Purpose: This study assessed whether pacing strategies are adopted during supramaximal exercise bouts lasting longer than 30 s.
Methods: Eight healthy males performed six Wingate anaerobic tests (WAnT). Subjects were informed that they were performing four 30-s WAnT, a 33-s, and a 36-s WAnT. However, they actually completed two trials of 30, 33, and 36 s each. Temporal feedback in the deception trials was manipulated so that subjects were unaware of the time discrepancy. Power output was determined from the angular displacement of the flywheel. The peak power (PPI), mean power (MPI), and fatigue (FI) indices were calculated for each trial.
Results: Power output was similar for all trials up to 30 s. However, at 36 s, the power output was significantly lower in the 36-s deception trial compared with the 36-s informed trial (392 +/- 32 W vs 470 +/- 88 W) (P < 0.001). The MPI was significantly lower in the 36-s trials (714 +/- 76 W and 713 +/- 78 W) compared with the 30-s trials (745 +/- 65 W and 764 +/- 82 W) although they were not different at 30 s (764 +/- 83 W and 755 +/- 79 W). The significant reduction in FI was greatest in the 36-s deception trial.
Conclusions: The significant reduction in power output in the last 6 s of the 36-s deception trial, but not in the 36-s informed trial, indicates the presence of a preprogrammed 30-s "end point" based on the anticipated exercise duration from previous experience. The similarity in pacing strategy suggests that the pacing strategy is centrally regulated.