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Time course of mechanical and neuromuscular characteristics of cyclists and triathletes during a fatiguing exercise

F Garrandes, S S Colson, M Pensini, P Legros
International Journal of Sports Medicine 2007, 28 (2): 148-56
17024624
This study examined the impact of sport specificity on the time course of fatigue during maximal voluntary eccentric, concentric and isometric torque production following a submaximal isokinetic fatiguing exercise. Seven cyclists and seven triathletes performed a fatiguing exercise consisting of nine sets of 31 isokinetic concentric knee extensions at 1.05 rad . s (-1). Fatigue was assessed pre-exercise, after three and six sets, and post-exercise. The maximal knee extension torque associated with electromyographic (EMG) activity was recorded during voluntary contractions and electrically induced contractions (single and paired twitches). The maximal voluntary eccentric torque production declined in cyclists (18 +/- 3.5 %, p < 0.05) and was not significantly affected in triathletes (5 +/- 2.5 %, p > 0.05). The decrease in cyclists was associated with an increase in the sum of the normalized EMG (nRMS) values of the three agonist muscles (p < 0.01). Although no significant difference was observed between groups, the two-way repeated-measure analysis of variance revealed a time effect on maximal concentric and isometric torque, twitch contractile and electrophysiological response (M (max)) properties. No modification in the activation and coactivation levels was observed. In conclusion, these results indicate that the time course of fatigue, especially during eccentric contractions, is mediated by sport-specific adaptations likely due to the mode of muscle contraction used in the activity.

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