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J. Mark Davis

The mechanisms of central fatigue are largely unexplored, but the central fatigue hypothesis suggests that increased brain serotonin (5-HT) can cause a deterioration in sport and exercise performance. There is now convincing evidence that exercise-induced increases in the plasma free tryptophan (f-TRP)/branched-chain amino acids (BCCA) ratio are associated with increased brain 5-HT and the onset of fatigue during prolonged exercise. Furthermore, when drugs are administered to alter brain 5-HT, they have the predicted effects on exercise performance. The influence of nutritional manipulations of f-TRP/BCCA on performance is less well established. The effects of BCCA supplementation on exercise performance are mixed, and the published studies often suffer from methodological flaws. Alternatively, dramatic reductions in f-TRP/BCCA and enhanced performance accompany carbohydrate feedings during prolonged exercise. However, it is difficult to distinguish between the effects of carbohydrate feedings on mechanisms that reside in the brain versus the muscles themselves.

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Katja Tomazin, Jean-Benoit Morin and Guillaume Y. Millet

Purpose:

To compare neuromuscular fatigue induced by repeated-sprint running vs cycling.

Methods:

Eleven active male participants performed 2 repeated-maximal-sprint protocols (5×6 s, 24-s rest periods, 4 sets, 3 min between sets), 1 in running (treadmill) and 1 in cycling (cycle ergometer). Neuromuscular function, evaluated before (PRE); 30 s after the first (S1), the second (S2), and the last set (LAST); and 5 min after the last set (POST5) determined the knee-extensor maximal voluntary torque (MVC); voluntary activation (VA); single-twitch (Tw), high- (Db100), and low- (Db10) frequency torque; and maximal muscle compound action potential (M-wave) amplitude and duration of vastus lateralis.

Results:

Peak power output decreased from 14.6 ± 2.2 to 12.4 ± 2.5 W/kg in cycling (P < .01) and from 21.4 ± 2.6 to 15.2 ± 2.6 W/kg in running (P < .001). MVC declined significantly from S1 in running but only from LAST in cycling. VA decreased after S2 (~–7%, P < .05) and LAST (~–9%, P < .01) set in repeated-sprint running and did not change in cycling. Tw, Db100, and Db10/Db100 decreased to a similar extent in both protocols (all P < .001 post-LAST). Both protocols induced a similar level of peripheral fatigue (ie, low-frequency peripheral fatigue, no changes in M-wave characteristics), while underlying mechanisms probably differed. Central fatigue was found only after running.

Conclusion:

Findings about neuromuscular fatigue resulting from RS cycling cannot be transferred to RS running.

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Romain Meeusen and Phil Watson

It is clear that the cause of fatigue is complex, infuenced by both events occurring in the periphery and the central nervous system (CNS). It has been suggested that exercise-induced changes in serotonin (5-HT), dopamine (DA), and noradrenaline (NA) concentrations contribute to the onset of fatigue during prolonged exercise. Serotonin has been linked to fatigue because of its documented role in sleep, feelings of lethargy and drowsiness, and loss of motivation, whereas increased DA and NA neurotransmission favors feelings of motivation, arousal, and reward. 5-HT has been shown to increase during acute exercise in running rats and to remain high at the point of fatigue. DA release is also elevated during exercise but appears to fall at exhaustion, a response that may be important in the fatigue process. The rates of 5-HT and DA/NA synthesis largely depend on the peripheral availability of the amino acids tryptophan (TRP) and tyrosine (TYR), with increased brain delivery increasing serotonergic and DA/NA activity, respectively. TRP, TYR, and the branched-chained amino acids (BCAAs) use the same transporter to pass through the blood-brain barrier, meaning that the plasma concentration ratio of these amino acids is thought to be a very important marker of neurotransmitter synthesis. Pharmacological manipulation of these neurotransmitter systems has provided support for an important role of the CNS in the development of fatigue. Work conducted over the last 20 y has focused on the possibility that manipulation of neurotransmitter precursors may delay the onset of fatigue. Although there is evidence that BCAA (to limit 5-HT synthesis) and TYR (to elevate brain DA/NA) ingestion can influence perceived exertion and some measures of mental performance, the results of several apparently well-controlled laboratory studies have yet to demonstrate a clear positive effect on exercise capacity or performance. There is good evidence that brain neurotransmitters can play a role in the development of fatigue during prolonged exercise, but nutritional manipulation of these systems through the provision of amino acids has proven largely unsuccessful.

