Greater decrements in neuromuscular function following interval compared to continuous eccentric cycling

David Green*, Kevin Thomas, Glyn Howatson

*Corresponding author for this work

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Our aim was to determine the demands and consequences of a single session of continuous (CONT) or interval (INT) eccentric cycling. Fourteen healthy males performed 'work-matched' CONT and INT eccentric cycling in a cross over design. Measures of maximal voluntary contraction (MVC), resting twitch force, voluntary activation (VA), muscle soreness, and creatine kinase (CK) were taken at baseline, immediately post, and 24, 48, and 72 h post the first exercise bout. The second bout was used to characterise within session demands. Decreases in MVC (INT 19%, CONT 13%), twitch force (INT 31%, CONT 18%), and VA (INT 10%, CONT 6%) were observed immediately post session (p <0.05). Reductions in twitch force were greater after INT (p <0.05) and lasted 48 h. Muscle soreness was greater following INT, versus CONT (p <0.05), although no differences in CK were observed. Metabolic demands (% of V̇O and [BLa]) were greater during INT vs. CONT (32 ± 6% 28 ± 6%; p <0.001), [BLa] (1.0 ± 0.4 vs. 0.8 ± 0.2 mmol·L p <0.001), and RPE (12 ± 1 vs. 11 ± 1; p <0.001), respectively. Total time under tension was 48% greater in CONT compared to INT (p <0.001), whereas average torque (during exercise) was 40% greater during INT compared to CONT (p <0.001). Interval eccentric cycling exacerbates muscle soreness, decrements in muscle function, and lengthens recovery compared to a work matched continuous bout, which is attributable to increased force rather than time under tension. Disclosures This project was part of a collaborative PhD studentship between the English Institute of Sport and Northumbria University, UK. No potential conflict of interest was reported by the authors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)200-208
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Sport Science
Issue number2
Early online date11 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2022


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