The Entrainment Frequency of Cardiolocomotor Synchronization in Long-Distance Race Emerges Spontaneously at the Step Frequency

Front Physiol. 2021 Feb 4;11:583030. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2020.583030. eCollection 2020.


In forced conditions, where the heart rate and step frequency have been matched, cardiolocomotor synchronization (CLS) has been recognized. However, knowledge about the occurrence of CLS and its triggers in sports gesture in real contexts is little known. To address this gap, the current study tested the hypothesis that CLS in running spontaneous conditions would emerge at entrainment bands of muscle activation frequencies associated with a freely chosen step frequency. Sixteen male long-distance runners undertook treadmill assessments running ten three-minute bouts at different speeds (7, 7.5, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, and 15 km⋅h-1). Electrocardiography and surface electromyography were recorded simultaneously. The center frequency was the mean of the frequency spectrum obtained by wavelet decomposition, while CLS magnitude was determined by the wavelet coherence coefficient (WCC) between the electrocardiography and center frequency signals. The strength of CLS affected the entrainment frequencies between cardiac and muscle systems, and for WCC values greater than 0.8, the point from which we consider the emerging CLS, the entrainment frequency was between 2.7 and 2.8 Hz. The CLS emerged at faster speeds (13-15 km⋅h-1) most prevalently but did not affect the muscle activation bands. Spontaneous CLS occurred at faster speeds predominantly, and the entrainment frequencies matched the locomotor task, with the entrainment bands of frequencies emerging around the step frequencies (2.7-2.8 Hz). These findings are compatible with the concept that interventions that determine optima conditions of CLS may potentiate the benefits of the cardiac and muscle systems synchronized in distance runners.

Keywords: applied kinesiology; biomechanical phenomena; electromyography; locomotion; physiological phenomena; sports.