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Pedro L. Valenzuela, Carlos Amo, Guillermo Sánchez-Martínez, Elaia Torrontegi, Javier Vázquez-Carrión, Zigor Montalvo, Alejandro Lucia and Pedro de la Villa

-paced exercise is duration-dependent. Thomas et al 29 observed a greater and lower peripheral and central fatigue, respectively, with short-duration cycling exercise (∼6 min) than with more prolonged bouts (>30 min). Thus, we hypothesize that tDCS could provide greater benefits on those exercise tasks where

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Inge K. Stoter, Brian R. MacIntosh, Jared R. Fletcher, Spencer Pootz, Inge Zijdewind and Florentina J. Hettinga

Purpose:

To evaluate pacing behavior and peripheral and central contributions to muscle fatigue in 1500-m speed-skating and cycling time trials when a faster or slower start is instructed.

Methods:

Nine speed skaters and 9 cyclists, all competing at regional or national level, performed two 1500-m time trials in their sport. Athletes were instructed to start faster than usual in 1 trial and slower in the other. Mean velocity was measured per 100 m. Blood lactate concentrations were measured. Maximal voluntary contraction (MVC), voluntary activation (VA), and potentiated twitch (PT) of the quadriceps muscles were measured to estimate central and peripheral contributions to muscle fatigue. In speed skating, knee, hip, and trunk angles were measured to evaluate technique.

Results:

Cyclists showed a more explosive start than speed skaters in the fast-start time trial (cyclists performed first 300 m in 24.70 ± 1.73 s, speed skaters in 26.18 ± 0.79 s). Both trials resulted in reduced MVC (12.0% ± 14.5%), VA (2.4% ± 5.0%), and PT (25.4% ± 15.2%). Blood lactate concentrations after the time trial and the decrease in PT were greater in the fast-start than in the slow-start trial. Speed skaters showed higher trunk angles in the fast-start than in the slow-start trial, while knee angles remained similar.

Conclusions:

Despite similar instructions, behavioral adaptations in pacing differed between the 2 sports, resulting in equal central and peripheral contributions to muscle fatigue in both sports. This provides evidence for the importance of neurophysiological aspects in the regulation of pacing. It also stresses the notion that optimal pacing needs to be studied sport specifically, and coaches should be aware of this.

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Tom R. Eaton, Aaron Potter, François Billaut, Derek Panchuk, David B. Pyne, Christopher J. Gore, Ting-Ting Chen, Leon McQuade and Nigel K. Stepto

Heat and hypoxia exacerbate central nervous system (CNS) fatigue. We therefore investigated whether essential amino acid (EAA) and caffeine ingestion attenuates CNS fatigue in a simulated team sport–specific running protocol in a hot, hypoxic environment. Subelite male team sport athletes (n = 8) performed a repeat sprint running protocol on a nonmotorized treadmill in an extreme environment on 4 separate occasions. Participants ingested one of four supplements: a double placebo, 3 mg.kg-1 body mass of caffeine + placebo, 2 × 7 g EAA (Musashi Create)+placebo, or caffeine + EAA before each exercise session using a randomized, double-blind crossover design. Electromyography (EMG) activity and quadriceps evoked responses to magnetic stimulation were assessed from the dominant leg at preexercise, halftime, and postexercise. Central activation ratio (CAR) was used to quantify completeness of quadriceps activation. Oxygenation of the prefrontal cortex was measured via near-infrared spectroscopy. Mean sprint work was higher (M = 174 J, 95% CI [23, 324], p < .05, d = 0.30; effect size, likely beneficial) in the caffeine + EAA condition versus EAAs alone. The decline in EMG activity was less (M = 13%, 95% CI [0, 26]; p < .01, d = 0.58, likely beneficial) in caffeine + EAA versus EAA alone. Similarly, the pre- to postexercise decrement in CAR was significantly less (M = −2.7%, 95% CI [0.4, 5.4]; p < .05, d = 0.50, likely beneficial) when caffeine + EAA were ingested compared with placebo. Cerebral oxygenation was lower (M = −5.6%, 95% CI [1.0, 10.1]; p < .01, d = 0.60, very likely beneficial) in the caffeine + EAA condition compared with LNAA alone. Coingestion of caffeine and EAA appears to maintain muscle activation and central drive, with a small improvement in running performance.

