, Volume 112, Issue 7, pp 2645-2652

Effects of a 5-h hilly running on ankle plantar and dorsal flexor force and fatigability

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This study aimed to examine the effects of a 5-h hilly run on ankle plantar (PF) and dorsal flexor (DF) force and fatigability. It was hypothesised that DF fatigue/fatigability would be greater than PF fatigue/fatigability. Eight male trail long distance runners (42.5 ± 5.9 years) were tested for ankle PF and DF maximal voluntary isokinetic contraction strength and fatigue resistance tests (percent decrement score), maximal voluntary and electrically evoked isometric contraction strength before and after the run. Maximal EMG root mean square (RMSmax) and mean power frequency (MPF) values of the tibialis anterior (TA), gastrocnemius lateralis (GL) and soleus (SOL) EMG activity were calculated. The peak torque of the potentiated high- and low-frequency doublets and the ratio of paired stimulation peak torques at 10 Hz over 100 Hz (Db10:100) were analysed for PF. Maximal voluntary isometric contraction strength of PF decreased from pre- to post-run (−17.0 ± 6.2%; P < 0.05), but no significant decrease was evident for DF (−7.9 ± 6.2%). Maximal voluntary isokinetic contraction strength and fatigue resistance remained unchanged for both PF and DF. RMSmax SOL during maximal voluntary isometric contraction and RMSmax TA during maximal voluntary isokinetic contraction were decreased (P < 0.05) after the run. For MPF, a significant decrease for TA (P < 0.05) was found and the ratio Db10:100 decreased for PF (−6.5 ± 6.0%; P < 0.05). In conclusion, significant isometric strength loss was only detected for PF after a 5-h hilly run and was partly due to low-frequency fatigue. This study contradicted the hypothesis that neuromuscular alterations due to prolonged hilly running are predominant for DF.

Communicated by Jean-René Lacour.