Age-related neuromuscular fatigue and recovery after cycling: Measurements in isometric and dynamic modes

Exp Gerontol. 2020 May:133:110877. doi: 10.1016/j.exger.2020.110877. Epub 2020 Feb 14.


Studies have suggested that older individuals are more fatigable than young adults when power loss, measured during single-joint contractions, is considered the fatigue index; however, age-related differences in fatigue considering power measurements during multi-joint movements (e.g., cycling) have not been fully elucidated yet. This study examined age-related differences in dynamic and isometric measures of fatigue in response to three cycling exercises. Ten young (27 ± 4 years) and ten old (74 ± 4 years) men performed exercises on different days, 30-s Wingate, 10-min at severe-intensity, and 90-min at moderate-intensity. Dynamic measures-maximal power, torque, and velocity-were assessed after cycling and during recovery (1-8 min post-exercise) through 7-s cycling sprints and isometric force and fatigue etiology (central and peripheral components) through isometric contractions. There were no age-related differences in the relative reduction of dynamic and isometric measures following the Wingate and moderate-intensity tasks. Maximal power, isometric force, and indices of peripheral function (e.g., high-frequency doublet) decreased more in young compared with older individuals after the severe-intensity exercise (all p < .05). The only observed age-related difference in the recovery of NM fatigue was a slower recovery of power and torque from 1 to 8 min (p < .05) and at 4 min (p = .015), respectively, in younger males after the Wingate. Age-related fatigue and recovery depend on the fatiguing exercise intensity and duration and on the fatigue assessment mode. This study provides novel information on age-related neuromuscular fatigue responses to multi-joint dynamic exercises performed at different intensities and durations.

Keywords: Aging; Central fatigue; Contractile properties; Muscle; Peripheral fatigue; Power output.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Electromyography
  • Exercise
  • Humans
  • Isometric Contraction
  • Male
  • Muscle Fatigue*
  • Muscle, Skeletal*
  • Torque