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Self-paced exercise is less physically challenging than enforced constant pace exercise of the same intensity: influence of complex central metabolic control
  1. Patrick J Lander (p.lander{at}ucol.ac.nz)
  1. UCOL Institute of Technology, New Zealand
    1. Ronald J Butterly (r.butterly{at}leedsmet.ac.uk)
    1. Leeds Metropolitan University, United Kingdom
      1. Andrew M Edwards (a.m.edwards{at}ucol.ac.nz)
      1. UCOL Institute of Technology, New Zealand

        Abstract

        Objective: To examine whether self-pacing reduces the physiological challenge of performing 5000-m rowing exercise in comparison to a matched-intensity exercise condition in which a constant effort pacing strategy is enforced.

        Methods: Nine healthy well-trained male volunteers participated in three 5000-m rowing conditions (2 submaximal and 1 maximal conditions) in an individualised order. In the submaximal conditions participants were required to perform 5000-m at 1) a constant rating of perceived exertion (RPE 15-Hard) (SubRPE) or 2) perform 5000-m at an enforced constant pace equivalent to the mean power output (PO) of the SubRPE condition(SubEXT). A maximal condition (MaxTT) was included to disguise the purpose of the study and to facilitate an element of randomisation in the sequence. Dynamic 30-s intra-test responses were also assessed: PO, VO2, iEMG, core (Tc) & skin temperatures (Tsk).

        Results: There was no difference between performance times of the two submaximal trials. Mean PO represented 83.83 ± 8.88% (SubRPE) and 83.40 ± 8.84% (SubEXT) of the mean MaxTT power output. Tc (SubRPE:38.46 ± 0.23°C, SubEXT:38.72 ± 0.36°C; P<0.01), post-test BLa (SubRPE:5.24 ± 2.18, SubEXT:6.19 ± 2.51; P<0.05) and iEMG (P<0.05) were all significantly elevated in SubEXT compared to SubRPE. There were no differences in the dynamics of HR or VO2 between submaximal tests. The intra-test variability (ttv) of power output was significantly greater in the SubRPE condition compared to SubEXT (P<0.01).

        Conclusions: Enforced constant paced exercise presents a significantly greater physiological challenge than self-paced exercise. The ability to dynamically self pace effort via manipulations of power output during exercise is an important behavioural response to homeostatic challenges and thus forms an integral part of a complex central regulatory process.

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