Expiratory muscle endurance performance after exhaustive submaximal exercise

David Fuller, Jenna Sullivan, Ralph F. Fregosi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


The aim of our study was to describe the endurance capacity of the expiratory muscles and to determine whether it is altered after exhaustive cycling exercise. Subjects performed repeated maximal expiratory efforts against a closed breathing valve, with and without prior exercise performed at a work rate that elicited 75% of the maximum ventilation rate. Each expiratory effort lasted 6 s, was separated by 10 s of rest, and was initiated from the end-expiratory lung volume. Endurance performance was assessed by measuring the decline in area under the pressure*time curve over 39 contractions. Prior exhaustive exercise attenuated the ability to generate and sustain maximal expiratory pressure (P = 0.013) and resulted in significant declines in the integrated electromyogram of the rectus abdominis (P = 0.005) and external oblique (P = 0.036) abdominal muscles. Each subject also performed a handgrip endurance task before and after exhaustive exercise on a separate day. Prior exercise had no effect on handgrip endurance performance, suggesting that the decline in expiratory muscle performance after exercise was not the result of reduced motivation. We conclude that the ability to maximally activate the abdominal expiratory muscles and to generate maximum expiratory pressure is impaired after exhaustive exercise. Declines in the surface integrated electromyogram despite maximal effort is consistent with findings in limb muscles and is thought to be due to a slowing of motoneuron firing rates or to neuromuscular transmission failure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1495-1502
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1996


  • abdominal muscles
  • electromyography
  • expiratory pressure
  • fatigue

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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