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Eur J Appl Physiol. 2010 Aug;109(6):1027-36. doi: 10.1007/s00421-010-1445-3. Epub 2010 Apr 1.

Neural and muscular adjustments following repeated running sprints.

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Laboratoire EA 2991 Efficience et Déficience Motrices, UFR STAPS, Faculté des Sciences du Sports, Université Montpellier 1, 700 Avenue du Pic Saint Loup, 34090, Montpellier, France.


This study aimed to reveal the neural and muscular adjustments following a repeated-sprint (RS) running exercise. Sixteen subjects performed a series of neuromuscular tests before, immediately after and 30 min (passive recovery) post-RS exercise (12 x 40 m sprints interspaced by 30 s of passive recovery). Sprint times significantly lengthened over repetitions (+17% from the first to the last sprint; P < 0.05). After RS running exercise, maximal voluntary contraction torque of the plantar flexors (-11 +/- 7.3%), muscle activation (twitch interpolation) (-2.7 +/- 3.4%) and soleus maximal M-wave amplitude (-20 +/- 17%) were significantly (P < 0.05) reduced but returned close to baseline after 30 min. Both soleus EMG activity and maximal Hoffmann reflex normalized with respect to M-wave amplitude did not change during the whole experiment. From pre- to post-RS exercise, evoked twitch response was characterized by lower peak torque and maximal rate of torque development (-13 and -11%, respectively, P < 0.05), but was not different from baseline after recovery. Peak tetanus at 20 and 80 Hz were 17 and 8% lower (P < 0.05) in the fatigued state, respectively. Acute muscle fatigue induced by RS running exercise is mainly peripheral as the short-term (30 min) recovery pattern of plantar flexors contractile properties follows that of the voluntary force-generating capacity.

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