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Federico Schena, Barbara Pellegrini, Cantor Tarperi, Elisa Calabria, Gian Luca Salvagno and Carlo Capelli

The effect of a prolonged running trial on the energy cost of running (C r) during a 60-km ultramarathon simulation at the pace of a 100-km competition was investigated in 13 men (40.8 ± 5.6 y, 70.7 ± 5.5 kg, 177.5 ± 4.5 cm) and 5 women (40.4 ± 2.3 y, 53.7 ± 4.4 kg, 162.4 ± 4.8 cm) who participated in a 60-km trial consisting of 3 consecutive 20-km laps. Oxygen uptake (VO2) at steady state was determined at constant speed before the test and at the end of each lap; stride length (SL) and frequency and contact time were measured at the same time points; serum creatine kinase (S-CPK) was measured before and at the end of the test. C r in J · kg−1 · m−1, as calculated from VO2ss and respiratory-exchange ratio, did not increase with distance. SL significantly decreased with distance. The net increase in S-CPK was linearly related with the percentage increase of C r observed during the trial. It is concluded that, in spite of increased S-CPK, this effort was not able to elicit any peripheral or central fatigue or biomechanical adaptation leading to any modification of C r.

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Michael J. Saunders

Endurance athletes commonly consume carbohydrate-electrolyte sports beverages during prolonged events. The benefits of this strategy are numerous—sports-beverage consumption during exercise can delay dehydration, maintain blood glucose levels, and potentially attenuate muscle glycogen depletion and central fatigue. Thus, it is generally agreed that carbohydrate-electrolyte beverages can improve endurance performance. A controversy has recently emerged regarding the potential role of protein in sports beverages. At least 3 recent studies have reported that carbohydrate-protein ingestion improves endurance performance to a greater extent than carbohydrate alone. In addition, carbohydrate-protein ingestion has been associated with reductions in markers of muscle damage and improved post exercise recovery. Although many of these muscle damage and recovery studies examined post exercise nutritional intake, recent evidence suggests that these benefits may be elicited with carbohydrate-protein consumption during exercise. These findings are intriguing and suggest that the importance of protein for endurance athletes has been underappreciated. However, 2 studies recently reported no differences in endurance performance between carbohydrate and carbohydrate-protein beverages. The varied outcomes may have been influenced by a number of methodological differences, including the amounts and types of carbohydrate or protein in the beverages, the exercise protocols, and the relative statistical power of the studies. In addition, although there are plausible mechanisms that could explain the ergogenic effects of carbohydrate-protein beverages, they remain relatively untested. This review examines the existing research regarding the efficacy of carbohydrate-protein consumption during endurance exercise. Limitations of the existing research are addressed, as well as potential areas for future study.

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Romain Meeusen and Lieselot Decroix

, coordination, reaction time, and other cognitive tasks can be essential during several sports, including team sports. However, fatigue does not only occur at the peripheral level, but “centralfatigue or “mental” fatigue exist, involving brain mechanisms. Cognitive function plays an important role in athletic

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Takeshi Kokubo, Yuta Komano, Ryohei Tsuji, Daisuke Fujiwara, Toshio Fujii and Osamu Kanauchi

(muscle exhaustion) and modification to the central nerve system (central fatigue; Clark & Mach, 2016 ). Several probiotics improve immune function and decrease URTI symptoms in healthy adults ( Berggren et al., 2011 ; de Vrese et al., 2005 ); however, their potency, although promising in athletes