In a prospective study of acupuncture and athletic performance, twenty male cyclists aged 18 to 30, rode a stationary bike three times a week for 20 km as fast as possible. Before each ride, they were given either acupuncture, sham acupuncture as a control, or no intervention, once each and in a random order.
Cyclists receiving acupuncture before their ride, achieved greater levels of exertion and faster cycling times, and experienced less pain.
(The Acute Effect of Acupuncture on 20km Cycling Performance. Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine, January 2008.)