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Isometric knee extensor fatigue following a Wingate test: peripheral and central mechanisms


Corresponding author: Miguel Fernández del Olmo, Departamento de Educación Física e Deportiva, Facultade de Ciencias do Deporte e a Educación Física, Universidade da Coruña. Av. Ernesto Che Guevara 121, Pazos-Liáns, 15179 Oleiros, A Coruña, Spain. Tel.+34 981 167 000, Fax+34 981 167 048, E-mail:


Central and peripheral fatigue have been explored during and after running or cycling exercises. However, the fatigue mechanisms associated with a short maximal cycling exercise (30 s Wingate test) have not been investigated. In this study, 10 volunteer subjects performed several isometric voluntary contractions using the leg muscle extensors before and after two bouts of cycling at 25% of maximal power output and two bouts of Wingate tests. Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and electrical motor nerve stimulation (NM) were applied at rest and during the voluntary contractions. Maximal voluntary contraction (MVC), voluntary activation (VA), twitch amplitude evoked by electrical nerve stimulation, M wave and motor potential evoked by TMS (MEP) were recorded. MVC, VA and twitch amplitude evoked at rest by NM decreased significantly after the first and second Wingate tests, indicating central and peripheral fatigue. MVC and VA, but not the twitch amplitude evoked by NM, recovered before the second Wingate test. These results suggest that the Wingate test results in a decrease in MVC associated with peripheral and central fatigue. While the peripheral fatigue is associated with an intramuscular impairment, the central fatigue seems to be the main reason for the Wingate test-induced impairment of MVC.