Effect of Neuromuscular Fatigue Mechanisms on Exercise Performance

A special issue of Sports (ISSN 2075-4663).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 March 2024) | Viewed by 13548

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Essex, Colchester CO4 3SQ, UK
Interests: neuromuscular fatigue; central fatigue; peripheral fatigue; EMG; force control; force steadiness; variability; complexity

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Essex, Colchester CO4 3SQ, UK
Interests: neuromuscular fatigue; central fatigue; peripheral fatigue; EMG; TMS; corticospinal; dance; cricket

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Sustained exercise leads to a transiently reduced capacity to generate voluntary force, termed neuromuscular fatigue. A variety of mechanisms, both central and peripheral, contribute to neuromuscular fatigue, with much previous research focusing on elucidating its varying underlying mechanisms. Such research has demonstrated that the mechanistic basis of neuromuscular fatigue is task-dependent (relating to the intensity and duration of a task) and differs depending on the sex and age of participants. Consequently, a major area of interest for researchers and practitioners alike is the influence of various fatigue mechanisms on exercise performance. Moreover, given the vastly differing physical requirements of sports, a range of fatigue mechanisms have the capacity to influence other aspects of performance, including controlling force and maintaining balance.

This Special Issue aims to gain further insight into the effect different neuromuscular fatigue mechanisms exert on various aspects of exercise performance and sports.

Dr. James Pethick
Dr. Jamie Tallent
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • neuromuscular fatigue
  • central fatigue
  • peripheral fatigue
  • strength
  • power
  • endurance
  • exercise performance

