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  1. warnerj5000 is offline

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    Posted On:
    11/17/2005 8:20am


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    Hell yeah! Hell no!

    article on muscle fatigue

    Christian Finn's Facts About Fitness

    http://www.thefactsaboutfitness.com/
    Forget most of what you think you know about muscle fatigue...

    When your lungs are locked in a desperate struggle for oxygen, your mind tormented by pain, and your skin blanketed with sweat, the mechanisms of muscle fatigue are probably the last thing on your mind.

    Scientists and athletes have always thought that your muscles tire because they reach some kind of physical limit. Either they run out of fuel, or they drown in toxic by-products.

    In the past few years, researchers Tim Noakes and Alan St Clair Gibson have begun to question the standard theory. And they're convinced that fatigue simply isn't the same as a car running out of petrol.

    Fatigue, they argue, is an emotional response that begins in your brain.
    The Central Governor theory

    The essence of The Central Governor Theory is that your brain paces your muscles to keep them back from the brink of exhaustion. When the brain decides it's time to quit, it creates the distressing sensations you interpret as muscle fatigue.

    The theory remains controversial. But it might help to explain why interval training, a training technique where repeated bouts of high-intensity exercise are separated by recovery periods, is so effective.

    In one study, researchers took a group of cyclists and assigned them to a four-week interval training program [3].

    Despite the fact they completed only six interval sessions, the cyclists were able to shave an average of two minutes off their 40-kilometer time trial performance (54.4 versus 56.4 minutes).

    According to conventional wisdom, this improvement is down to changes in the muscles that make them better at using oxygen or more able to fight fatigue.

    But Noakes believes that interval training works largely by teaching the central governor that going faster won't do your body any harm.

    In one intriguing study, Noakes and St Clair Gibson recruited seven experienced cyclists and asked them to complete two 100-kilometer time trials on exercise bikes [2].

    On several occasions during the trial, the cyclists were asked to sprint for 1000 or 4000 meters. Electrical sensors taped to their legs were used to measure nerve impulses traveling to their muscles.

    During exercise, your body never uses all of the available muscle fibers in a single contraction. Instead, it spreads the load by recruiting fresh fibers as needed.

    If fatigue was due to muscle fibers hitting some kind of limit, the number of fibers used during each pedal stroke should increase as the fibers tire and the body attempts to compensate by recruiting a larger fraction of the total.

    But Noakes and his team found exactly the opposite. As fatigue set in, electrical activity in the cyclists' legs dropped — even during the sprints, when they were trying to cycle as fast as they could.

    To Noakes, this was strong evidence that the old theory was wrong. The cyclists may have felt as though they'd reached their physical limit. But there were actually considerable reserves they could theoretically tap into by using a greater fraction of the resting fibers.
    Glycogen

    More evidence for The Central Governor Theory comes from the fact that fatigued muscles don't actually run out of anything critical.

    For example, when researchers look at a slice of muscle tissue under a microscope, they can see that carbohydrate stores decline with exercise.

    Carbohydrate is stored in the form of glycogen (pronounced gly-ka-jun) in your liver and muscles. Glycogen molecules are linked together like a chain of sausages. They can range in size from a few hundred to several thousand glucose molecules.

    However, while glycogen levels might approach zero, they never quite get there.

    The theory may also explain a few puzzling aspects of athletic performance.

    Lactic acid is a by-product of exercise and its build-up is often cited as a cause of fatigue. But when subjects exercise in conditions designed to simulate high altitude, they become fatigued — despite the fact that lactic acid levels remain low [1]. It appears that something else was making them tire well before they hit a physical limit.

    The Central Governor Theory doesn't mean that what's happening in the muscles is irrelevant. Instead, the governor constantly monitors signals from the muscles, along with other information, to set the level of fatigue.

    In other words, physiological factors (such as the level of glucose and oxygen in the blood) are not the direct cause of fatigue. Rather, they are signals the governor takes into account.
    The bottom line

    The Central Governor Theory is just that — a theory. But when you think about it, there's a good reason for your body to keep something back. It means there's always something left in case of an emergency.

