The assessment of neuromuscular fatigue during 120 minutes of simulated soccer exercise

Stuart Goodall, Kevin Thomas, Liam D Harper, Robert Hunter, Paul Parker, Emma Stevenson, Daniel J West, Mark Russell, Glyn Howatson

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    39 Citations (Scopus)
    239 Downloads (Pure)


    Purpose: This investigation examined the development of neuromuscular fatigue during a simulated soccer match incorporating a period of extra-time (ET), and the reliability of these responses on repeated test occasions. Methods: Ten male amateur football players completed a 120 min soccer match simulation (SMS). Before, at half-time (HT), full-time (FT) and following a period of ET, twitch responses to supramaximal femoral nerve and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) were obtained from the knee-extensors to measure neuromuscular fatigue. Within seven days of the first SMS, a second 120 min SMS was performed by eight of the original ten participants to assess the reliability of the fatigue response. Results: At HT, FT and ET, reductions in maximal voluntary force (MVC; −11, −20 and −27%, respectively, P≤0.01), potentiated twitch force (−15, −23 and −23%, respectively, P<0.05), voluntary activation (FT, −15 and ET, −18%, P≤0.01) and voluntary activation measured with TMS (−11, −15 and −17%, respectively, P≤0.01) were evident. The fatigue response was robust across both trials; the change in MVC at each time point demonstrated a good level of reliability (CV range, 6–11%; ICC2,1, 0.83-0.94) whilst the responses identified with motor nerve stimulation showed a moderate level of reliability (CV range, 5–18%; ICC2,1, 0.63-0.89) and the data obtained with motor cortex stimulation showed an excellent level of reliability (CV range, 3–6%; ICC2,1, 0.90-0.98). Conclusion: Simulated soccer exercise induces a significant level of fatigue, which is consistent on repeat tests and involves both central and peripheral mechanisms.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalEuropean Journal of Applied Physiology
    Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2017


    • Brain
    • central nervous system
    • intermittent exercise
    • muscle
    • performance


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