Is there any studies to show this?
Or when it comes to time trialling/triathlon is pure specificity the key?
Let me explain.
Running utilises plenty of different modalities that claim to improve overall performance, but may not reflect the demands, partcularly at the muscular level of the planned race. For instance trail running, it's still running yes, but muscle use does change, so does use of recoil, cadence, stride length etc. All change in comparison to road running. Yet it does seem to confer benefit through variance in load, strength and neural control etc.
Can the same be said for cycling? An activity where stabilisation and strength are largely secondary behind pure aerobic and muscular power?
In cycling you could change your inertia completely, I.e. By mountain biking, or you could change elements such as crank length, ring shape etc. To alter things at the muscle level.
What got me thinking about this was non-round rings and shorter cranks. I always felt q rings didn't suit me, yet when I spent time on them indoors I always felt my outdoor power on round improved. I put this down to the fact that on the indoor trainer I had (lemond) had good inertia but would 'give' a little in the downstroke, unlike the road. By putting on a q ring I felt it developed more resistance at this point. It seemed to work.
But what about short cranks? Interesting I have spent a while on 155, I always felt they were too short for my long legs, on the turbo sat up they were great as I could easily use cadence to balance out the shortness, I noticed my cadence would track at about 105, compared to 95 on 165s. But on the road I never fully got on with them when I was in TT mode, I felt the cadence was either too high, for my long legs to keep up with, or the load was too high, I felt the time on the downstroke was too short.
I switched back to 165 and wow what a difference, it was like I could effectively apply power. (It also seemed to change my aero quite a bit thanks to a saddle change but I'll not discuss that here!)
But to be honest I feel my performance was enhanced somewhat by the training on the short cranks, which seemed to have a benefit on my ability both to spin faster, AND apply down force.
I'm not sure if this is all in my head, but it felt this way.
Any thoughts on whether things such as short cranks could be utilised for this benefit?