Limb movement frequency is a significant modulator of the ventilatory response during submaximal cycling exercise in humans



We examined the ventilatory response to cycle ergometry in controls and long-distance runners

Respiratory data were collected during sinusoidal changes in pedal speed or load

Mean ventilation offset was significantly higher during sinusoidal changes in pedal speed

Runners have a reduced ventilatory response relative to controls

Changes in limb movement are a potent stimulus for ventilation at submaximal workloads



Human experimentation investigating the contribution of limb movement frequency in determining the fast exercise drive to breathe has produced controversial findings. To evaluate the role of limb movement frequency in determining the fast exercise drive to breathe, endurance runners and recreationally-active controls performed two sinusoidal exercise protocols on a cycle ergometer. One protocol was performed at constant workload with sinusoidal pedaling cadence, and a second with sinusoidal workload at constant cadence. Metabolic rate (Vo2) increases and means were matched between these two experiments. The ventilatory response was significantly faster when limb movement speed was varied, compared to when pedal loading was varied (18.49 ± 15.6 s vs. 50.5 ± 14.5 s, p<0.05). Ventilation response amplitudes were significantly higher during pedal cadence variation versus pedal loading variation (3.99 ± 0.25 vs. 2.58 ± 0.17 L/min, p<0.05). Similar findings were obtained for endurance athletes, with significantly attenuated ventilation responses to exercise versus control subjects. We conclude that fast changes in limb movement frequency are a potent stimulus for ventilation at submaximal workloads, and that this response is susceptible to attenuation through training.


  • ventilation
  • exercise
  • limb movement
  • athletes
Corresponding author at: Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education, 100 Devonshire Place, Toronto, Ontario M5S2C9, Canada. Fax: +1 416 813 5109.

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Autor / Fonte:Jessica E Caterini, James Duffin, Gregory D Wells Respiratory Physiology & Neurobiology 2015 September 11