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Chronobiol Int. 2013 May;30(4):486-501. doi: 10.3109/07420528.2012.741174. Epub 2013 Jan 2.

Does raising morning rectal temperature to evening levels offset the diurnal variation in muscle force production?

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Research Institute for Sport and Exercise Sciences, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool, UK.


Muscle force production and power output in active males, regardless of the site of measurement (hand, leg, or back), are higher in the evening than in the morning. This diurnal variation is attributed to motivational, peripheral and central factors, and higher core and, possibly, muscle temperatures in the evening. This study investigated whether increasing morning rectal temperatures to evening resting values, by active or passive warm-ups, leads to muscle force production and power output becoming equal to evening values in motivated subjects. Ten healthy active males (mean ± SD: age, 21.2 ± 1.9 yrs; body mass, 75.4 ± 8 kg; height, 1.76 ± .06 m) completed the study, which was approved by the University Ethics Committee. The subjects were familiarized with the techniques and protocol and then completed four sessions (separated by at least 48 h): control morning (07:30 h) and evening (17:30 h) sessions (with an active 5-min warm-up) and then two further sessions at 07:30 h but proceeded by an extended active or passive warm-up to raise rectal temperature to evening values. These last two sessions were counterbalanced in order of administration. During each trial, three measures of handgrip strength, isokinetic leg strength measurements (of knee flexion and extension at 1.05 and 4.19 rad.s(-1) through a 90° range of motion), and four measures of maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) on an isometric ergometer (utilizing the twitch-interpolation technique) were performed. Rectal and intra-aural temperatures, ratings of perceived exertion (RPE) and thermal comfort (TC) were measured. Measurements were made after the subjects had reclined for 30 min and after the warm-ups and prior to the measurement of handgrip and isokinetic and isometric ergometry. Muscle temperature was taken after the warm-up and immediately before the isokinetic and MVC measurements. Warm-ups were either active (cycle ergometer at 150 W) or passive (resting in a room at 35 °C, relative humidity 45%). Data were analyzed using analysis of variance models with repeated measures. Rectal and intra-aural temperatures were higher at rest in the evening (.56 °C and .74 °C; p < .05) than in the morning, but there were no differences after the active or passive warm-ups, the subjects' ratings of thermal comfort reflecting this. Muscle temperatures also displayed significant diurnal variation, with higher values in the evening (~.31 °C; p < .05). Grip strength, isokinetic knee flexion for peak torque and peak power at 1.05 rad.s(-1), and knee extension for peak torque at 4.19 rad.s(-1) all showed higher values in the evening. All other measures of strength or power showed a trend to be higher in the evening ( .10 > p > .05). There was no significant effect of active or passive warm-ups on any strength or power variable, and subjects reported maximal values for effort for each strength measure. In summary, effects of time of day were seen in some measures of muscle performance but, in this population of motivated subjects, there was no evidence that increasing morning rectal temperature to evening values by active or passive warm-up increased muscle strength to evening values.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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