Changes in central and peripheral neuromuscular fatigue indices after concentric versus eccentric contractions of the knee extensors
Place of Publication
Centre for Exercise and Sport Science Research / School of Medical and Health Sciences
Purpose: To better understand neuromuscular characteristics of eccentric exercise-induced muscle damage, this study compared between concentric (CONC) and eccentric (ECC) exercises of knee extensor muscles, and the first (ECC1) and second bouts of the eccentric exercise (ECC2) for central and peripheral parameters associated with neuromuscular fatigue. Methods: Twelve young men performed three exercise bouts separated by at least 1 week between CONC and ECC1, and 2 weeks between ECC1 and ECC2. In each exercise, maximal voluntary concentric or eccentric contractions of the knee extensors were performed until a reduction in maximal voluntary isometric contraction (MVC) torque of at least 40% MVC was achieved immediately post-exercise. MVC torque, central (voluntary activation and normalised electromyographic activity), and peripheral neuromuscular indices (evoked torque and M-wave amplitude), and muscle soreness were assessed before (PRE), immediately after (POST), 1 h (1H), and 1–4 days after exercise (D1, D2, D3, and D4). Results: MVC torque decreased at only POST for CONC (− 52.8%), but remained below the baseline at POST (− 48.6%), 1H (− 34.1%), and D1–D4 (− 34.1 to − 18.2%) after ECC1, and at POST (− 45.2%), 1H (− 24.4%) and D1 (− 13.4%) after ECC2 (p OpenSPiltSPi 0.05). Voluntary activation decreased immediately after ECC1 (− 21.6%) and ECC2 (− 21.1%), but not after CONC. Electrically evoked torques decreased similarly at POST and 1H for the three conditions, but remained below the baseline at D1 only post-ECC1. Conclusion: These results showed that both central and peripheral factors contributed to the MVC decrease after ECC1 and ECC2, but the decrease was mainly due to peripheral factors after CONC.