A metabolic basis for impaired muscle force production and neuromuscular compensation during sprint cycling

Matthew W. Bundle, Carrie L. Ernst, Matthew J. Bellizzi, Seth Wright, Peter G. Weyand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

For both different individuals and modes of locomotion, the external forces determining all-out sprinting performances fall predictably with effort duration from the burst maximums attained for 3 s to those that can be supported aerobically as trial durations extend to roughly 300 s. The common time course of this relationship suggests a metabolic basis for the decrements in the force applied to the environment. However, the mechanical and neuromuscular responses to impaired force production (i.e., muscle fatigue) are generally considered in relation to fractions of the maximum force available, or the maximum voluntary contraction (MVC). We hypothesized that these duration-dependent decrements in external force application result from a reliance on anaerobic metabolism for force production rather than the absolute force produced. We tested this idea by examining neuromuscular activity during two modes of sprint cycling with similar external force requirements but differing aerobic and anaerobic contributions to force production: one- and two-legged cycling. In agreement with previous studies, we found greater peak per leg aerobic metabolic rates [59% (±6 SD)] and pedal forces at V̇O2 peak [30% (±9)] during one- vs. two-legged cycling. We also determined downstroke pedal forces and neuromuscular activity by surface electromyography during 15 to 19 all-out constant load sprints lasting from 12 to 400 s for both modes of cycling. In support of our hypothesis, we found that the greater reliance on anaerobic metabolism for force production induced compensatory muscle recruitment at lower pedal forces during twovs. one-legged sprint cycling. We conclude that impaired muscle force production and compensatory neuromuscular activity during sprinting are triggered by a reliance on anaerobic metabolism for force production.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)R1457-R1464
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Volume291
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 2006

Keywords

  • Aerobic and anaerobic contributions
  • Motor control
  • Performance

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