The Scientific Approach at Sport Physiology Laboratory in Stellenbosch


The Scientific Approach

Many factors influence cyclists’ performance in the field. Some are easier to measure than others, and some are best evaluated in the field. However, it has been established that many laboratory tests and parameters that can be measured, are accurate predictors of performance in the field.

The Sport Physiology Laboratory at Stellenbosch University is equipped with state-of-the-art exercise testing instruments to accurately and consistently monitor athletic performance through proven scientific methods and protocols. The results obtained from the test gives the cyclist proper scientific support to achieve optimal performance.
Why test?

The results from the laboratory tests can be used to:

  • Assess the current physical and physiological attributes of the cyclist
  • Obtain information for individualized and sport-specific training regimes
  • Identify physical weaknesses
  • Quantify improvement in fitness and performance by comparing results to previous test
  • Enable the coach to assess the success of his/her training program
  • Monitor training progress and prevent overtraining

Cycling specific tests

  • Maximal exercise capacity and lactate threshold – both the physiological fitness of the cyclist and accurate heart rate training zones can be determined for training purposes
  • LSCT submaximal cycle test – used for monitoring training adaptations and fatigue
  • Wingate Test – measures anaerobic capacity
  • Time trials – analysis of peak and average power, heart rate and cadence, time of completion.
  • Spin Scan cycling efficiency – assess leg muscle efficiency and the distribution of power between the legs.

Max Heart rate vs. Lactate Threshold training zones

Lactate Threshold is the point where lactate accumulates in the blood faster than it can be removed or used as fuel. This is the intensity that you can maintain for ~ 40 – 60 minutes.

Depending on your training status your HR @ lactate threshold occurs at different percentages of your maximal heart rate. Once your HR @ lactate threshold is determined we can use this to establish your training zones.

HR @ lactate threshold is the preferred method of zone prescription in both athletes and recreational riders because it’s accurate and person-specific to individual ensuring you are targeting the correct zone and stimulating the appropriate physiological response.


It’s no surprise that a lighter cyclist go up the hill faster and a heavier cyclist are more powerful in the flat sprints. 1kg weight loss equates to about 6 seconds in a flat 40km time trial, but with a constant 5% gradient uphill the difference would blow out to 55 seconds.

To improve your power-to- weight ratio, you have to increase your power, reduce your weight or a combination of both. If weight loss is the way to go we can help track your changes in body composition with BodyMetrix ultrasound technology. With each visit you will receive a comprehensive report including all the previous measurements.  Results include height, weight, % body fat, % fat free mass, hydration status, health risk markers.

Indoor training sessions

As individuals with regular jobs we don’t also have the time to go for long rides outside, and with winter coming the rain can make it a bit uncomfortable.

Now you can complete a quality indoor training session on the comfort of your own bike on our Computrainers.

Ride one of the pre-existing 3D courses and race against your friend.

We can also simulate the route for your next race or you can opt for a power training session tailored to your current training status.

Contact us to book an assessment with one of our four sport scientists, Matthew, Louise, Kyle and Anthony.

For more information contact Tel: 0218082818

Email: moc.l1563795210iamg@1563795210balyg1563795210olois1563795210yhptr1563795210ops1563795210

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