Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
from September 2014
©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2008) 07, 431 - 436

Research article
Relationships Between Muscle Fatigue Characteristics and Markers of Endurance Performance
Martyn G. Morris,1 , Helen Dawes1,3, Ken Howells1, Oona M. Scott1,2, Mary Cramp1,2
Author Information
1 Movement Science Group, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, UK
2 University of East London, Stratford Campus, London, UK
3 University of Oxford, Wellington Square, Oxford, UK

Martyn G. Morris
✉ Movement Science Group, Oxford Brookes University, Gipsy Lane Campus, Headington, Oxford, OX3 0BP, UK.
Publish Date
Received: 09-06-2008
Accepted: 25-06-2008
Published (online): 01-12-2008
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The aim of this study was to examine the relationship of a range of in-vivo whole muscle characteristics to determinants of endurance performance. Eleven healthy males completed a cycle ergometer step test to exhaustion for the determination of the lactate threshold, gross mechanical efficiency, peak power and VO2max. On two separate occasions, contractile and fatigue characteristics of the quadriceps femoris were collected using a specially designed isometric strength-testing chair. Muscle fatigue was then assessed by stimulating the muscle for 3 minutes. Force, rate of force development and rates of relaxation were calculated at the beginning and end of the 3 minute protocol and examined for reliability and in relation to lactate threshold, VO2max, gross mechanical efficiency and peak power. Muscle characteristics, rate of force development and relaxation rate were demonstrated to be reliable measures. Force drop off over the 3 minutes (fatigue index) was related to lactate threshold (r = -0.72 p ¼ 0.01) but not to VO2max. The rate of force development related to the peak power at the end of the cycle ergometer test (r = -0.75 p ¼ 0.01). Rates of relaxation did not relate to any of the performance markers. We found in-vivo whole muscle characteristics, such as the fatigue index and rate of force development, relate to specific markers of peripheral, but not to central, fitness components. Our investigation suggests that muscle characteristics assessed in this way is reliable and could be feasibly utilised to further our understanding of the peripheral factors underpinning performance.

Key words: Muscle contractile characteristics, lactate threshold, electrical stimulation, VOmax

           Key Points
  • Participants with a high lactate threshold displayed greater fatigue resistance in the electrical stimulation test.
  • Muscle performance characteristics relate to specific components of endurance performance.
  • The electrical stimulation protocol could be a useful technique, alongside other established measures, when constructing a physiological profile of a participant.
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