Neuromuscular fatigability during repeated sprints assessed with an innovative cycle ergometer

H Di Domenico, J B Beaume, A Peyrard, P Samozino, M Bowen, F Hintzy, G P Millet, M Hayes, T Lapole, Thomas Rupp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Repeated sprint ability is an integral component of team sports. This study aimed to evaluate fatigability development and its aetiology during and immediately after a cycle repeated sprint exercise performed until a given fatigability threshold.

On an innovative cycle ergometer, 16 healthy males completed an RSE (10-s sprint/28-s recovery) until task failure (TF): a 30% decrease in sprint mean power (Pmean). Isometric maximum voluntary contraction of the quadriceps (IMVC), central alterations [voluntary activation (VA)], and peripheral alterations [twitch (Pt)] were evaluated before (pre), immediately after each sprint (post), at TF and 3 min after. Sprints were expressed as a percentage of the total number of sprints to TF (TS ). Individual data were extrapolated at 20, 40, 60, and 80% TS .

Participants completed 9.7 ± 4.2 sprints before reaching a 30% decrease in Pmean. Post-sprint IMVCs were decreased from pre to 60% TS and then plateaued (pre: 345 ± 56 N, 60% 247 ± 55 N, TF: 233 ± 57 N, p < 0.001). Pt decreased from 20% and plateaued after 40% TSTF (p < 0.001, pre-TF = − 45 ± 13%). VA was not significantly affected by repeated sprints until 60% TSTF (pre-TF = − 6.5 ± 8.2%, p = 0.036). Unlike peripheral parameters, VA recovered within 3 min (p = 0.042).

During an RSE, Pmean and IMVC decreases were first concomitant to peripheral alterations up to 40% TSTF and central alterations was only observed in the second part of the test, while peripheral alterations plateaued. The distinct recovery kinetics in central versus peripheral components of fatigability further confirm the necessity to reduce traditional delays in neuromuscular fatigue assessment post-exercise.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1189-1204
Number of pages16
JournalEuropean Journal of Applied Physiology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 25 Feb 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Region Auvergne Rhone Alpes and the Agence Innovation Défense (French Ministry of Defence) as part of the doctoral work of Hervé Di Domenico.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.


  • Peripheral alterations
  • Transcranial magnetic stimulation
  • Central alterations
  • Peripheral nerve stimulation
  • Intermittent exhaustive exercise


Dive into the research topics of 'Neuromuscular fatigability during repeated sprints assessed with an innovative cycle ergometer'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this