INTRODUCTION: Leg order during sequential single-leg cycling (i.e., exercising both legs independently within a single session) may affect local muscular responses potentially influencing adaptations. This study examined the cardiovascular and skeletal muscle hemodynamic responses during double-leg and sequential single-leg cycling.
METHODS: Ten young healthy adults (28 ± 6 yr) completed six 1-min double-leg intervals interspersed with 1 min of passive recovery and, on a separate occasion, 12 (six with one leg followed by six with the other leg) 1-min single-leg intervals interspersed with 1 min of passive recovery. Oxygen consumption, heart rate, blood pressure, muscle oxygenation, muscle blood volume, and power output were measured throughout each session.
RESULTS: Oxygen consumption, heart rate, and power output were not different between sets of single-leg intervals, but the average of both sets was lower than the double-leg intervals. Mean arterial pressure was higher during double-leg compared with sequential single-leg intervals (115 ± 9 vs 104 ± 9 mm Hg, P < 0.05) and higher during the initial compared with second set of single-leg intervals (108 ± 10 vs 101 ± 10 mm Hg, P < 0.05). The increase in muscle blood volume from baseline was similar between the active single leg and the double leg (267 ± 150 vs 214 ± 169 μM·cm, P = 0.26). The pattern of change in muscle blood volume from the initial to second set of intervals was significantly different (P < 0.05) when the leg was active in the initial (-52.3% ± 111.6%) compared with second set (65.1% ± 152.9%).
CONCLUSIONS: These data indicate that the order in which each leg performs sequential single-leg cycling influences the local hemodynamic responses, with the inactive muscle influencing the stimulus experienced by the contralateral leg.