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The Effects of Load and Training Pattern on Acute Neuromuscular Responses in the Upper Body

Robbins, Daniel W1; Goodale, Tyler L2,3; Docherty, David3; Behm, David G4; Tran, Quan T5

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: November 2010 - Volume 24 - Issue 11 - p 2996-3007
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181f67474
Original Research

Robbins, DW, Goodale, TL, Docherty, D, Behm, DG, and Tran, QT. The effects of load and training pattern on acute neuromuscular responses in the upper body. J Strength Cond Res 24(11): 2996-3007, 2010-The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of repetition maximum (RM) loads and training patterns on acute neuromuscular responses in the upper body. Markers of fatigue were monitored under a descending pattern (DP), in which repetitions decreased in subsequent sets, and an ascending pattern (AP), in which repetitions increased in subsequent sets. Both training patterns were performed using 5- and 10-RM loads. Fatigue was assessed by monitoring changes in force output, motor unit activation and muscle twitch characteristics (peak twitch [PT], time to PT [TPT], and ½ relaxation time [RT]). All 4 protocols (5-RM DP, 5-RM AP, 10-RM DP, and 10-RM AP) produced significant decreases pre to postprotocol in force output, TPT, and ½RT. With the exception of 5-RM DP, all protocols produced significant decreases in motor unit activation. Pre to postprotocol, PT forces were potentiated under 5-RM loads, whereas they were depressed under 10-RM loads. Hence, a main effect for training protocols showed that changes in PT force were significantly different under 5-RM, as compared to 10-RM loads. The results indicate that central fatigue may be independent of load and pattern, whereas peripheral fatigue would appear to be dependent on load but not pattern.

1Discipline of Physiotherapy, University of Sydney, Lidcombe, Australia; 2Canadian Sport Center Pacific, Victoria, Canada; 3School of Exercise Science, Physical and Health Education, University of Victoria, Victoria, Canada; 4School of Human Kinetics and Recreation, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada; and 5The Prince Charles Hospital, Brisbane, Australia

Address correspondence to Daniel W. Robbins,

© 2010 National Strength and Conditioning Association