Neuromuscular and perceptual responses during repeated cycling sprints—usefulness of a “hypoxic to normoxic” recovery approach

Jacky Soo, François Billaut, David J. Bishop, Ryan J. Christian, Olivier Girard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: We investigated the consequence of varying hypoxia severity during an initial set of repeated cycling sprints on performance, neuromuscular fatigability, and exercise-related sensations during a subsequent set of repeated sprints in normoxia. Methods: Nine active males performed ten 4-s sprints (recovery = 30 s) at sea level (SL; FiO2 ~ 0.21), moderate (MH; FiO2 ~ 0.17) or severe normobaric hypoxia (SH; FiO2 ~ 0.13). This was followed, after 8 min of passive recovery, by five 4-s sprints (recovery = 30 s) in normoxia. Results: Mean power decrement during Sprint 10 was exacerbated in SH compared to SL and MH (− 34 ± 12%, − 22 ± 13%, − 25 ± 14%, respectively, p < 0.05). Sprint performance during Sprint 11 recovered to that of Sprint 1 in all conditions (p = 0.267). All exercise-related sensations at Sprint 11 recovered significantly compared to Sprint 1, with no difference for Set 2 (p > 0.05). Ratings of overall perceived discomfort, difficulty breathing, and limb discomfort were exacerbated during Set 1 in SH versus SL (p < 0.05). Compared to SL, the averaged MPO value for Set 2 was 5.5 ± 3.0% (p = 0.003) lower in SH. Maximal voluntary force and twitch torque decreased similarly in all conditions immediately after Set 1 (p < 0.05), without further alterations after Set 2. Peripheral and cortical voluntary activation values did not change (p > 0.05). Conclusion: Exercise-related sensations, rather than neuromuscular function integrity, may play a pivotal role in influencing performance of repeated sprints and its recovery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)883-896
Number of pages14
JournalEuropean Journal of Applied Physiology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020


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