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An Innovative Ergometer to Measure Neuromuscular Fatigue Immediately after Cycling

Doyle-Baker, Douglas; Temesi, John; Medysky, Mary E; Holash, Robert J; Millet, Guillaume Y
Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: Post Acceptance: September 19, 2017
doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000001427
Special Communication: PDF Only



When assessing neuromuscular fatigue (NMF) from dynamic exercise using large muscle mass (e.g. cycling), most studies have delayed measurement for 1-3 min after task failure. This study aimed to determine the reliability of an innovative cycling ergometer permitting the start of fatigue measurement within 1 s after cycling.


Twelve subjects participated in two experimental sessions. Knee-extensor NMF was assessed by electrical nerve and transcranial magnetic stimulation with both a traditional chair set-up (PRE and POST-Chair, 2 min post-exercise) and the new cycling ergometer (PRE, every 3 min during incremental exercise and POST-Bike, at task failure).


The reduction in maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) force POST-Bike (63 ± 12% PRE; P < 0.001) was not different between sessions and there was excellent reliability at PRE (ICC = 0.97; CV = 3.2%) and POST-Bike. Twitch (Tw) and high-frequency paired-pulse (Db100) forces decreased to 53 ± 14 and 62 ± 9% PRE, respectively (P < 0.001). Both were reliable at PRE (Tw: ICC = 0.97, CV = 5.2%; Db100: ICC = 0.90, CV = 7.3%) and POST-Bike (Tw: ICC = 0.88, CV = 11.9%; Db100: ICC = 0.62, CV = 9.0%). Voluntary activation did not change during the cycling protocol (P > 0.05). Vastus lateralis and rectus femoris M-wave and motor-evoked potential areas showed fair to excellent reliability (ICC = 0.45 to 0.88). The reduction in MVC and Db100 was greater on the cycling ergometer than the isometric chair.


The innovative cycling ergometer is a reliable tool to assess NMF during and immediately post-exercise. This will allow fatigue etiology during dynamic exercise with large muscle mass to be revisited in various populations and environmental conditions.

Correspondence: Dr Guillaume Y. Millet, Human Performance Laboratory, Faculty of Kinesiology, University of Calgary, 2500 University Drive NW, Calgary, Alberta, CANADA, T2N 1N4. Tel. + 1 (403) 220-3649. Fax. +1 (403) 220-0448. E-mail:

This project was funded by The University of Calgary (URGC Research Grant #1029914). The authors have no conflict of interest in relation to the present scientific paper. The results are presented clearly, honestly, and without fabrication, falsification, or inappropriate data manipulation, and do not constitute endorsement by the American College of Sports Medicine.

Accepted for Publication: 8 September 2017

© 2017 American College of Sports Medicine