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Does fatigue induced by repeated dynamic efforts affect hamstring muscle function?

PINNIGER, GAVIN JON; STEELE, JULIE ROBYN; GROELLER, HERBERT

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: March 2000 - Volume 32 - Issue 3 - p 647-653
APPLIED SCIENCES: Biodynamics

PINNIGER, G. J., J. R. STEELE, and H. GROELLER. Does fatigue induced by repeated dynamic efforts affect hamstring muscle function? Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol. 32, No. 3, pp. 647–653, 2000.

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of hamstring fatigue induced by repeated maximal efforts on hamstring muscle function during maximal sprint running.

Methods: Twelve subjects performed three maximal 40-m sprints during which time high-speed film of the subjects’ sprint action and EMG of five lower extremity muscles were recorded (nonfatigued condition, NFC). Subjects then performed specific and general hamstring fatigue tasks followed by three final 40-m sprints (fatigued condition, FC) during which time high-speed film and EMG of the same muscles were again recorded.

Results: Statistical analysis of the kinematic data indicated the following significant (P < 0.05) changes in the subjects’ running action from the NFC to the FC: decreased hip and knee flexion at maximum knee extension in the swing phase of the sprint cycle, decreased leg angular velocity immediately before foot-ground contact (FGC), and decreased angular displacement of the trunk, thigh, and leg segments during the late swing phase. Statistical analysis of the EMG data indicated a significant increase in the duration of hamstring activity and earlier cessation of rectus femoris activity during the swing phase of the sprint stride.

Conclusions: It was concluded that these changes in the kinematic and EMG parameters of sprint running primarily served as protective mechanisms to reduce stress placed on the hamstring muscles at critical phases of the stride cycle.

Department of Biomedical Science, University of Wollongong, Wollongong NSW 2522, AUSTRALIA

Submitted for publication July 1998.

Accepted for publication May 1999.

Address for correspondence: Julie R Steele, Ph.D., Department of Biomedical Science, University of Wollongong, Northfields Ave., Wollongong NSW 2522, Australia. E-mail: julie_steele@uow.edu.au.

©2000The American College of Sports Medicine