    To your Stone Age ancestors, an emergency might take the form of a lion or pack of wolves at the end of long hunt. Today, the "lion" might be a mugger hiding in an alley, or a lightning storm near the end of a long walk.

    But the same concept applies — life would be too dangerous if your body allowed you to become so tired that it was impossible to respond quickly to an unexpected threat.

    "The mind," wrote Arnold Schwarzenegger "always poops out before the body."

    Whether Arnold himself actually said it, or his ghostwriter Bill Dobbins, doesn't really matter.

    It turns out he might have been right.

    References
    1. Noakes, T.D., Peltonen, J.E., & Rusko, H.K. (2001). Evidence that a central governor regulates exercise performance during acute hypoxia and hyperoxia. Journal of Experimental Biology, 204, 3225-3234
    2. St Clair Gibson, A., Schabort, E.J., & Noakes, T.D. (2001). Reduced neuromuscular activity and force generation during prolonged cycling. American Journal of Physiology, R281, 187-196
    3. Lindsay, F.H., Hawley, J.A., Myburgh, K.H., Schomer, H.H., Noakes, T.D., & Dennis, S.C. (1996). Improved athletic performance in highly trained cyclists after interval training. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 28, 1427-1434

    Copyright © 2000-2005. Christian Finn. All rights reserved. No part of this website may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without written permission from the author.
  2. CrunchOMatic is offline

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    Posted On:
    11/17/2005 8:41am


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    Very interesting read. Good job.
  3. Ronin is offline

    Merry Christmas Bitch

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    Posted On:
    11/17/2005 8:58am

    Join us... or die
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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    So, we have built in systems that keep us from pushing the max, to protect us for ourselves.
    This is nothing new.
  4. Wataru Akiyama is offline

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    Posted On:
    11/17/2005 9:30am


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    Quote Originally Posted by Ronin
    So, we have built in systems that keep us from pushing the max, to protect us for ourselves.
    This is nothing new.
    :angry7:
    I didn't know this until now.
  5. PO9 is offline

    10th level Superlesson Grandmaster

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    Posted On:
    11/17/2005 9:34am


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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    A technical way of saying to push past your limits because it's all in the head baby.
    Who, for Pete’s sake! Is opposing science? In fact, we want MORE science by CRITICALLY ANALIZING the evidence-Connie Morris, Kansas State BOE (bolding and underlining part of original quote, red is my emphasis)


    As long as you try to treat your subjective experiences as if they were objective experiences, you will continue to be confounded by people who disagree with you.-some guy on an internet messageboard
  6. warnerj5000 is offline

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    Posted On:
    11/17/2005 9:43am


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    Quote Originally Posted by PO9
    A technical way of saying to push past your limits because it's all in the head baby.
    well, on the one hand, it's all in the brain, but on the other hand, the brain is still causing a physical shutdown of the muscles.
  7. Poop Loops is offline
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    OOOOOOOOOOAAARRGGHH RLY?

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    Posted On:
    11/17/2005 1:15pm

    supporting member
     Style: In Transition

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    One more reason why we should NOT use our brains.
  8. Multitask is offline

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    Posted On:
    11/17/2005 1:26pm


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    Doesn't this tie into the "stretch reflex" theory as well? I've read that limitations of flexibility are the results of a reflex in the brain that seeks to prevent injury of the muscle from overextension. This is why stretches should be held for more than 30 seconds, in order to condition this response and increase stretching, right? Sounds like this fatigue response is somewhere along those same lines. Interesting stuff.
  9. PirateJon is offline
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    and good morning to you too

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    Posted On:
    11/17/2005 4:01pm

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    That would be the inverse stretch reflex, also known as the "inverse myotatic reflex" and it's no theory. :p


    But kick ass article. Good find. I couldn't turn up much more on it other than this usenet post...
    http://groups.google.com/group/uk.re...rnor+Theory%22
  10. Arde is offline

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    Posted On:
    11/17/2005 5:07pm


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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Good knowledge for me at least. + rep to you, dude.
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