Fatigue, pain, and the recovery of neuromuscular function after consecutive days of full-body resistance exercise in trained men

Publication Name

European Journal of Applied Physiology


Purpose: This study measured the self-reported level of fatigue, pain, and neuromuscular function of the knee extensor muscles over a three-day period that included two consecutive days of full-body resistance exercises. Methods: 10 resistance-trained men performed two consecutive days of full-body resistance exercise. Muscle activation (electromyography and voluntary activation), contractility, and presynaptic inhibition of Ia afferents (homosynaptic and GABA mediated presynaptic inhibition) for the quadriceps were examined from femoral and posterior tibial nerve stimulation. Results: Fatigue and pain were elevated after Day 1, and were not reduced to pre-exercise levels at the start of Day 2 (p < 0.05). Maximal voluntary torque (− 51.4 Nm, 95% CI = 12.4–90.4 Nm, p = 0.005) and rate of torque development (− 469 Nm.s−1, 95% CI = 109–829 Nm.s−1, p = 0.006) were reduced after Day 1, had recovered by Day 2, and did not change after the second training session. The maximal amplitude and rate of rise for the quadriceps twitch were reduced after both training sessions (p < 0.01), with recovery 24 h each session. The maximal amplitude and rate of early muscle activation were reduced after Day 1 (p < 0.01), but no changes were observed for voluntary activation, H-reflex size and shape, or measures of Ia presynaptic inhibition. Conclusion: Resistance exercise in the presence of elevated fatigue and pain from a previous training session does not worsen recovery, or lead to significant alterations in quadriceps neuromuscular function. Reduction in muscle contractility, in the absence of declines in muscle activation, does not lead to decreased voluntary torque.

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