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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11 pages, 238 KiB  
Article
Neuromuscular Fitness Is Associated with Serve Speed in Young Female Tennis Players
by Zlatan Bilić, Paola Martić, Petar Barbaros, Filip Sinković and Dario Novak
Sports 2024, 12(4), 97; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports12040097 - 30 Mar 2024
Viewed by 785
Abstract
In tennis, the serve plays a key role in determining the success of a player. The speed of a serve is influenced by a multitude of interconnected skills and abilities. The objective of this study was to establish the correlation between the explosive [...] Read more.
In tennis, the serve plays a key role in determining the success of a player. The speed of a serve is influenced by a multitude of interconnected skills and abilities. The objective of this study was to establish the correlation between the explosive strength of the throwing type, the grip strength and flexibility of the arms, and the shoulder girdle with the serve speed in young female tennis players. Additionally, the study aimed to develop a regression model that accurately predicts the serve speed by analyzing the interplay among these variables. The study was carried out on a group of 20 tennis players, who had an average age of 13.10 ± 0.74 years. Additionally, their height was recorded as 165.70 ± 4.90 cm, and their body mass was measured at 51.45 ± 5.84 kg. To assess the motor abilities of the upper extremities, four tests were used that aimed to measure the explosive strength of the throwing type; one test was for the strength of the hand and forearm muscles, and one test was for the flexibility of the arms and shoulder girdle. Of all the variables examined, the medicine ball throw shot put (MBTSP) (r = 0.75), overhead medicine ball throw (OMBT) (r = 0.70), and grip strength (GS) (r = 0.71) displayed a notable correlation with serve speed (p < 0.05). The results obtained from the multiple regression analysis indicate that the combination of selected predictors (MBTSP—medicine ball throw shot put, OMBT—overhead medicine ball throw and GS—grip strength) explained 75% of the variability in serve speed. Significantly, MBTSP surfaced as the predominant predictor, autonomously elucidating 51% of the variability in serve speed. The importance of improving the analyzed motor skills of young female tennis players to enhance their serve in terms of speed is emphasized by the findings of this research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effect of Neuromuscular Fatigue Mechanisms on Exercise Performance)
19 pages, 2777 KiB  
Article
The Effects of Physical and Mental Fatigue on Time Perception
by Reza Goudini, Ali Zahiri, Shahab Alizadeh, Benjamin Drury, Saman Hadjizadeh Anvar, Abdolhamid Daneshjoo and David G. Behm
Sports 2024, 12(2), 59; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports12020059 - 15 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1732
Abstract
The perception of time holds a foundational significance regarding how we elucidate the chronological progression of events. While some studies have examined exercise effects on time perception during exercise periods, there are no studies investigating the effects of exercise fatigue on time perception [...] Read more.
The perception of time holds a foundational significance regarding how we elucidate the chronological progression of events. While some studies have examined exercise effects on time perception during exercise periods, there are no studies investigating the effects of exercise fatigue on time perception after an exercise intervention. This study investigated the effects of physical and mental fatigue on time estimates over 30 s immediately post-exercise and 6 min post-test. Seventeen volunteers were subjected to three conditions: physical fatigue, mental fatigue, and control. All participants completed a familiarization session and were subjected to three 30 min experimental conditions (control, physical fatigue (cycling at 65% peak power output), and mental fatigue (Stroop task)) on separate days. Time perception, heart rate, and body temperature were recorded pre-test; at the start of the test; 5, 10, 20, 30 seconds into the interventions; post-test; and at the 6 min follow-up. Rating of perceived exertion (RPE) was recorded four times during the intervention. Physical fatigue resulted in a significant (p = 0.001) underestimation of time compared to mental fatigue and control conditions at the post-test and follow-up, with no significant differences between mental fatigue and control conditions. Heart rate, body temperature, and RPE were significantly (all p = 0.001) higher with physical fatigue compared to mental fatigue and control conditions during the intervention and post-test. This study demonstrated that cycling-induced fatigue led to time underestimation compared to mental fatigue and control conditions. It is crucial to consider that physical fatigue has the potential to lengthen an individual’s perception of time estimates in sports or work environments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effect of Neuromuscular Fatigue Mechanisms on Exercise Performance)
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17 pages, 2955 KiB  
Article
A Novel Approach to the Determination of Time- and Fatigue-Dependent Efficiency during Maximal Cycling Sprints
by Anna Katharina Dunst, Clemens Hesse, Olaf Ueberschär and Hans-Christer Holmberg
Sports 2023, 11(2), 29; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports11020029 - 28 Jan 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1820
Abstract
Background: During maximal cycling sprints, efficiency (η) is determined by the fiber composition of the muscles activated and cadence-dependent power output. To date, due to methodological limitations, it has only been possible to calculate gross efficiency (i.e., the ratio of total mechanical to [...] Read more.
Background: During maximal cycling sprints, efficiency (η) is determined by the fiber composition of the muscles activated and cadence-dependent power output. To date, due to methodological limitations, it has only been possible to calculate gross efficiency (i.e., the ratio of total mechanical to total metabolic work) in vivo without assessing the impact of cadence and changes during exercise. Eliminating the impact of cadence provides optimal efficiency (ηopt), which can be modeled as a function of time. Here, we explain this concept, demonstrate its calculation, and compare the values obtained to actual data. Furthermore, we hypothesize that the time course of maximal power output (Pmax) reflects time-dependent changes in ηopt. Methods: Twelve elite track cyclists performed four maximal sprints (3, 8, 12, 60 s) and a maximal-pedaling test on a cycle ergometer. Crank force and cadence were monitored continuously to determine fatigue-free force-velocity profiles (F/v) and fatigue-induced changes in Pmax. Respiratory gases were measured during and for 30 min post-exercise. Prior to and following each sprint, lactate in capillary blood was determined to calculate net blood lactate accumulation (ΔBLC). Lactic and alactic energy production were estimated from ΔBLC and the fast component of excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. Aerobic energy production was determined from oxygen uptake during exercise. Metabolic power (MP) was derived from total metabolic energy (WTOT). ηopt was calculated as Pmax divided by MP. Temporal changes in Pmax, WTOT, and ηopt were analyzed by non-linear regression. Results: All models showed excellent quality (R2 > 0.982) and allowed accurate recalculation of time-specific power output and gross efficiency (R2 > 0.986). The time-constant for Pmax(t) (τP) was closely correlated with that of ηoptη; r = 0.998, p < 0.001). Estimating efficiency using τP for τη led to a 0.88 ± 0.35% error. Conclusions: Although efficiency depends on pedal force and cadence, the latter influence can be eliminated by ηopt(t) using a mono-exponential equation whose time constant can be estimated from Pmax(t). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effect of Neuromuscular Fatigue Mechanisms on Exercise Performance)
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11 pages, 1727 KiB  
Article
The Concept of Optimal Dynamic Pedalling Rate and Its Application to Power Output and Fatigue in Track Cycling Sprinters—A Case Study
by Anna Katharina Dunst, Clemens Hesse and Olaf Ueberschär
Sports 2023, 11(1), 19; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports11010019 - 16 Jan 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2049
Abstract
Sprint races in track cycling are characterised by maximal power requirements and high-power output over 15 to 75 s. As competition rules limit the athlete to a single gear, the choice of gear ratio has considerable impact on performance. Traditionally, a gear favouring [...] Read more.
Sprint races in track cycling are characterised by maximal power requirements and high-power output over 15 to 75 s. As competition rules limit the athlete to a single gear, the choice of gear ratio has considerable impact on performance. Traditionally, a gear favouring short start times and rapid acceleration, i.e., lower transmission ratios, was chosen. In recent years, track cyclists tended to choose higher gear ratios instead. Based on a review of the relevant literature, we aimed to provide an explanation for that increase in the gear ratio chosen and apply this to a 1000 m time trial. Race data with continuous measurements of crank force and velocity of an elite track cyclist were analysed retrospectively regarding the influence of the selected gear on power, cadence and resulting speed. For this purpose, time-dependent maximal force-velocity (F/v) profiles were used to describe changes in performance with increasing fatigue. By applying these profiles to a physical model of track cycling, theoretical power output, cadence and resulting speed were calculated for different scenarios. Based on previous research results, we assume a systematic and predictable decline in optimal cadence with increasing fatigue. The choice of higher gear ratios seems to be explained physiologically by the successive reduction in optimal cadence as fatigue sets in. Our approach indicates that average power output can be significantly increased by selecting a gear ratio that minimises the difference between the realised cadence and the time-dependent dynamic optimum. In view of the additional effects of the gear selection on acceleration and speed, gear selection should optimally meet the various requirements of the respective sprint event. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effect of Neuromuscular Fatigue Mechanisms on Exercise Performance)
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14 pages, 983 KiB  
Article
Acute Effects of Heavy Strength Training on Mechanical, Hemodynamic, Metabolic, and Psychophysiological Parameters in Young Adult Males
by João Andrade, Dulce Esteves, Ricardo Ferraz, Diogo Luís Marques, Luís Branquinho, Daniel Almeida Marinho, Mário Cardoso Marques and Henrique Pereira Neiva
Sports 2022, 10(12), 195; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports10120195 - 30 Nov 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1807
Abstract
This study analyzed the acute effects of heavy strength training on mechanical, hemodynamic, metabolic, and psychophysiological responses in adult males. Thirteen recreational level males (23.3 ± 1.5 years) randomly performed two heavy strength training sessions (3 sets of 8 repetitions at 80% of [...] Read more.
This study analyzed the acute effects of heavy strength training on mechanical, hemodynamic, metabolic, and psychophysiological responses in adult males. Thirteen recreational level males (23.3 ± 1.5 years) randomly performed two heavy strength training sessions (3 sets of 8 repetitions at 80% of one repetition maximum [1RM]) using the bench press (HST-BP) or full squat (HST-FS)). The repetition velocity was recorded in both sessions. Moreover, before and after the sessions, the velocity attained against the ~1.00 m·s−1 load (V1Load) in the HST-BP, countermovement jump (CMJ) height in the HST-FS, blood pressure, heart rate, blood lactate, and psychophysiological responses (OMNI Perceived Exertion Scale for Resistance Exercise) were measured. There were differences between exercises in the number of repetitions performed in the first and third sets (both <8 repetitions). The velocity loss was higher in the HST-BP than in the HST-FS (50.8 ± 10.0% vs. 30.7 ± 9.5%; p < 0.001). However, the mechanical fatigue (V1Load vs. CMJ height) and the psychophysiological response did not differ between sessions (p > 0.05). The HST-FS caused higher blood pressure and heart rate responses than the HST-BP (p < 0.001 and p = 0.02, respectively) and greater blood lactate changes from pre-training to post-set 1 (p < 0.05). These results showed that the number of maximal repetitions performed in both sessions was lower than the target number and decreased across sets. Moreover, the HST-BP caused a higher velocity loss than the HST-FS. Finally, the HST-FS elicited higher hemodynamic and metabolic demand than the HST-BP. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effect of Neuromuscular Fatigue Mechanisms on Exercise Performance)
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Review

