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Eur J Appl Physiol. 2003 Feb;88(6):527-34. Epub 2002 Nov 27.

Exhausting stretch-shortening cycle (SSC) exercise causes greater impairment in SSC performance than in pure concentric performance.

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Neuromuscular Research Center, Department of Biology of Physical Activity, University of Jyväskylä, Finland.


The purpose of the present study was to investigate the fatigue effect of repeated exhaustive stretch-shortening cycle (SSC) exercise on concentric muscle function. Ten healthy male subjects performed SSC exercise [92 (30) jumps] on a special sledge apparatus. Exhaustion occurred on average within 3 min. A squat jump (SJ) test utilizing a concentric-only action was performed immediately before and after the SSC exercise, and then 10 min, 20 min, 2 days and 4 days later. In addition, a drop jump (DJ) test using an SSC was also performed immediately before and 20 min after the SSC exercise, and 2 days and 4 days later. During jump tests, lower limb joint moment, power, and work contributions were analyzed by using the kinetic and kinematic data. The fatigue exercise was characterized by a relatively high blood lactate concentration [7.2 (0.8) mmol x l(-1)] and a 2-day delayed increase in serum creatine kinase activity [486 (300) U x l(-1)]. SJ performance decreased markedly immediately after the SSC exercise (P<0.05) and then recovered within 10 min. In contrast, DJ performance and knee joint contribution showed a delayed decrease 2 days after the SSC exercise bout. The surface electromyographic (EMG) activity of the lower limb muscles showed no obvious change in the SJ in comparison to the DJ, although in the latter there was a delayed decrease of knee extensor EMG during the pre-activation and braking phases. The results suggest that isolated concentric muscle function is affected mainly by acute metabolic fatigue after SSC exercise. During a follow-up period after the exercise, changes in hip and knee joint contribution in SJ showed a different recovery pattern compared to those in eccentric DJ. It could be suggested that exhaustive SSC exercise would mainly influence the relative power-work balance between the hip and knee joints during the eccentric phase of SSC. Thus different motor control strategies may account for the distinctive fatigue responses observed in SJ and DJ.

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