Brain function during central fatigue induced by intermittent high-intensity cycling

Mehrangiz Ghorbani, Cain C T Clark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: The central governor model putatively explains the mechanism of endurance exercise-induced central fatigue, however high-intensity exercise-induced central fatigue strategies have not been investigated yet. This study aimed to examine how central fatigue affects neural response alterations, as measured by electroencephalographic (EEG) recordings, in intermittent high-intensity cycling.

METHODS: Neural responses were assessed by measuring the alteration of brainwaves based on spectral energy band estimates during an intermittent, high-intensity, 60-min exercise bout on a cycle ergometer. The cycle ergometer incline was changed every 10 min in an intermittent pattern (10-20-5-20-5-10°). EEG was used to analyze altering brain function. Heart rate (HR), blood lactate (BL), and rating of perceived exertion (RPE) were measured after the participants completed each change in incline.

RESULTS: The results showed that HR, BL, and RPE increased at an incline of 20° in comparison to a 5° incline. The spectral power of EEG was significantly increased (P ˂ 0.01) in the alpha and beta frequency ranges with a change in inclines between 5 and 20°. The spectral power of the EEG was significantly increased (P ˂ 0.01) over the whole frequency range from rest (theta + 251%, alpha + 165%, beta + 145%).

CONCLUSION: Higher, relative intensities (10 and 20°) increased brain function, regardless of fatigue occurrence. HIIT (high-intensity interval training) led to an alteration in the neural response. Further work investigating the usefulness of HIIT to improve brain function is warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)(In-Press)
JournalNeurological sciences : official journal of the Italian Neurological Society and of the Italian Society of Clinical Neurophysiology
Early online date13 Jan 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 13 Jan 2021


  • Central fatigue
  • Cycling training
  • EEG
  • High-intensity interval training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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