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European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 115, Issue 11, pp 2395–2405 | Cite as

Runners maintain locomotor–respiratory coupling following isocapnic voluntary hyperpnea to task failure

  • Abigail S. L. StickfordEmail author
  • Jonathon L. Stickford
  • David A. Tanner
  • Joel M. Stager
  • Robert F. Chapman
Original Article

Abstract

Introduction

Evidence has long suggested that mammalian ventilatory and locomotor rhythms are linked, yet determinants and implications of locomotor–respiratory coupling (LRC) continue to be investigated. Anecdotally, respiratory muscle fatigue seen at the end of heavy exercise may result in an uncoupling of movement–ventilation rhythms; however, there is no scientific evidence to substantiate this claim.

Purpose

We sought to determine whether or not fatigue of the respiratory muscles alters locomotor–respiratory coupling patterns typically observed in highly trained individuals while running. A related query was to examine the relationship between the potential changes in LRC and measures of running economy.

Method

Twelve male distance runners ran at four submaximal workloads (68–89 % \({\dot{V}}\)O2peak) on two separate days while LRC was quantified. One LRC trial served as a control (CON), while the other was performed following an isocapnic voluntary hyperpnea to task failure to induce respiratory muscle fatigue (FT+). LRC was assessed as stride-to-breathing frequency ratios (SF/fB) and degree of LRC (percentage of breaths occurring during the same decile of the step cycle).

Result

Hyperpnea resulted in significant declines in maximal voluntary inspiratory (MIP) and expiratory (MEP) mouth pressures (ΔMIP = −10 ± 12 cm H2O; ΔMEP = −6 ± 9 cm H2O). There were no differences in minute ventilation between CON and FT+ (CON, all speeds pooled = 104 ± 25 L min−1; FT+ pooled = 106 ± 23 L min−1). Stride frequency was not different between trials; however, breathing frequency was significantly greater during FT+ compared to CON at all speeds (CON pooled = 47 ± 10 br min−1; FT+ pooled = 52 ± 9 br min−1), resulting in smaller corresponding SF/fB. Yet, the degree of LRC was the same during CON and FT+ (CON pooled = 63 ± 15 %; FT+ pooled = 64 ± 18 %).

Conclusion

The results indicate that trained runners are able to continue entraining breath and step cycles, despite marked changes in exercise breathing frequency, after a fatiguing hyperpnea challenge.

Keywords

Entrainment Running economy Endurance athletes Respiratory muscle fatigue Stride frequency 

Abbreviations

BTPS

Body temperature and pressure, saturated

DYS

Rating of perceived dyspnea

fB

Breathing frequency

FECO2

Fraction of expired carbon dioxide

FEO2

Fraction of expired oxygen

FEV1

Forced expiratory volume in one second

FVC

Forced vital capacity

IVH

Isocapnic voluntary hyperpnea

LRC

Locomotor–respiratory coupling

MEP

Maximal volitional expiratory mouth pressure

MIP

Maximal volitional inspiratory mouth pressure

MVV

Maximal voluntary ventilation

RE

Running economy

RMF

Respiratory muscle fatigue

RPE

Rating of perceived exertion

RPM

Revolutions per minute

SF

Step frequency

STPD

Standard temperature and pressure, dry

\({\dot{V}}\)CO2

Volume of expired carbon dioxide

\({\dot{V}}\)E

Minute ventilation

\({\dot{V}}\)O2peak

Maximal rate of oxygen consumption

VT

Tidal volume

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors would like to thank Drs. Bruce Martin and David Koceja for their invaluable feedback on the project. This research was supported in part by an Indiana University School of Public Health Student Research Grant and a University Graduate School Grant-in-Aid of Doctoral Research.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Abigail S. L. Stickford
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jonathon L. Stickford
    • 1
  • David A. Tanner
    • 1
  • Joel M. Stager
    • 1
  • Robert F. Chapman
    • 1
  1. 1.Human Performance Laboratories, Department of KinesiologyIndiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA

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