Journal Article

Endurance capacity and neuromuscular fatigue following high vs moderate-intensity endurance training: a randomised trial


High-intensity exercise induces significant central and peripheral fatigue, however the effect of endurance training on these mechanisms of fatigue is poorly understood. We compared the effect of cycling endurance training of disparate intensities on high-intensity exercise endurance capacity and the associated limiting central and peripheral fatigue mechanisms. Twenty adults were randomly assigned to 6 weeks of either high-intensity interval training (HIIT, 6-8 × 5 min at halfway between lactate threshold and maximal oxygen uptake [50%Δ]) or volume matched moderate-intensity continuous training (CONT, ~60-80 min at 90% lactate threshold). Two time to exhaustion (TTE) trials at 50%Δ were completed pre- and post-training to assess endurance capacity; the two post-training trials were completed at the pre-training 50%Δ (same absolute intensity) and the ‘new’ post-training 50%Δ (same relative intensity). Pre- and post-exercise responses to femoral nerve and motor cortex stimulation were examined to determine peripheral and central fatigue, respectively. HIIT resulted in greater increases in TTE at the same absolute and relative intensities as pre-training (148% and 43%, respectively) compared with CONT (38% and −4%, respectively). Compared with pre-training, HIIT increased the level of potentiated quadriceps twitch reduction (−34% vs −43%, respectively) and attenuated the level of voluntary activation reduction (−7% vs −3%, respectively) following the TTE trial at the same relative intensity. There were no other training effects on neuromuscular fatigue development. This suggests that central fatigue resistance contributes to enhanced high-intensity exercise endurance capacity after HIIT by allowing greater performance to be extruded from the muscle.

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O'Leary, T
Collett, J
Howells, K
Morris, M

Oxford Brookes departments

Faculty of Health and Life Sciences\Department of Sport and Health Sciences


Year of publication: 2017
Date of RADAR deposit: 2017-02-15

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License

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