The effect of glycogen availability on power output and the metabolic response to repeated bouts of maximal, isokinetic exercise in man

  • A. Casey
  • A. H. Short
  • S. Curtis
  • P. L. Greenhaff
Original Article


The relationship of glycogen availability to performance and blood metabolite accumulation during repeated bouts of maximal exercise was examined in 11 healthy males. Subjects performed four bouts of 30 s maximal, isokinetic cycling exercise at 100 rev · min−1, each bout being separated by 4 min of recovery. Four days later, all subjects cycled intermittently to exhaustion [mean (SEM) 106 (6) min] at 75% maximum oxygen uptake\(\dot VO_{2max} \) Subjects were then randomly assigned to an isoenergetic low-carbohydrate (CHO) diet [7.8 (0.6)% total energy intake,n = 6] or an isoenergetic high-CHO diet [81.5 (0.4)%,n = 5], for 3 days. On the following day, all subjects performed 30 min cycling at 75%\(\dot VO_{2max} \) and, after an interval of 2 h, repeated the four bouts of 30 s maximal exercise. No difference was seen when comparing total work production during each bout of exercise before and after a high-CHO diet. After a low-CHO diet, total work decreased from 449 (20) to 408 (31) J · kg−1 body mass in bout 1 (P < 0.05), from 372 (15) to 340 (18) J · kg−1 body mass in bout 2 (P < 0.05), and from 319 (12) to 306 (16) J · kgt-1 body mass in bout 3 (P < 0.05), but was unchanged in bout 4. Blood lactate and plasma ammonia accumulation during maximal exercise was lower after a low-CHO diet (P < 0.001), but unchanged after a high-CHO diet. In conclusion, muscle glycogen depletion impaired performance during the initial three, but not a fourth bout of maximal, isokinetic cycling exercise. Irrespective of glycogen availability, prolonged submaximal exercise appeared to have no direct effect on subsequent maximal exercise performance.

Key words

Carbohydrate Fatigue Ammonia Lactate 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Casey
    • 1
  • A. H. Short
    • 1
  • S. Curtis
    • 1
  • P. L. Greenhaff
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Physiology and PharmacologyUniversity of Nottingham Medical School, Queen's Medical CentreNottinghamUK

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