Stretch–shortening cycle exercise produces acute and prolonged impairments on endurance performance: is the peripheral fatigue a single answer?

  • Marcos D. Silva-Cavalcante
  • Patrícia Guimaraes Couto
  • Rafael de Almeida Azevedo
  • Arthur Fernandes Gáspari
  • Daniel Boari Coelho
  • Adriano Eduardo Lima-Silva
  • Romulo BertuzziEmail author
Original Article



This study aimed to verify the acute and prolonged effects of stretch–shortening cycle exercise (SSC) on performance and neuromuscular function following a 4-km cycling time trial (4-km TT).


On separate days, individuals performed a 4-km TT without any previous exercise (CON), immediately (ACUTE) and 48 h after (PROL) SSC protocol (i.e., 100-drop jumps). Neuromuscular function was measured at baseline SSC (baseline), before (pre-TT) and after (post-TT) 4-km TT. Muscle soreness and inflammatory responses also were assessed.


The endurance performance was impaired in both ACUTE (− 2.3 ± 1.8%) and PROL (− 1.8 ± 2.4%) compared with CON. The SSC protocol caused also an acute reduction in neuromuscular function, with a greater decrease in potentiated quadriceps twitch-force (Qtw.pot − 49 ± 16%) and voluntary activation (VA − 6.5 ± 7%) compared for CON and PROL at pre-TT. The neuromuscular function was fully recovered 48 h after SSC protocol. Muscle soreness and IL-10 were elevated only 48 h after SSC protocol. At post-TT, Qtw.pot remained lower in ACUTE (− 52 ± 14%) compared to CON (− 29 ± 7%) and PROL (− 31 ± 16%).


These findings demonstrate that impairment in endurance performance induced by prior SSC protocol was mediated by two distinct mechanisms, where the acute impairment was related to an exacerbated degree of peripheral and central fatigue, and the prolonged impairment was due to elevated perceived muscle soreness.


Inflammatory response Central fatigue Peripheral fatigue Muscle soreness Self-paced exercise 



Stretch–shortening cycle exercise

4-km TT

4-km cycling time trial


Peak power output


Electromyographic activity


Root mean square


Rating of perceived exertion


Voluntary activation


Maximal voluntary contraction force


Quadriceps potentiated twitch-force


Delayed onset muscle soreness


Creatine kinase


Lactate dehydrogenase


Interleukin-1 beta






Tumor necrosis factor-α



The authors thank the athletes for their participation in this study. Marcos D. Silva-Cavalcante and Patricia G. Couto are grateful to Coordination of Improvement of Personnel of Superior Level (CAPES) for PhD scholarships. Marcos D. Silva-Cavalcante also is grateful to CAPES for current Post Doctoral Fellowship (PNPD/CAPES). The English text of this paper has been revised by Sidney Pratt, Canadian, MAT (The Johns Hopkins University), RSAdip-TESL (Cambridge University).

Author contributions

Formulation of the idea and designed research by MDSC, RB and AELS; data collection by MDSC, PGC and RAA; data analysis and interpretation by MDSC, RB, AFG, AELS, PGC and RAA; preparation of the manuscript by MDSC, RB, AFG, AELS, PGC and RAA; edition and revision by MDSC, RB, AFG, AELS, PGC and RAA. All authors have read and give final approval of this version of the manuscript for publication.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marcos D. Silva-Cavalcante
    • 1
    • 2
  • Patrícia Guimaraes Couto
    • 1
  • Rafael de Almeida Azevedo
    • 1
  • Arthur Fernandes Gáspari
    • 1
  • Daniel Boari Coelho
    • 3
  • Adriano Eduardo Lima-Silva
    • 2
    • 4
  • Romulo Bertuzzi
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Endurance Sports Research Group (GEDAE-USP), Department of Sport, School of Physical Education and SportUniversity of São PauloSão PauloBrazil
  2. 2.Sport Science Research Group (GPCE), Post-graduation Program Nutrition, Physical Activity and Phenotypic Plasticity, Academic Center of VitoriaFederal University of PernambucoVitoria de Santo AntãoBrazil
  3. 3.Center of Engineering, Modeling and Applied Social ScienceFederal University of ABCSão PauloBrazil
  4. 4.Human Performance Research Group, Academic Department of Physical EducationTechnological Federal University of ParanaCuritibaBrazil

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