Locomotor muscle fatigue increases cardiorespiratory responses and reduces performance during intense cycling exercise independently from metabolic stress

Samuele M Marcora, Andrea Bosio, Helma M de Morree
American Journal of Physiology. Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology 2008, 294 (3): R874-83
Locomotor muscle fatigue, defined as an exercise-induced reduction in maximal voluntary force, occurs during prolonged exercise, but its effects on cardiorespiratory responses and exercise performance are unknown. In this investigation, a significant reduction in locomotor muscle force (-18%, P < 0.05) was isolated from the metabolic stress usually associated with fatiguing exercise using a 100-drop-jumps protocol consisting of one jump every 20 s from a 40-cm-high platform. The effect of this treatment on time to exhaustion during high-intensity constant-power cycling was measured in study 1 (n = 10). In study 2 (n = 14), test duration (871 +/- 280 s) was matched between fatigue and control condition (rest). In study 1, locomotor muscle fatigue caused a significant curtailment in time to exhaustion (636 +/- 278 s) compared with control (750 +/- 281 s) (P = 0.003) and increased cardiac output. Breathing frequency was significantly higher in the fatigue condition in both studies despite similar oxygen consumption and blood lactate accumulation. In study 2, high-intensity cycling did not induce further fatigue to eccentrically-fatigued locomotor muscles. In both studies, there was a significant increase in heart rate in the fatigue condition, and perceived exertion was significantly increased in study 2 compared with control. These results suggest that locomotor muscle fatigue has a significant influence on cardiorespiratory responses and exercise performance during high-intensity cycling independently from metabolic stress. These effects seem to be mediated by the increased central motor command and perception of effort required to exercise with weaker locomotor muscles.

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