Int J Sports Med 2000; 21(6): 429-436
DOI: 10.1055/s-2000-3832
Training and Testing
Georg Thieme Verlag Stuttgart · New York

Evolution of Electromyographic Signal, Running Economy, and Perceived Exertion During Different Prolonged Exercises

C. Hausswirth1 ,  J. Brisswalter2 ,  J. M. Vallier3 ,  D. Smith4 ,  R. Lepers5
  • 1 Laboratoire de Biomécanique et de Physiologie, Institut National du Sport et de l'Education Physique, Paris, France
  • 2 Université de Toulon-Var, Unité Ergonomie Sportive et Performance, La Garde cedex, France
  • 3 Département médical, Institut National du Sport et de l'Education Physique, Paris, France
  • 4 Consultant Sport Scientist, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
  • 5 Université de Bourgogne, Groupe d'Analyse du Mouvement, UFR-STAPS, Campus universitaire, Dijon cedex, France
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
31 December 2000 (online)

The purpose of this study was to compare the electromyographic (EMG) signal of the vastus lateralis muscle obtained during a run section of a triathlon and at the end of a prolonged run performed at the same running velocity. Seven subjects were studied on three occasions: a 2 h 15 min triathlon (30 min swimming, 60 min cycling, and 45 min treadmill running at 75 % of the maximal aerobic speed), a 2 h 15 min run, where the last 45 min (Prolonged Run, PR) were run at the same speed as the Triathlon Run (TR) on a motorized treadmill, and a 45 min Isolated Run (IR) performed at the same TR and PR velocity. The three experimental trials were randomised. Oxygen uptake (V˙O2), heart rate (HR), and EMG data were recorded during the three run sections. The results confirm a greater V˙O2 and HR during PR compared with IR (P < 0.01) and TR (P < 0.05). Also the V˙O2 values obtained during TR were significantly greater compared to IR (P < 0.05). EMG signal, obtained from the vastus lateralis muscle during 4 sec of isometric contraction at 35 % of maximal voluntary contraction (MVC), showed that after PR the mean power frequency (MPF) shifted significantly to lower frequencies (P < 0.01) compared with MPF recorded before the prolonged run. Moreover, the signal amplitude (RMS) was increased significantly after PR in comparison to pre-trial (P < 0.01). Similar results were obtained for the TR at P < 0.05. The integrated EMG flow, Q˙IEMG (iEMG/burst duration), recorded during all run sections, was significantly increased near the end of PR (i.e. 2 h 10 min of running) compared with Q˙iEMG recorded after 1 h 30 min of running. No significant increase in Q˙iEMG was observed with TR and IR situations. The results suggest that a long exercise bout of running led to a greater increase in muscle fatigue compared with a triathlon or an isolated run performed at the same running speed. In addition it is suggested that the rating of perceived exertion recorded during isometric contractions is a good indice to approach the level of fatigue during prolonged exercises.


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