulling the crank handles and (2) pushing and pulling the crank handles synchronously. Each test consisted of 2 min stages starting at 20 W and increasing 10 W per stage thereafter until exhaustion. Heart rate, oxygen consumption, and minute ventilation were measured and recorded during each stage. Blood lactate levels were monitored before and after each test. Statistical analysis was performed using the multivariate Hotelling's T2 followed by post hoc univariate tests. Results: Greater power and longer test times (both groups, P < 0.05) and higher post test blood lactates (nondisabled P < 0.01, paraplegic P < 0.05) were achieved with asynchronous cranking versus synchronous cranking. While submaximal responses were similar between the two modes of cranking, there was a tendency for all variables to be lower with asynchronous. All subjects preferred asynchronous rather than synchronous cranking. Conclusion: Despite few statistically significant differences, based on the subjective reports from all subjects, we believe there is a clinically significant difference between the two modes of cranking. The results suggest that the mode of cranking may have implications for arm crank testing, training, and functional locomotion in individuals with lower extremity impairments.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)569-574
    Number of pages6
    JournalSpinal Cord
    Issue number8
    StatePublished - 1999


    • Blood lactate
    • Exercise testing
    • Heart rate
    • Minute ventilation
    • Oxygen consumption
    • Spinal cord injury

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Neurology
    • Clinical Neurology


    Dive into the research topics of 'Comparison of asynchronous versus synchronous arm crank ergometry'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this