Neuromuscular fatigue during repeated exhaustive submaximal static contractions of knee extensor muscles in endurance-trained, power-trained and untrained men

M Pääsuke, J Ereline, H Gapeyeva
Acta Physiologica Scandinavica 1999, 166 (4): 319-26
The neural and muscular changes during fatigue produced in repeated submaximal static contractions of knee extensors were measured. Three groups of differently adapted male subjects (power-trained, endurance-trained and untrained, 15 in each) performed the exercise that consisted of 10 trials of submaximal static contractions at the level of 40% of maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) force till exhaustion with the inter-trial rest intervals of 1 min. MVC force, reaction time and patellar reflex time components before and after the fatiguing exercise and following 5, 10 and 15 min of recovery were recorded. Endurance-trained athletes had a significantly longer holding times for all the 10 trials compared with power-trained athletes and untrained subjects. However, no significant differences in static endurance between power-trained athletes and untrained subjects were noted. The fatigue test significantly prolonged the time between onset of electrical and mechanical activity (electromechanical delay) in voluntary and reflex contractions. The electromechanical delay in voluntary contraction condition for power-trained and untrained subjects and in reflex condition for endurance-trained subjects had not recovered 15 min after cessation of exercise. No significant changes in the central component of visual reaction time (premotor time of MVC) and latency of patellar reflex were noted after fatiguing static exercise. It is concluded, that in this type of exercise the fatigue development may be largely owing to muscle contractile failure.

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