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Effects of fatigue and sprint training on electromechanical delay of knee extensor muscles

Abstract

Electromechanical delay (EMD) of knee extensors in isometric contraction was investigated in six healthy men before and after four periods of 30-s all-out sprint cycling exercise, conducted pre and post a 7-week sprint cycling training programme. The EMD was lengthened from 40.4 (SEM 3.46) ms at rest to 63.4 (SEM 7.80) ms after the fatiguing exercise (P ≤ 0.05) in the pre-training test. During maximal voluntary contractions (MVC) conducted after the fatiguing exercise, the peak contraction force (F peak) and peak rate of force development (RFDpeak) were reduced by 51%–56% and 38%–50%, respectively (both P ≤ 0.05). The mechanisms of EMD lengthening during fatigue could have been due to the deterioration in muscle conductive, contractile or elastic properties and require further study. The training programme increased the total work performed during the four periods of sprint exercise (P ≤ 0.05). However, no significant training effects were found in the resting or postexercise EMD, F peak and RFDpeak during isometric MVC. These unchanged isometric contraction variables but enhanced dynamic performance suggest that isometric tests of muscle are insensitive to the neuromuscular adaptations to sprint training.

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Correspondence to Shi Zhou.

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Zhou, S., McKenna, M.J., Lawson, D.L. et al. Effects of fatigue and sprint training on electromechanical delay of knee extensor muscles. Eur J Appl Physiol 72, 410–416 (1996). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00242269

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Key words

  • Electromechanical delay
  • Sprint training
  • Fatigue
  • Isometric contraction
  • Knee extensor