International Journal of Exercise Science 9(3): 336-346, 2016. Intramuscular glycogen stores are an important energy source during extended bouts of strenuous exercise. A substantial reduction in glycogen could influence neural muscular drive and result in a decreasing quality of exercise performance and potentially increased injury rates. The aim of this study was to examine the effect of glycogen reduction on motor drive as determined by the surface electromyogram (EMG) amplitude and median frequency during a cycling graded exercise test. Eight trained cyclists performed a discontinuous cycling graded exercise test to exhaustion under both normal and glycogen reduced conditions. EMG was collected from the vastus lateralis. Repeated measures regression models indicated that EMG amplitudes were elevated at cycling workloads higher than 196 Watts and metabolic workloads higher than 40.8 ml/kg/min, corresponding to 77% VO2max. There was no effect of increases in workload or glycogen reduction on EMG median frequency. Changes in mechanical and metabolic workload had a substantial effect on EMG amplitude (Cohen’s f2 = 0.227 and 0.247, respectively), but not median frequency (Cohen’s f2 = 0.026 and 0.033, respectively). Thus, EMG amplitude is a more effective and reliable measure to examine changes in motor drive during variable workload conditions and metabolic perturbations. The results suggest that healthy glycogen reduced humans require higher levels of muscle activity in order to attain a given mechanical and metabolic workload. This may affect the long term performance of professional and military athletes who need to be able to perform at a high level for extended periods of activity.
Tenan, Matthew S.; Blackburn, J. Troy; and McMurray, Robert G.
"Exercise-Induced Glycogen Reduction Increases Muscle Activity,"
International Journal of Exercise Science: Vol. 9
Available at: http://digitalcommons.wku.edu/ijes/vol9/iss3/9