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15 pages, 977 KiB  
Review
The Neuromuscular Fatigue-Induced Loss of Muscle Force Control
by Jamie Pethick and Jamie Tallent
Sports 2022, 10(11), 184; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports10110184 - 21 Nov 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3787
Abstract
Neuromuscular fatigue is characterised not only by a reduction in the capacity to generate maximal muscle force, but also in the ability to control submaximal muscle forces, i.e., to generate task-relevant and precise levels of force. This decreased ability to control force is [...] Read more.
Neuromuscular fatigue is characterised not only by a reduction in the capacity to generate maximal muscle force, but also in the ability to control submaximal muscle forces, i.e., to generate task-relevant and precise levels of force. This decreased ability to control force is quantified according to a greater magnitude and lower complexity (temporal structure) of force fluctuations, which are indicative of decreased force steadiness and adaptability, respectively. The “loss of force control” is affected by the type of muscle contraction used in the fatiguing exercise, potentially differing between typical laboratory tests of fatigue (e.g., isometric contractions) and the contractions typical of everyday and sporting movements (e.g., dynamic concentric and eccentric contractions), and can be attenuated through the use of ergogenic aids. The loss of force control appears to relate to a fatigue-induced increase in common synaptic input to muscle, though the extent to which various mechanisms (afferent feedback, neuromodulatory pathways, cortical/reticulospinal pathways) contribute to this remains to be determined. Importantly, this fatigue-induced loss of force control could have important implications for task performance, as force control is correlated with performance in a range of tasks that are associated with activities of daily living, occupational duties, and sporting performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effect of Neuromuscular Fatigue Mechanisms on Exercise Performance)
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