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European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 119, Issue 7, pp 1533–1545 | Cite as

Neuromuscular evaluation of arm-cycling repeated sprints under hypoxia and/or blood flow restriction

  • Arthur Peyrard
  • Sarah J. Willis
  • Nicolas Place
  • Grégoire P. Millet
  • Fabio Borrani
  • Thomas RuppEmail author
Original Article

Abstract

Purpose

This study aimed to determine the effects of hypoxia and/or blood flow restriction (BFR) on an arm-cycling repeated sprint ability test (aRSA) and its impact on elbow flexor neuromuscular function.

Methods

Fourteen volunteers performed an aRSA (10 s sprint/20 s recovery) to exhaustion in four randomized conditions: normoxia (NOR), normoxia plus BFR (NBFR), hypoxia (FiO2 = 0.13, HYP) and hypoxia plus BFR (HBFR). Maximal voluntary contraction (MVC), resting twitch force (Db10), and electromyographic responses from the elbow flexors [biceps brachii (BB)] to electrical and transcranial magnetic stimulation were obtained to assess neuromuscular function. Main effects of hypoxia, BFR, and interaction were analyzed on delta values from pre- to post-exercise.

Results

BFR and hypoxia decreased the number of sprints during aRSA with no significant cumulative effect (NOR 16 ± 8; NBFR 12 ± 4; HYP 10 ± 3 and HBFR 8 ± 3; P < 0.01). MVC decrease from pre- to post-exercise was comparable whatever the condition. M-wave amplitude (− 9.4 ± 1.9% vs. + 0.8 ± 2.0%, P < 0.01) and Db10 force (− 41.8 ± 4.7% vs. − 27.9 ± 4.5%, P < 0.01) were more altered after aRSA with BFR compared to without BFR. The exercise-induced increase in corticospinal excitability was significantly lower in hypoxic vs. normoxic conditions (e.g., BB motor evoked potential at 75% of MVC: − 2.4 ± 4.2% vs. + 16.0 ± 5.9%, respectively, P = 0.03).

Conclusion

BFR and hypoxia led to comparable aRSA performance impairments but with distinct fatigue etiology. BFR impaired the muscle excitation–contraction coupling whereas hypoxia predominantly affected corticospinal excitability indicating incapacity of the corticospinal pathway to adapt to fatigue as in normoxia.

Keywords

Corticospinal excitability Transcranial magnetic stimulation Occlusion Neuromuscular fatigue BFR 

Abbreviations

1RM

One-repetition maximum

AMT

Active motor threshold

ANOVA

Analysis of variance

aRSA

Repeated arm-cycling sprint ability test

BB

Biceps brachii

BFR

Blood flow restriction

CMEP

Cervicomedullary motor evoked potential

CSP

Cortical silent period

EMG

Electromyography

EMS

Electrical muscle stimulation

ENS

Electrical nerve stimulation

ERT

Estimated resting twitch

ESM

Electronic supplementary material

FiO2

Fraction of inspired oxygen

GABA

Gamma-aminobutyric acid

HBFR

Hypoxia with BFR

HYP

Hypoxia

MEP

Motor evoked potential

Mmax

Amplitude of the muscle compound action potential

mRNA

Messenger ribonucleic acid

MSUP

Amplitude of the muscle compound action potential during maximal voluntary contraction

MVC

Maximal voluntary contraction

M-wave

Muscle compound action potential

NBFR

Normoxia with blood flow restriction

NIRS

Near-infra-red spectroscopy

NME

Neuromuscular function evaluation

NOR

Normoxia

PFC

Pre-frontal cortex

Pmax

Maximal power

POST

After repeated arm-cycling sprint ability test

PRE

Before repeated arm-cycling sprint ability test

RMS

Root mean square

RSA

Repeated sprint ability

SD

Standard deviation

SICI

Short-interval intracortical inhibition

SIT

Superimposed twitch

SpO2

Peripheral arterial oxygen saturation

TB

Triceps brachii

TMS

Transcranial magnetic stimulation

TSI

Tissue saturation index

TTE

Time to exhaustion

VA

Voluntary activation

VATMS

Voluntary activation assessed with TMS

ηp2

Partial eta-squared

Notes

Acknowledgements

Special thanks are given to the participants for their dedication, commitment, and cooperation with this study and to Naiandra Dittrich for her assistance during experimental set up and data acquisition.

Author contributions

GPM, FB, NP, and TR designed the study methodology. AP and SW collected the data and analyzed the results. AP, SW, and TR drafted the article. All authors reviewed and revised the work. All authors reviewed the final article and approved it for submission.

Funding

Funding was provided by University Savoie Mont Blanc and the French Conseil Savoie Mont Blanc.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

AP was supported by a doctoral research grant from University Savoie Mont Blanc and the French Conseil Savoie Mont Blanc. The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

421_2019_4143_MOESM1_ESM.docx (45 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 45 kb)
421_2019_4143_MOESM2_ESM.docx (35 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (DOCX 34 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arthur Peyrard
    • 1
  • Sarah J. Willis
    • 2
  • Nicolas Place
    • 2
  • Grégoire P. Millet
    • 2
  • Fabio Borrani
    • 2
  • Thomas Rupp
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Laboratoire Interuniversitaire de Biologie de la Motricité (EA 7424 LIBM Chambéry)Université Savoie Mont BlancChambéryFrance
  2. 2.Faculty of Biology and Medicine, Institute of Sport Sciences (ISSUL)University of LausanneLausanneSwitzerland

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