European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 89, Issue 6, pp 587–594 | Cite as

The effect of prolonged submaximal exercise on gas exchange kinetics and ventilation during heavy exercise in humans

  • Stephane Perrey
  • Robin Candau
  • Jean-Denis Rouillon
  • Richard L. HughsonEmail author
Original Article


This study compared ventilation, gas exchange (oxygen uptake,O2) and the surface electromyogram (EMG) activity of four major lower limb muscles during heavy exercise before (Pre-Ex) and after (Post-Ex) a sustained 90-min cycling exercise at 60%O2peak. The 90-min exercise was incorporated under the hypothesis that sustained exercise would alter substrate availability in the second exercise bout causing differences in fibre recruitment patterns, gas exchange and ventilation. Nine trained male subjects [O2peak=60.2 (1.7) ml·kg−1·min−1] completed two identical 6-min bouts of cycling performed at high intensity [~90%O2peak; 307 (6) W, mean (SE)]. Ventilation and gas exchange were measured breath-by-breath and the EMG was recorded during the last 12 s of each minute of the two 6-min bouts. EMG signals were analysed to determine integrated EMG (iEMG) and mean power frequency (MPF).O2 at min 3 and min 6 in Post-Ex were significantly higher (i.e., +201 and 141 ml·min−1, respectively, P<0.05) than in Pre-Ex but there was a ~25% decrease of the slow component, taken as the difference between min 6 and min 3 [187 (27) vs 249 (35) ml·min−1, respectively, P<0.05]. The greater whole-bodyO2 after 3 min of exercise in Post-Ex was not accompanied by clear alterations in the iEMG and MPF of the examined leg muscles. Ventilation and heart rate were elevated (~12–16 l·min−1 and ~10 beats·min−1, respectively, P<0.05) as were the ratiosE/O2 andE/CO2 in the Post-Ex tests. It was concluded that theO2 and ventilation responses to high-intensity exercise can be altered following prolonged moderate intensity exercise in terms of increased amplitude without associated major changes in either iEMG or MPF values among conditions.


O2 slow component Muscle fatigue High-intensity cycling Surface electromyography Prior moderate-intensity exercise 



Special thanks are given to the subjects for their participation and to Jason Myers for his assistance in this experiment. This study was supported by a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) grant. Stephane Perrey was supported by a grant from the Franche Comté regional council in France.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephane Perrey
    • 1
  • Robin Candau
    • 1
  • Jean-Denis Rouillon
    • 2
  • Richard L. Hughson
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Faculté des Sciences du SportUniversité de MontpellierMontpellier cedexFrance
  2. 2.Laboratoire des Sciences du Sport Besançon cedexFrance
  3. 3.Department of KinesiologyUniversity of WaterlooWaterlooCanada

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