We investigated the consequence of varying hypoxia severity during an initial set of repeated cycling sprints on performance, neuromuscular fatigability, and exercise-related sensations during a subsequent set of repeated sprints in normoxia.
Nine active males performed ten 4-s sprints (recovery = 30 s) at sea level (SL; FiO2 ~ 0.21), moderate (MH; FiO2 ~ 0.17) or severe normobaric hypoxia (SH; FiO2 ~ 0.13). This was followed, after 8 min of passive recovery, by five 4-s sprints (recovery = 30 s) in normoxia.
Mean power decrement during Sprint 10 was exacerbated in SH compared to SL and MH (− 34 ± 12%, − 22 ± 13%, − 25 ± 14%, respectively, p < 0.05). Sprint performance during Sprint 11 recovered to that of Sprint 1 in all conditions (p = 0.267). All exercise-related sensations at Sprint 11 recovered significantly compared to Sprint 1, with no difference for Set 2 (p > 0.05). Ratings of overall perceived discomfort, difficulty breathing, and limb discomfort were exacerbated during Set 1 in SH versus SL (p < 0.05). Compared to SL, the averaged MPO value for Set 2 was 5.5 ± 3.0% (p = 0.003) lower in SH. Maximal voluntary force and twitch torque decreased similarly in all conditions immediately after Set 1 (p < 0.05), without further alterations after Set 2. Peripheral and cortical voluntary activation values did not change (p > 0.05).
Exercise-related sensations, rather than neuromuscular function integrity, may play a pivotal role in influencing performance of repeated sprints and its recovery.
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- FiO2 :
Fraction of inspired oxygen
Mean power output
Maximal voluntary contraction
Peripheral motor nerve
Root mean square
- SpO2 :
Arterial oxygen saturation
Transcranial magnetic stimulation
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The authors thank all the subjects for their participation in this study.
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The authors have no conflict of interest to disclose.
Communicated by Guido Ferretti.
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Soo, J., Billaut, F., Bishop, D.J. et al. Neuromuscular and perceptual responses during repeated cycling sprints—usefulness of a “hypoxic to normoxic” recovery approach. Eur J Appl Physiol 120, 883–896 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-020-04327-3