Associated decrements in rate of force development and neural drive after maximal eccentric exercise

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The present study investigated the changes in contractile rate of force development (RFD) and the neural drive following a single bout of eccentric exercise. Twenty-four subjects performed 15 × 10 maximal isokinetic eccentric knee extensor contractions. Prior to and at 24, 48, 72, 96, and 168 h during post-exercise recovery, isometric RFD (30, 50 100, and 200 ms), normalized RFD [1/6,1/2, and 2/3 of maximal voluntary contraction (MVC)] and rate of electromyography rise (RER; 30, 50, and 75 ms) were measured. RFD decreased by 28–42% peaking at 48 h (P< 0.01–P< 0.001) and remained depressed at 168 h (P< 0.05). Normalized RFD at 2/3 of MVC decreased by 22–39% (P< 0.01), peaked at 72 h and returned to baseline at 168 h. These changes in RFD were associated with a decrease in RER at 48 h–96 h (P< 0.05–P< 0.001). Accumulated changes (area under curve) revealed a greater relative decrease in accumulated RFD at 100 ms by −2727 ± 309 (%h;P< 0.05) and 200 ms by −3035 ± 271 (%h;P< 0.001) compared with MVC, which decreased, by −1956 ± 234 (%h). In conclusion, RFD and RER are both markedly reduced following a bout of maximal eccentric exercise. This association suggests that exercise-induced decrements in RFD can, in part, be explained decrements in neural drive.

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