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Behrens M.,University of Rostock | Weippert M.,University of Rostock | Weippert M.,Institute of Exercise Physiology and Public Health | Wassermann F.,University of Rostock | And 3 more authors.
Frontiers in Physiology | Year: 2015

Previously published studies on the effect of short-term endurance training on neuromuscular function of the plantar flexors have shown that the H-reflex elicited at rest and during weak voluntary contractions was increased following the training regime. However, these studies did not test H-reflex modulation during isometric maximum voluntary contraction (iMVC) and did not incorporate a control group in their study design to compare the results of the endurance training group to individuals without the endurance training stimulus. Therefore, this randomized controlled study was directed to investigate the neuromuscular function of the plantar flexors at rest and during iMVC before and after 8 weeks of cycling endurance training. Twenty-two young adults were randomly assigned to an intervention group and a control group. During neuromuscular testing, rate of torque development, isometric maximum voluntary torque and muscle activation were measured. Triceps surae muscle activation and tibialis anterior muscle co-activation were assessed by normalized root mean square of the EMG signal during the initial phase of contraction (0-100, 100-200 ms) and iMVC of the plantar flexors. Furthermore, evoked spinal reflex responses of the soleus muscle (H-reflex evoked at rest and during iMVC, V-wave), peak twitch torques induced by electrical stimulation of the posterior tibial nerve at rest and fatigue resistance were evaluated. The results indicate that cycling endurance training did not lead to a significant change in any variable of interest. Data of the present study conflict with the outcome of previously published studies that have found an increase in H-reflex excitability after endurance training. However, these studies had not included a control group in their study design as was the case here. It is concluded that short-term cycling endurance training does not necessarily enhance H-reflex responses and fatigue resistance. © 2015 Behrens, Weippert, Wassermann, Bader, Bruhn and Mau-Moeller.

Weippert M.,University of Rostock | Weippert M.,Institute of Exercise Physiology and Public Health | Behrens K.,Institute of Exercise Physiology and Public Health | Rieger A.,Institute of Exercise Physiology and Public Health | And 2 more authors.
Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism | Year: 2015

Despite their use in cardiac risk stratification, the physiological meaning of nonlinear heart rate variability (HRV) measures is not well understood. The aim of this study was to elucidate effects of breathing frequency, tidal volume, and light exercise on nonlinear HRV and to determine associations with traditional HRV indices. R–R intervals, blood pressure, minute ventilation, breathing frequency, and respiratory gas concentrations were measured in 24 healthy male volunteers during 7 conditions: voluntary breathing at rest, and metronome guided breathing (0.1, 0.2 and 0.4 Hz) during rest, and cycling, respectively. The effect of physical load was significant for heart rate (HR; p < 0.001) and traditional HRV indices SDNN, RMSSD, lnLFP, and lnHFP (p < 0.01 for all). It approached significance for sample entropy (SampEn) and correlation dimension (D2) (p < 0.1 for both), while HRV detrended fluctuation analysis (DFA) measures DFAα1 and DFAα2 were not affected by load condition. Breathing did not affect HR but affected all traditional HRV measures. D2 was not affected by breathing; DFAα1 was moderately affected by breathing; and DFAα2, approximate entropy (ApEn), and SampEn were strongly affected by breathing. DFAα1 was strongly increased, whereas DFAα2, ApEn, and SampEn were decreased by slow breathing. No interaction effect of load and breathing pattern was evident. Correlations to traditional HRV indices were modest (r from –0.14 to –0.67, p < 0.05 to <0.01). In conclusion, while light exercise does not significantly affect short-time HRV nonlinear indices, respiratory activity has to be considered as a potential contributor at rest and during light dynamic exercise. © 2015, National Research Council of Canada. All rights Reserved.

Weippert M.,University of Rostock | Weippert M.,Institute of Exercise Physiology and Public Health | Behrens M.,University of Rostock | Gonschorek R.,University of Rostock | And 2 more authors.
Frontiers in Physiology | Year: 2015

The precise contributions of afferent feedback to cardiovascular and respiratory responses to exercise are still unclear. The aim of this crossover study was to assess whether and how autonomic cardiovascular and respiratory control differed in response to dynamic (DYN) and isometric contractions (ISO) at a similar, low heart rate (HR) level. Therefore, 22 healthy males (26.7 ± 3.6 yrs) performed two kinds of voluntary exercises at similar HR: ISO and DYN of the right quadriceps femoris muscle. Although HR was eqivalent (82 ± 8 bpm for DYN and ISO, respectively), rating of exertion, blood pressures, and rate pressure product were higher, whereas breathing frequency, minute ventilation, oxygen uptake and carbon dioxide output were significantly lower during ISO. Tidal volume, end-tidal partial pressures of O2 and CO2, respiratory exchange ratio and capillary blood lactate concentration were comparable between both contraction modes. Heart rate variability (HRV) indicators, SDNN, HF-Power and LF-Power, representing both vagal and sympathetic influences, were significantly higher during ISO. Sample entropy, a non-linear measure of HRV was also significantly affected by contraction mode. It can be concluded that, despite the same net effect on HR, the quality of cardiovascular control during low intensity exercise is significantly different between DYN and ISO. HRV analysis indicated a sympatho-vagal coactivation during ISO. Whether mechanoreceptor feedback alone, a change in central command, or the interaction of both mechanisms is the main contributor of the distinct autonomic responses to the different exercise modes remains to be elucidated. © 2015 Weippert, Behrens, Gonschorek, Bruhn and Behrens.

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