Neuromuscular Fatigue After Long-Duration Adventure Racing in Adolescent Athletes

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Anthony Birat Université Clermont Auvergne
Fédération Française Triathlon

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Yoann M. Garnier Université Clermont Auvergne

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Pierre Bourdier Université Clermont Auvergne
Université de Strasbourg

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Alexis Dupuy Université Clermont Auvergne

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Alexandre Dodu Fédération Française Triathlon

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Claire Grossoeuvre Fédération Française Triathlon

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Anne-Charlotte Dupont Fédération Française Triathlon
Université de Lorraine

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Anthony J. Blazevich Edith Cowan University

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Mélanie Rance Centre de Ressources et d’Expertise de la Performance Sportive (CREPS)

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Claire Morel Centre de Ressources et d’Expertise de la Performance Sportive (CREPS)

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Stéphane Nottin Université Avignon

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Sébastien Ratel Université Clermont Auvergne

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Purpose: To characterize the acute effects of a long-duration adventure race on knee extensor (KE) fatigue and the knee functional ratio in adolescent athletes. Methods: Twenty trained male adolescents (aged 14–17 y) performed an adventure race of 68.5 km. Maximal voluntary isometric contraction (MVIC) KE and knee flexor torques were measured before and immediately after the race. Central and peripheral components of neuromuscular fatigue were quantified from the maximal voluntary activation level and the doublet peak torque (Tw100), respectively. The peak eccentric knee flexor torque to concentric KE torque ratio was also measured to determine functional ratio. Results: The race completion time was 05:38 (00:20) hours. Significant reductions in MVICKE (−14.7%, P < .001) and MVICKF (−17.0%, P < .01) were observed after the race. Voluntary activation level decreased by 8.3% (P < .001) while Tw100 remained unchanged. Peak eccentric knee flexor torque decreased 16.0% (P < .001) while peak concentric KE torque did not change. This resulted in a significant reduction in functional ratio (−12.0%, P < .01). Conclusion: The adventure race induced a moderate fatigue, which was mainly explained by central factors without significant peripheral fatigue. However, particular attention should be paid to the knee muscular imbalance incurred by the race, which could increase the risk of ligament injury in adolescent athletes.

Birat, Garnier, Bourdier, Dupuy, and Ratel are with the AME2P, Université Clermont Auvergne, Clermont-Ferrand, France. Birat, Dodu, Grossoeuvre, and Dupont are with the Fédération Française Triathlon, Saint Denis, France. Bourdier is also with the CNRS, IPHC UMR 7178, Université de Strasbourg, Strasbourg, France. Dupont is also with the Imagerie Adaptative Diagnostique et Interventionnelle, U1254 INSERM, CHRU de Nancy Brabois, Bâtiment Recherche, Université de Lorraine, Nancy, France. Blazevich is with the Centre for Exercise and Sports Science Research, School of Medical and Health Sciences, Edith Cowan University, Joondalup, WA, Australia. Rance and Morel are with the Centre de Ressources et d’Expertise de la Performance Sportive, Bellerive-sur-Allier, France. Nottin is with the Laboratoire de Pharm-Ecologie Cardiovasculaire, Université Avignon, Avignon, France.

Ratel (sebastien.ratel@uca.fr) is corresponding author.
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